Dana Vachon is parlaying his short-lived stint at J.P. Morgan and brief moment in the literary spotlight into a career writing about Wall Street for women's magazines. Take this month's effort, a 5-page spread in Marie Claire called "A Field Guide to Wall Street's Women": the Social Commando, the Ivy Beleaguered, the Nuptialista, and the Big Swinging Chick. What does each of these women tell us about Dana?
The Social Commando "disarms with charm." Her decor features an "oil painting of her mother as a debutante, oil painting of herself as a debutante, framed photos of her and her mother with last summer's boyfriend on the Dalmatian coast." This is a girl whose sole purpose on Wall Street is "to have So Much Fun while avoiding anything that might be Ugh, So Not Fun," and "her 20s expire in a blur of So Much Fun, a swishing memory of body glitter and hiccups, the seasons marked only by a steady recursion of weddings—the last of which is often, and to everyone's surprise, her own." This is the girl so lionized by Jay McInerney, the one so hated by the women on Sex and the City (remember the episode where the girls go to the party in Connecticut thrown by their formerly fun friend who now has two kids? She's this girl). She is old money. Here, we detect a certain longing in Dana's voice, a recognition that while he may mock this character, he knows that, on the eve of his 32nd birthday, he too will settle down with her.
"The Ivy Beleaguered" has a "tunnel-like focus"; she "has no life at all"; "fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, she had a 4.0 in economics and two summers' worth of internships at the best venture-capital shops in Palo Alto." And, most tellingly, "she shops at Club Monaco and Express" and rarely goes out except on sultry summer nights to "hunt for that Indian businessman." Uh, okay! Here's some casual racism and classicism at work. Dana is at once jealous and contemptuous of the Ivy Beleaguered. She is new money, and probably of Asian descent. She has to work hard for what she gets, and Dana hates that she's smarter than he is. He consoles himself by telling himself that she has no life. She would never join the other analysts at the strip club!
"The Nuptialista" has "awesome cocktail party banter"; her signature cocktail is a "vodka Southside at Round Hill Club." Now, let us pause for just one moment. How many of Marie Claire's readers are aware of the existence of the Round Hill Club, the exclusive country club in Greenwich, CT? We're going to go with... maybe 7? Is Dana just fucking with the magazine and its readers, letting them know that even though he deigned to write for them and take their money, that he's still more privileged than they will ever be? Well, unless they marry up, of course. The Nuptialista is of the right social breed for Dana, but when it comes down to it, she's just a little too Charlotte for him—"what she seeks is someone who can promise her a future filled with her past: large houses, green lawns, social prominence." Also, she wants to get married too early. But Dana will definitely be at her wedding.
Finally, there's the "Big Swinging Chick," the only woman in Marie Claire's spread who's wearing a pantsuit. The subtext? She's a big lez, or at least, she's totally emasculated her husband. Dana is friends with this woman, certainly, but is also secretly scared shitless of her, even as he assumes a kind of loveable scamp place in her worldview. She's way too successful, though, for him to ever be really good friends with. Then again, she doesn't seem to have any friends.
A Field Guide to Wall Street Women [Marie Claire, not online]