New Trend On Wall Street "Lets Urban Professionals Be Savage Again"

Does the domestication of Wall Street really grind your gears? Does it kill you to sign emails "Best" or "Thx," when what you'd really like to do is walk over to the person you're corresponding with and simply grunt out your request? Are you shamed of the fact that your hands not only look like you've never done manual labor in your life but that you get regular manicures to keep lines and ragged cuticles at bay? Does it burn you up inside to order yet another lunch of salad and diet Coke via SeamlessWeb, when deep down inside you know what you should be doing for lunch is hunting and killing it yourself via bow and arrow? Does it chap your hide to no end that the JPMorgan 5K is considered a physical challenge, when real challenges are supposed to involve carrying someone for many miles on your back and being electrocuted? Do you want to bond with like-minded individuals looking to put hair on their chests and pay a fee of $80-$200 so your nipples can finally know real pain? Then Tougher Mudder* might be right for you.
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Does the domestication of Wall Street really grind your gears? Does it kill you to sign emails "Best" or "Thx," when what you'd really like to do is walk over to the person you're corresponding with and simply grunt out your request? Are you shamed of the fact that your hands not only look like you've never done manual labor in your life but that you get regular manicures to keep lines and ragged cuticles at bay? Does it burn you up inside to order yet another lunch of salad and diet Coke via SeamlessWeb, when deep down inside you know what you should be doing for lunch is hunting and killing it yourself via bow and arrow? Does it chap your hide to no end that the JPMorgan 5K is considered a physical challenge, when real challenges are supposed to involve carrying someone for many miles on your back and being electrocuted? Do you want to bond with like-minded individuals looking to put hair on their chests and pay a fee of $80-$200 so your nipples can finally know real pain? Then Tougher Mudder* might be right for you.

Started in 2010 by a Harvard Business School graduate, Tough Mudder has exploded onto the fitness scene, with 35 races this year in 4 countries and 660,000 participants to date. Next year, 55 events are scheduled for 5 countries. Along with other quasi-military obstacle courses like the Spartan Race and Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder is the new gantlet for body-conscious Gen Xers. Though the muddy details vary, each challenge consists of a 3- to 12-mile course spiked with cheekily named obstacles like Ball Shrinker...The common motivator could be called the Walter Mitty weekend-warrior complex. While the races draw a fair share of endurance athletes and ex-military, many of the muddiest, most avid, most agro participants hail from Wall Street...“Obstacle courses like these are the physical representation of masculinity, which is lacking for people like lawyers, doctors, bankers and others in softer careers,” said Dr. Robert Heasley, a sociology professor at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the president of the American Men’s Studies Association. “By associating themselves with the military and military training, these men are becoming masculine by association.” founders of these tough-guy races are intimately familiar with that primal urge. Mr. Dean, a former intern at Bain Capital, developed the business plan for Tough Mudder as part of a competition at Harvard. “Finance people are in a weird juxtaposition,” Mr. Dean said. “They may make 100 times more than their fathers, but their hands are soft. We designed Tough Mudder to fill that void.”

Interested but need to know about what day of ball shrinking and void-filling will entail? Here's what you can expect:

* A colon cleansing and sense of smugness come Monday.

Michael Cugini would be back at his desk at a major Wall Street firm, another high-powered cog in the engine of finance. There would be men on his left, men on his right, all yelling into their phones and scanning the stock ticker. But Mr. Cugini bore unseen scars beneath his crisp custom suit. Twenty-four hours earlier, Mr. Cugini (nickname Cujo) was shirtless, face down, crawling through a 40-foot-long pit of cold mud, while being electrified by low-hanging wires. He also scaled a 15-foot-high wall, ran 12 miles and underwent something called an Arctic Enema, in which he jumped into a Dumpster filled with ice water, dyed neon green, and swam under concertina wire. “There’s always a lot of moaning on Monday morning,” said Mr. Cugini, 31, a small man with a bald head and a strong grip. “And I just think, ‘Come on, what did you do this weekend?’ ”

*Free haircuts.

The chest thumping began before the first obstacle. Next to a cheesesteak stand, a barbershop was set up to dispense free mohawks. A chin-up bar was erected next to a chalkboard, where the highest scores were posted. Nearby, men warmed up by tossing kegs at a cardboard cutout of Fabio.

*Electric shock therapy.

A few miles ahead, Brian Polakowski, 36, a vice president of BlackRock, the giant money manager in Midtown Manhattan, had collapsed into a muddy pit after being electrocuted in the Electric Eel challenge. As he crawled from exhaustion, a stranger grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to his feet, saying, “You did it, man, you did it.” Mr. Polakowski stumbled on.

*Hugs when warranted.

Male bonding, needless to say, figures prominently. Like Iron John before it, these obstacle challenges are designed to forge camaraderie. The bonhomie is reinforced by challenges like the Everest and Berlin Walls, which require the men to work together and, in some cases, stand on one another’s shoulders. There are many one-arm bro-hugs, and even some full embraces.

* A terrorist attack on your erogenous zones.

“Goldman brings a massive team,” said Will Dean, the 31-year-old founder of Tough Mudder. “So does Morgan Stanley.” That they do makes sense since Mr. Dean tailored his sport for cubicle-bound masses yearning to breathe free. “When we started Tough Mudder, we identified a few key demographics,” he said. “One of them was the white-collar urban professional.” From a distance, the Tough Mudder course at the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park looked more like a medieval battlefield than a 400-acre racetrack. Beefy figures, silhouetted against a frigid slate gray sky, faltered up steep hills. In the gravel parking lot, teams of men prepared for battle. Some stretched, others squeezed into compression shirts. One man, placing surgical tape on his chest, said fearfully, “This is going to be 9/11 on my nipples.”

Who is in?

Forging A Bond In Mud And Guts [NYT]
Related: New Trend On Wall Street Involves Chopping Wood, Hypothermia, If You’ve Got The Balls
*Similar to the Spartan Races, which include not just physical but mental challenges and also weed out the men from the men who can dice onions ("The 24-hour Dantean course — which involves chopping wood for two hours, carrying rocks for five hours, cutting a bushel of onions and memorizing the first 10 presidents of the United States — was partly inspired by the film '300,' which chronicled the Spartan stand at Thermopylae").

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How Can Wall Street Feel Alive Again?

As some of you may recall, there was a time not too long ago when you could work on Wall Street and be compensated in a way that made you feel special. Appreciated. Loved. Eight, nine, ten-figures of love. Now, obviously, not so much. But that is not what's eating the industry's most fragile spirits of late. They are fine taking pay cuts. They could care less about the money. What they're not fine with is having the rush, the intensity, the adrenaline-pumping fear that comes with, say, putting on a trade in which maybe the firm will make $1 billion or maybe it'll lose $10 billion, WHO KNOWS, IT'S ALL RELATIVE, I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS, THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT SO EXCITING taken away from them. Take Sean George. He used to spend his days destroying company property and now, thanks to financial regulation, has had to get his kicks elsewhere. Sean George kneeled in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan. He wasn’t praying. A gash below his right brow bled into his eye and down his nose before a knee to his groin sent him to the floor. George, 39, head of credit-derivatives trading at Jefferies, was making his Muay Thai debut at the church June 22 in a sport that allows kicking, elbowing and kneeing. His eye was swelling shut by the time he lost in a split decision. It was the happiest he’s been all year, he said. “Right now at work I’m making less risk decisions -- and I enjoy taking risks,” George, who headed investment-grade credit-default-swap trading at Deutsche Bank AG before he joined Jefferies last year, said in an interview. “If you’re in it for the game and the fight, the game’s over and the fight’s over.” Risk is what drew George and the colleagues he respects to Wall Street, he said. He could bring in millions of dollars in a single month at his peak, and trading was so intense that during one credit-default-swap deal he smashed a phone against his desk, sending part of it three rows away, “one of the records for the best break,” he said. Ethan Garber's lost that tingly feeling in his plums. “There’s no sexiness, there’s no fun, there’s no intellectual intrigue, either,” said Ethan Garber, who ran proprietary credit-arbitrage portfolios for Credit Suisse Group AG and Bear Stearns Cos. “A lot of my friends who actually lingered for the last four years are all now getting fired anyway,” said Garber, 45, currently CEO of IdleAir, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based firm that provides electricity at truck stops. “The air is taken out.” Robert McTamaney has been reduced to doing his best impression of a whiskey-swilling, cigar-chomping newspaper man from the 1940's, who we assume addressed Bloomberg's Max Abelson as "toots" here. “The socks are higher, the skirts are longer,” said McTamaney, who helped run Goldman Sachs’s equities- trading business in Asia. “It’s like styles: They change, and you’ve got to change with it or be left behind.” Former King Street Capital and Bank of America trader Sam Polk isn't gonna lie, the worst part of Wall Street 2.0 is not being able to feel like a god by dropping $10,000 for bottle service on Wednesday nights, and sometimes even Thursdays. “You could be a 20-something trader three years out of school, able to go to any restaurant or club or ballgame on any night that you wanted, and it was totally paid for,” he said. “It was a tremendous feeling of power.” Michael Meyer is dying a slow, painful death. “The light at the end of the tunnel is dim,” said Meyer, now co-head of sales and trading at New York investment bank Seaport Group. Clearly, it's not pretty. But here at Dealbreaker we're about offering solutions, not whining about problems. How can these guys and girls replicate the feelings they once got by taking on risk on the job, if, unlike Sean George, getting kicked in the balls is not their thing? Drinking the carton of milk in the break room that's been sitting out for two days, telling the boss's wife it looks like she's gained a couple pounds, having unprotected sex with a junkie, shouting "You go girl!" at yourself in spin class after being kindly told to "Shut the fuck up" or else, and leaving dirty dishes in the sink all seem like good jumping off points but we can do better. These people need our help. Bloodied Trader Pines For Risk As Wall Street Retreats [Bloomberg]

Deutsche Bank Managing Director, LAPD Not Yet Seeing Eye To Eye On Savage Beating "Incident"

Yesterday afternoon, Deutsche Bank vice chairman and managing director Brian Mulligan filed a claim with the city of Los Angeles, letting it be known that he plans on suing for $50 million, over an altercation with the LAPD that left Mulligan with "a broken shoulder blade and 15 nasal fractures." According to the media banker, he was minding his own business one night in May, when a couple of officers approached him, asked him what he was doing in the vicinity of a marijuana dispensary, searched his car (where they found a few thousand dollars), drove him to a motel and told him to wait there. Several hours later, still waiting, Mulligan says he started to become suspicious and decided to leave, at which point the officers returned and "began ruthlessly beating him" so badly he "barely looked human" when they were done. If this had happened to you, you might be a little upset too! The LAPD, however, claims that Mulligan has no reason to be angry with them and, in fact, owes the officers an apology, for his "outburst of erratic behavior." The police version begins with a complaint about a man going through cars in a Jack-in-the-Box in the Highland Park area, according to LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph. Moments later, a second call came from another person about a man in the same area who appeared to be on drugs and trying to break into cars...The officers determined Mulligan matched the description of the suspect, but a police drug recognition expert determined he was not under the influence of drugs. Joseph said he could not clarify whether that included alcohol. Officers then searched Mulligan's car and found thousands of dollars, Joseph said. Mulligan told the officers that he was exhausted, so the officers agreed to transport him to a motel, Joseph said. But first, they had to count the executive's cash to make sure it was all still there after they transported him to the hotel, Joseph explained. The officers gave Mulligan's money back to him, drove him to the motel and left him, concluding their response, Joseph said. A few hours later, at about 1 a.m., police received another call from the same area, this time about a man running in traffic. Officers observed Mulligan in the street, Joseph said. He defied officers' orders to get out of the street, and instead went into a fighting stance and charged at the officers, according to Joseph. Officers tackled Mulligan and took control of him, Joseph said. During the take-down, the executive sustained injuries that required hospitalization. Police reported the incident as a categorical use of force and are conducting a standard investigation to determine if the force was necessary. Mulligan was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with law enforcement. He was booked on $25,000 bail and was released from jail on May 18. Despite Mulligan acting in such a way that some people thought required "force" to deal with, a spokesman for the LA County DA's office said that there are no plans to file criminal charges and that the office would simply like to "have a discussion with him and advise him on how best to follow the law so that incidents like this don’t occur again." Brian Mulligan, Deutsche Bank Executive, Says He'll Sue LAPD Alleging Captive Beating [HP] Deutsche Bank Top Hollywood Banker Claims Police Beating [Bloomberg]

Charlie Gasparino: Rumors Government Is Planning To Nail Four On Wall Street Probably Only Rumors But Listen Up Anyway

Point: "The latest urban legend to spread on trading desks and through the executive suites on Wall Street goes something like this: coming this fall, as President Obama makes his final push for a second term, his Justice Department will finally give the public what it wants in the form of an arrest of a major Wall Street figure for his role in the financial crisis. The men at the top of this "October Surprise" list are two of the more infamous figures in the banking business: former Lehman Brothers chief executive Dick Fuld and current Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein. Using the Justice Department for political purposes is, of course, pretty sleazy." Counterpoint: "...But after speaking to my law enforcement sources -- and you can throw people who work at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department in this category -- I give low probability for this urban legend coming to fruition." Regardless: "Here's what I am told, confirmed by two senior law enforcement officials involved in the insider trading probe: investigators are looking at charging someone they describe as a "big fish." The person has been described as someone I would know, which since I cover Wall Street, means that it's a major financial type implicated in the matter. I cannot be certain of this because my sources refused to provide any additional details; the case isn't complete. It involves cooperators, which means that it might go forward or it might not. So the October Surprise is a very real possibility, much to delight of journalists like myself. But before rejoicing we in the media should take a deep breath. These same law enforcement sources investigating insider trading among Wall Street fat cats and other corporate titans are also looking at the alleged improprieties of a major journalist who covers stocks. That case, like the other, isn't completed, but both have been described as "moving forward." In other words, stay tuned. An October Surprise On Wall Street [HP]