Which former treasury secretary would you rather hear about sticking his tongue down a woman's throat whilst placing his hands "everywhere sort of like an octopus"? Which former treasury secretary would you like to hear about coping with the stress of the financial crisis with a good spoon? If you said "anyone but Larry Summers," you're in luck! Today Iris Mack (pictured), a former investment banker, MIT professor and derivatives trader is writing about her brush with Bob Rubin's appendages. Monday we'll track down all the lucky ladies who've taken a ride on the Summers express. Sayeth Mack, who met Rubin while buying a smoothie in Miami circa October 2007:
Three days after [our first phone] chat, Prince resigned, forcing Bob Rubin to add an additional chairmanship -- of the board -- to his business cards. But he kept calling me all the while, and by December some of my friends, late mother and siblings knew about my unlikely "phone buddy" relationship with the former Treasury Secretary. He seemed kind of lonely and lost, I told them; like he didn't have a lot of close friends, and if anyone back at the office had been in the mood to joke around it wasn't going to be with him. ... He flew down to Miami to visit his father again on Christmas Eve. When he called he seemed disappointed to learn I was in Alabama, visiting my family in Mobile (where most of them eventually moved after losing their homes in Hurricane Katrina.) I politely explained that when you want to have a meeting with someone, it helps to inform her ahead of time. "Yes, ma'am," he said, and sure enough, a few days later he called to make a dinner date for January 10 at the Setai on South Beach.
Now, I say "date," but even with our budding "buddyship" I did not really realize at the time that this was a "date." He was an extraordinarily wealthy and powerful (much older) man who spent his days traveling around in a Citigroup jet and I was a math/finance geek who'd been covered in five miles of sweat and no makeup the one time we'd met in person. Now, I clean up pretty nice for dinner in South Beach with the former Treasury Secretary, but maybe it didn't matter; later he would remind me that the first time we'd met I had something written on my backside. (I promise you, I had not even noticed when I picked up a few pairs of gray sweatpants on clearance at Victoria's Secret that the words "Pink University" were screen printed on the behind, but give the man credit for being observant.)
After all the effortless phone bantering, dinner did feel a bit surreal and awkward in the way of a high school Homecoming dance dinner; we spent a lot of time sort of giggling. (It might have been easier if I'd had some of his wine, but like the sitting Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson I was raised as a Christian Scientist and don't drink alcohol.) We talked less about the economy than Barack Obama's victory the week before in the Iowa caucuses. (My friends and I felt it was all the white midwestern encouragement black voters needed to turn out in record numbers and seal his victory; Rubin still thought Hillary Clinton would pull through and supported her just about all the way.)
Things were much more relaxed by the time I walked him back to the Ritz - which was along the way to my South Beach condo. When we passed a homeless man along the way he made a bit of a show of opening up his fat leather billfold and producing a dollar -- "There but for the grace of God..." he remarked melodramatically -- and I gave him a lot of heat for that, because who exactly did he think he was kidding? I said give the man a job. Heck, you're the head of a bank! But when we reached the hotel entrance, the tension returned. He got this funny look on his face, and asked: "Do you want to go upstairs and...cuddle?"
So that's what this is about. For a moment I was totally speechless and had to dig into my Harvard trained PhD brain to figure out what the hell he meant by "cuddling"! What can I say; once a teetotaling math geek, always a bit slow to pick up on signals from the menfolk. So the former Treasury Secretary had a "crush" on me! And not long afterward the former Treasury Secretary had his tongue down my throat and hands everywhere sort of like an octopus. But as soon as the thought entered my mind -- the former Treasury Secretary has his tongue down my throat?! -- I came to my senses a bit and awkwardly went back home before we both got too carried away. This is to say, I said to myself that there would be no other former Treasury Secretary appendages entering any other of my orifices. But there were dozens more phone calls from Bob Rubin over the next year, and one more dinner -- this time in a private dining room in his Ritz Carlton hotel suite. Yes, I am sorry to confess, human weakness got the best of both of us and there was more "cuddling".
A night of beautiful "cuddling" and then this:
I had to politely blow off Bob, by the way. And because there are still so few clubs in this land that wouldn't have Bob Rubin as a member, he kept calling and calling, from Citigroup jets and executive retreats and the Council on Foreign Relations, even after the TARP passed. (That day he got an earful from me.) One day in May he called my phones five or six times -- and it wasn't to discuss the merits of opening the Federal Reserve discount window! But we never cuddled again, although he did show up in Miami a few times and try, and he finally quit calling after getting himself named to the Obama transition team. I don't know, maybe I just miss the guy.
Iris Mack: Bob Rubin Just Wants To Be Cuddled [Huffington Post]