Finance: The Trader: The naked truth about those Aussie pub lunches

Nudity is empowering only when you're a Hollywood actress - and get paid millions for it

THERE'S A strange atmosphere in our corner of the floor. Nothing to do with the possible move to the Wharf; there's been no news on that and it seems we'll end up finding out about it the usual ways - in the newspapers or when they send round the packing crates. No, this is something altogether different. This is the after-effect of an unwise lunch.

No one gave it a thought when our counterparts at Aussiebank rang and asked if we wanted to meet for a pub lunch. Stepping outside the office in daylight hours is such a rare treat that the reply was a resounding "yes" all round. When the day and the time came, we piled happily into a flotilla of taxis - Simon, Findlay, Rory, Laura, Kirsty and I - and headed off east.

"I hope it's not unreformed pub food," Laura said as we headed further from the City's gleaming glass-and-steel heartland. "That gravy from granules makes me sick."

I frowned as our surroundings got grubbier. "I think you might have to be prepared for the worst," I answered sadly. And the worst is what we got. The cabs pulled up outside a dingy entrance and we clambered out. Even from here, the smell of sweat and stale beer was nauseating. Where on earth had the Aussie boys brought us? "What do you think that means?" asked Laura, pointing to a blackboard with "Lunch show 1pm" scrawled on it. I wasn't sure, but inside my heart was slowly sinking. By the time we made it through the door, it was well and truly sunk.

"Why aren't there any tables?" Findlay hissed at me as we fought our way through the throng to the corner where the Aussie boys had holed up. "And why are you three the only women in here?" I didn't have the heart to tell Findlay he was wrong. He'd find out about the other women here soon enough.

"You have worked out this is a strip show, haven't you?" I said to Laura, and she looked shocked, then upset. If she had known, she would have stayed away, you could see that. So would I, for that matter; I felt very uncomfortable.

Kirsty was having none of it, though. "For heaven's sake," she almost spat. "There's nothing wrong with women being able to explore their sexuality like this. Stripping can be very empowering."

Then the first scrawny young woman came out, looking more tired than anything. She went through a five-minute routine to a disco tune, while the men pushed towards the tiny stage to get a better view. Simon, our irritating young salesman, was particularly anxious for a ringside seat, but Findlay lingered in distress at the back with Laura and me.

Kirsty and Rory were with the Aussie boys, who were oblivious to our lack of enjoyment. Another girl came on, then another and another until the 45 minutes was up and the crowds dispersed.

Back at the office, our hunger pangs were cured by Mrs Hughes's excellent home-made fruit cake. Thoughts were less easily dealt with. Findlay threw himself into work, apparently in an effort to forget. Laura and I tried to update the trading manual for much the same reason. Even Kirsty was subdued, having perhaps seen that nudity is empowering only when you're a Hollywood actress and get paid millions for it.

Rory wandered over. "What a terrible place that was," he said. My spirits lifted. He did think it was inappropriate for a business meeting in this modern world.

"I don't know how they could take us there," he continued. "We could have gone to this table-dancing club I know: champagne, decent food - and the girls are prettier."

thetrader@hotmail.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones