[Ed. note: The following piece was authored by The Legal Tease, of Sweet Hot Justice fame. Check out her other musings from Sweet Hot Justice here.]
I should’ve seen this one coming, I know. I’ve had enough experience by now with sexual humiliation at the hands of Big Law to have known better. But no matter how seasoned, how street smart you may think you are, this one sneaks up on you without warning. One minute, you’re cruising along on a string of all-nighters for a fire-drill deal with a senior associate you know only well enough to find mildly repulsive; the next minute, you’re pinning him up against the wall of a file room with your Prada pencil skirt hiked up around your waist, clawing at each other like starved lunatics. The culprit: Deal Goggles. And let me assure you from recent personal experience, by the time you realize you’re wearing them, it’s way too late.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Right, ha, Deal Goggles…Beer Goggles. Whatever. I’m a professional–I have enough self-control to resist hooking up with some beast at the firm just because we happen to be working on a deal together.
Well, congratulations. You’re a better person than I am. You’re also apparently not a Big Firm lawyer and/or anyone who’s ever worked on a real Big Law deal. See, friends, when you’re on a real Big Law deal–which is to say, when you’ve been at the office for 96 hours straight, are undershowered, overstimulated, and surrounded only by empty Wok ‘n’ Roll containers and second lien intercreditor agreements–whatever shred of self-control you thought you had left has long, long since abandoned you. You’re lucky if you don’t wind up trying to drown yourself in the handicap toilet down the hall, much less trying to avoid an unexpected, comprising sexual situation with the nearest warm body. In other words, when you’re in the heat of a deal, all bets are off–and the Deal Goggles are on. So, please, if you want to circumvent the extra slice of hell I all-too-recently served myself, listen up and consider the following:
Save yourself, after the jump.
1. Go toward the light. Metaphorically, at least. This is the cardinal rule of Deal Goggles avoidance. To illustrate the heart of this lesson, I present a recap of a conversation I just had with my always offensive, usually accurate man-whore friend, Max. When I relayed my horror about my recent, unexpected deal-time romp with Drew, the newly divorced fifth-year who was stuck in the trenches with me on an insane debt offering that closed a few weeks ago, Max offered the following:
“Your fault. You didn’t do the Deli Test,” he shrugged.
“What’s the Deli Test?”
“You know, when you’ve been out a bar or whatever and you’re fucked up and you’re gonna hook up with some girl, you make sure to stop at the nearest deli or bodega or whatever before you take her back to your place.”
He looked at me like I was clinically retarded. “So you can see what she looks like under the florescent lights before you get her in a cab. Tell her you need to stop to get some water or some shit. If she’s a dog in the light, you bail.”
He grinned. “But I’m right.”
And…he was. Don’t get me wrong–no one’s expecting you to haul your supervising associate to the local bodega before you sign on to a deal. But before it heats up, try to spend at least a few minutes chatting with the poor slob, preferably in the daylight, just to get a sense of what you’re really in for. Because at 72 hours in, when you’re sleep-deprived, delirious and drowning in documents, the Deal Goggles slide right on and that pale, pudgy associate sitting across from you might as well be a Jolie-Pitt spawn as far as you’ll be able to tell. Trust me–before my deal with Drew started, I’d never looked at him for more than six seconds, much less spoken to him. But if I’d only taken the time to have a short, clear-headed convo with him before the deal went into overdrive, I might have noticed the moobs lurking under his wrinkled shirt, the chino nut-huggers paired with white socks, the way he sneers at the secretaries and inadvertently picks his nose after every other sentence. But I didn’t. And now I’m paying the price. Don’t let this happen to you–do your diligence.
2. Avoid Internet porn. In fact, just avoid the Internet, period. Picture it: You’re waiting for deal docs to come back from the other side at 3 a.m. and you’ve just spent 20 minutes surfing the Internet, bombarded with images of sexy young things enjoying life in various stages of carefree undress–and then you’re called into a conference call with your supervising associate. Four minutes in, you start to feel your gaze wander to his hands. You notice how big and strong they look. Huh, you hadn’t noticed that before. Now you can’t stop staring at his hands. Hm. You start to wonder what they might feel like, say, running down your back as he growls your name in a deep purr and pins you to your desk while– OK, do you see where this is going? Don’t handicap yourself from the outset. If you’re going to troll the Internet during deal downtime, fine–just make sure to stick to websites focused on things like health care reform, insects and Jesus. Venture past that and you’ll be flinging yourself into Deal Goggles territory before you can say “girls gone wild.”
Heed the rest of the warnings back over at Sweet Hot Justice.