The Trader: Luckily, there are only two horns on a dilemma

'The big problem is inviting a bunch of bankers to the wedding'
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The Independent Online

I am on the horns of a dilemma and, as it's a large, grown-up dilemma with vast and very sharp horns, it's a pretty nasty place to be, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Actually, strictly speaking, I'm on the one horn and Jaap's on the other, from where he's just said in his driest tones: "How strange that I never asked myself before how many horns a dilemma has."

"Very funny," I reply. "It's just easier to assume the answer's two. Otherwise you get into medieval-style debates along the lines of 'How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?' And that won't help us sort out the guest list."

Which it won't, because at the moment nothing is helping us sort out the guest list. There's not much leeway over the relatives; great-uncle A and cousin B and grandma C have to be summoned, even if we know they'll refuse to speak to each other because of something that happened in 1950, or that they'll get drunk and feel up the bridesmaids. The big problem is whether we invite people from work.

"Well, obviously we're going to ask Natty," I say. "She may be my deputy, but she's also Jane's baby sister. Oh, did I tell you I've persuaded Jane to be my chief bridesmaid?

"I told her she'd be a crap best friend if she refused, but she still made me promise to keep the dresses simple and not pink. Anyway, there's Findlay, because I know him from university. But what about the rest?"

"Ah yes, the rest," Jaap says, sighing and shaking his head sadly. For if we invite "the rest", our wedding will be just like being at work, only with champagne instead of Mrs Hughes's coffee and cakes. More importantly, there won't be room for friends from the real world, and then everyone will think we don't have any.

"Not that we do," Jaap says. "It takes time and energy to keep up with friends who don't work in the City, and we don't have that."

"Speak for yourself," I say indignantly. "I have loads of friends outside work. There's Sash, for a start; I've known her since I was born. Then there's ... No, he works in the City. Well, what about ... Actually, no, she's in finance, too. And I suppose Laura doesn't count as non-City either, seeing as she was my assistant."

"Come on," Jaap says. "Don't look gloomy. We'll sort this out. We invite Natty and Findlay, and ask them to keep quiet because it's only a small wedding. We invite Alby, because he used to be my deputy rather than because he's your boss, and ask him to do the same. And that's it. At least we don't have to invite Rory – though I suppose we could, as he's in prison and won't be allowed to accept."

"Knowing him, he'd probably break out," I say, laughing. "So we'd better not. Pity, though; he'd have been good value. Alby's a good boss, but Rory was more of a character."

"And more demanding, remember," says Jaap. "He expected the team to work together and play together, so we'd have had to invite absolutely everyone from the front and back office, including the odious Neil, as you so charmingly call him."

"What a thought," I reply, wincing.

"Terrible," Jaap agrees. "Anyway, we've sorted out the dilemma. We invite those three people from work, and accept that everyone else there will work in the City, too."

"Yes," I say. "That means we can put some really expensive things on the wedding list."

thetrader@hotmail.com

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