September 27, 2008 by Legal Tease
Lots of interesting things happen when you work 90 hours a week as a Big Firm Associate. You stop thanking God it’s Friday. Because it’s always Monday. You start keeping a Walgreens worth of toiletries in your office. And sex? Ha. You’re too tired to even take The Rabbit out of the nightstand. And then one day when you least expect it, you find yourself having drunken, frenzied sex on the floor of your office at four in the morning with someone you barely know.
The day begins, innocently enough, with an early morning Starbucks run-in with Ben, a half-friend, half-acquaintance from law school. I’d always thought Ben was kind of funny and even had potential to be cute-ish, if he’d only get in touch with the good people at Equinox and stop wearing flip-flops with jeans. Anyway, we’d tried to make plans eight times in the past couple of months, but we always wound up cancelling last minute for some apocalyptic legal fire drill. Despite the odds, we make plans to grab a drink that night “after work,” which in Big Firm Land means “around 9:30.” Not a date, just a chance to catch up and take a break from the glitz and glitter of due diligence. And by some unexpected twist of luck, by 9:29 p.m., neither of us has cancelled.
We meet at a swank lounge a few blocks from our offices. Both the conversation and vodka tonics are flowing. We’re sharing war stories from the dismal front lines of low-ranking corporate BFA life and I’m laughing more than I have in months. Ben totally gets it. To any legitimately cool civilian, we probably sound like two spastic runners-up in the Socially Awkward Loser of the Decade Contest. (“And after all that, they go ahead and press the button on the S-4/A with, like, 10 seconds to spare but they attached the wrong Goldman consent! Losers!!”) Still, it’s such a relief to talk to someone who understands my day-in-day-out and doesn’t think I’m (a) exaggerating, (b) pathetic, or (c) a scary lesbian.
Despite frequent, paranoid Blackberry checks, it’s suddenly 3 a.m. We’re having such a good time, he might as well be gay. I think he’s being flirty, but maybe he’s just polite. Or drunk. I can’t tell. Who knows, maybe he just wants a job at my Firm. Or maybe— but then, he swoops in and kisses me. And just like that, we’re all over each other in the bar like two escaped mental patients who haven’t had human contact in years (not entirely inaccurate, that). We’re making quite a scene, in business casual. Then my Blackberry starts to buzz. Perfect. It’s my night stalker senior associate, Dave, recently recovered (not really) from his latest breakdown and emailing me to get back to the office to distro a PDF mark-up coming through from London any minute. I break the news to Ben, who pantingly suggests we could, you know, wait for the mark-up together, since he “has no other plans tonight.” Fair point.
Before I know it, we’re in my office, ripping each other’s shirts off. Because I’m a romantic and classy lady, I don’t actually shout “take your pants off” as I pull Ben down to the floor of my office. I can’t believe this is happening. Is this par for the course in a Big Firm? Is it hot and hip, or just sad? Or is it just all that’s left after being rejected by a guy named Spyder only a few weeks ago? Either way, it’s over in about nine minutes.
We part ways minutes before the London mark-up arrives. I look over the massive PDF, find a few typos, distro it up the chain and wait for a redraft to send to the client. And realize it’s 5 a.m. By the time the client turns the doc, there’s no way I’ll have time to get home, shower, and make it back here for a 7 a.m. conference call that I can’t miss. Meh. I know what I have to do. Foul as the idea is, I head up to the rumored “shower room” on fifty-six, which, judging by the looks of it, is used exclusively for post-office-sex clean-ups and the occasional hazmat disposal. I hold my breath, step onto two plastic dinner plates I grabbed from the snack room to act as shower-shoes-cum-scabies-buffers, rinse off and dry myself with an old Firm-issued fleece that I keep in my office. This is sort of a low point.
I head back downstairs, step into the hallway and stop dead. Walking toward me is the senior associate you all know and love, Glenn. Glenn, my assigned “mentor” who routinely bills 2900+ hours a year, has no discernible neck, and hasn’t made direct eye contact since 1993. Instead of ignoring me as usual, he pauses in front of me, looks me up and down, smiles and says “Hello.”
“Hey,” I stammer. Where the hell did he even come from?
“You’re here pretty early.” Now he’s actually smirking.
“Yeah, I…you know, London.”
He nods necklessly. “Oh, I know.” He looks me over one more time then glides away.
HE TOTALLY KNOWS!!
Wait, no, I’m overreacting. How could he know? We passed his office before and there were no lights on. I mean, I don’t think there were. And, oh God oh God, I was maybe a little…vocal. OK, this is OK. I just have to play it cool. I just have to go downstairs, get some air and—
I look up and Glenn’s standing in front of me again. Jesus, does this guy have the ability to apparate or something? He’s got his hands in his pockets now and he’s shaking his head back and forth, grinning.
“What, is—? Is there something funny or something?” I ask.
“Oh, yeah.” He raises his eyebrows, cocks his head back and smiles like an insane wolf. “You could say that.”
My heart is now officially about to explode. This is it, isn’t it? One of those moments you remember forever—when you’re working as a paralegal for the MTA, when you’re driving a used Honda at 42, when you’re staring into your mother’s vacant eyes, wondering if her stroke was a direct result of hearing her daughter had been canned for dropping trou on company property. This is where it all starts. Or ends. With the montage of my soon-to-be bleak, outer-borough-bound life playing in my mind, I look Glenn in the eye and steel myself for the blow.
“I just read a draft of the firm’s new model stock purchase agreement,” he says. “It’s just…wow. Thing of beauty, truly.”
Thing of beauty? What?! Is that what this maniac is really smirking about at 6 a.m.? Could he actually be that insane? Of course he could! He’s billed 2900 hours a year for six years straight.
Every pore in my body relaxes. I’m in the clear. I’m not a two-dollar office whore and I’m not going to be escorted from the building in shame. I’m just an overworked, undertouched lawyer so desperate for stimulation that I took a chance on screwing up a career I’m not even sure I want for nine minutes of vanilla sexcapades with a guy I don’t even think is that cute.