14 years ago, in another life, I was a junior investment banker. It was a Friday and I had just been summoned for an urgent internal meeting to prepare for a government bond pitch. I was grumpy about the extra work, having 4 live mandates on my plate already. So I came late to the meeting wearing a denim jacket, clompy Miu Miu shoes and a sulk.
Across the table were the usual bunch of Debt Capital Markets guys from the trading floor, and one new face. A guy with Sean Penn-esque facial hair wearing a black shirt, black jeans, topped off with a bolo tie. Hello Cowboy! The sight elicited a smirk which Bolo Tie may have misread. Apparently Bolo was our new Head of Debt Sydicate.
Over the next week or so, Bolo sent me several nonsense emails asking me to come to his desk on the trading floor to make changes to the Term Sheet and bring him such a such document or other. Getting fed up, I dialed his extension and snarked “Hey Bolo, we discovered something called email. Ciao!”.
5 seconds later, I received a email saying “How about a micro-meeting over some champagne?” And so it began, our somewhat secretive inter-divisional office romance.
Over the next few weeks I ended up being mysteriously tasked on a lot of Debt deals. One of the our colleagues in Fixed Income Sales who sat near Mark was a lovely lady everyone called Auntie Indira. “Do you have a boyfriend Crystal?” she asked. “Yes Auntie Indira.” “Where is he from?” “He’s sitting next to y… I mean he’s an Irishman.”. “Ohhh! Irish guy!!! Irish guys are nice!”. Cue wiggling of eyebrows from Mark behind Auntie I’s back.
And then one day, I went down to the trading floor to pick Mark up for a lunch date. I walked over to his desk and Auntie Indira thought I was looking for her. “How’s your boyfriend Crystal?” To which, Mark said “He’s pretty hungry! Let’s go for lunch honey.”
And Auntie Indira’s eyes opened really wide “YOU??? You are IRISHMAN? Mark you are not Irish!”
“Oh but I am, to be sure to be sure!”
“But you are Irishman!? Why?? WHY!??”
It was like that scene from Star Wars where Luke discovers Darth Vader is his dad.
So cut to 14 years later, Irishman and I were in Rome to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Walking in thee magnificent Villa Borghese gardens, Irishman decided that we should rent Segways and have an adventure on wheels.
It was a startlingly clear Spring day, the air was full of life, squeals of children, apple blossoms bursting forth in luxurious profusion. Whizzing past crumbling monuments on the broad generous pathways. I heard the sound of a jazz trumpet playing, and looked back to see Irishman doing a crazy little Segway dance in front of the busker.
People stopped and stared as he whirled in circles, jiggled and jibed. I just laughed. This is the man I fell in love with whose freedom and crazy ideas have lit up my past 14 years and whose laughter and light I see in my children all the time. I’m full of gratitude and wonder for this guy, my Irishman.