Niklaus hailed from the land of the mighty vikings. With his medium-length locks, perfectly ironed shirts and slicked back hair, in line with NASA aerodynamic standards, he stood out in the banker crowd.
He wore a Hollywood photograph smile. On a moment’s notice he’d summon the neurons in that brain of his responsible for the formation of the well-rehearsed smile/eye-squint/eyebrow combination. Just like Clark Gable’s classic Hollywood look. It appeared every time someone called out his name. He’d never raise his head too fast. It was fully controlled. I always thought he was made for film.
Niklaus belonged to that particular school of thought which believes that you should always smile and exude overflowing enthusiasm for the job, while looking picture perfect at all times. Holding true to the pillars of that movement, he believed, meant senior management would always want you around. Consequently he avoided negative and unhappy bankers like the plague. His enthusiasm for the job was boundless. If I stumble upon a $20 bill on the street I’m giddy. If Niklaus notices that the title on a presentation slide is font size 17 rather than 18, like all the other pages, he’ll clap his hand. Score!
Niklaus has blonde hair. If he were muscular, tall and fearless he’d be viking.
Oh and he loved women. Especially in short dresses. But what did he love more than a hot girl in a short dress? A hot girl in a short dress who was tipsy. What did he like even more? His hair.
Wax on, wax off!
One Friday morning I ran into Niklaus in the bathroom. He was unusually chirpy. The mood on Fridays is generally nicer at the office but there was something more going on…
He was facing the mirror and deftly placing an out of place strand of hair back into place.
The ibanker: “What’s up?”
Niklaus: (still facing the mirror and carefully examining his locks) “Not much. Trying to wrap up the TeliaSonera presentation. Nearly done.
The ibanker: “Nice. Got weekend plans?”
Niklaus: “Hmmm, not really. Probably go to Tramp*”
*Tramp is a private members club in London’s Mayfair area. Three diet coke’s and a beer will cost you over USD100 there.
Niklaus: “I’m trying a new wax, which actually works quite well.”
The ibanker: (no clue how to respond) “Gotta work hard to look good!”
Niklaus: (thinking I was serious) “You bet.”
The ibanker: “I’ll see you at the bar later today.”
Later that evening the team went for drinks at a local bar frequented by bankers working in the surrounding area.
Two hours in and most of us were tipsy or bordering on getting seriously drunk. I pop in to the bathroom to relieve myself and as I step out I notice Niklaus checking himself out in the reflection of the glass near the main entrance. He just doesn’t give a damn who sees him doing that, I think to myself.
I walk up to him and interrupt his little session.
Niklaus: (realising I caught him but not phasing him at all) “Gotta work real hard…24/7…hehe”
So we chat about work, deals, travel, etc and I decide, for a laugh, to bring up the topic of wax. Little did I know what was to follow…
The ibanker: “Not one hair has moved since this morning. It’s like cement.”
Niklaus: “Gotta maintain consistency. I’m gonna to tell you something funny.”
The ibanker: “Shoot.”
Niklaus: “I fucking love missionary for that reason.”
The ibanker: (unclear what he’s referring to) “Are you talking about the sexual position.”
Niklaus: “Yeah man. I love looking at myself while getting it on with a hottie. Love to see my hair…”
I burst out laughing. Immediately after Niklaus bursts out. The shit that comes out one’s mouth when inebriated!
The ibanker: “In that case, shouldn’t you love doggy-style even more? You get to see a lot more of yourself with a mirror in front of you?”
Niklaus: (shaking his head while smiling) “Dude, having a chick’s leg, or both of them, on your shoulder is key. Leaning right up against your face. And, you have more maneuvering. And you can see her feet and her heels. I loooove that.”
The ibanker: (i’m finding this amusing) “So the wax…what’s the purpose?”
Niklaus: “Mate, I do my hair from scratch if I think I’m getting laid. If she’s over at mine, I’ll excuse myself, go in the bathroom, apply another layer of wax and return in 7 minutes. Wax on baby. All for that special moment.”
The ibanker: “Moment?”
Niklaus: “When I come.” (he leans over closer to me) I love looking at myself when it happens. And it’s nice to have my hair just right. I feel like…
The ibanker: “A porn star?”
Niklaus: “No! That’s low. It’s base. Erotic cinema actor. I’m a banker, not a f@&king lumberjack!”
The ibanker: “Ok. Anyway, it sounds to me like you enjoy yourself more than the girl.”
Niklaus: (he laughs and take a long sip from his pint glass) “No shit, that’s why I can’t keep a girl. I need to find someone like me.”
The ibanker: “The kind who’ll have a mirror on the ceiling.”
Niklaus: “True. Na, but seriously, good wax is useful cause it keeps shit in place. I don’t like that natural, let-it-run-wild look.”
Suddenly, I notice a young female intern from our team walk towards us and I caution Niklaus to change topic by giving him a nudge. He’s far too tipsy to control…
Niklaus: (putting on that perfect smile while arching an eyebrow) “So, Joanna, what are you doing later tonight?”