Prologue: A Girls’ Guide to Trading Floor Etiquette
“How big are you?”
“I said how big are you?”
“How big am I?”
“Pay attention. Size fucking matters here. How big are you?”
“I’m big. I’m huge. I’m as big as you fucking want me to be.”
“Ok then, what do you bid?”
“Yeah. Are you hard of hearing or just stupid? What’s your bid? You know, what price do you pay? I’m not just gonna offer you bonds all day without knowing what your fucking bid is.”
“You mean what I offer? What I offer to pay?”
“No. I’ll say it one more time. I’ll go as slow as I can manage without killing myself. What. Is. Your. Bid? That means what are you willing to pay to buy this fucking bond. Then, I’ll counter with my offer. That’s where I’m willing to sell the bond to you. If we can agree on a price, we trade. Bid. Offer. Size. That’s all anybody fucking cares about. No one gives a shit about how big you want to be. Only thing that matters is how big you are right now. What’s your size and what’s your price. Bid. Offer. Size.”
"Bid. Offer. Size?"
"That's right, Harvard. Now you're fucking catching on. Traders bet. That's just what we do. We're addicts - addicted to betting, addicted to winning, addicted to playing even. I'm not just talking about that Liar's Poker shit I know you read about before you took the job. If you've got balls, baby, you gotta bet on EVERYTHING. It's all one big game of blackjack. Betting against the house - which is always out to screw you by the way. You've got to hope the other players at the table get the fucking joke too. You gotta sit at a table with other guys who know how to play, understand the rules, the protocol, the goddamned etiquette. If they get it, you all play together. You're talking to each other without actually saying anything at all. And you're all playing against the house together. But if they don't get it - if they're amateurs or just fucking ignorant to how life works, to how the game is played, then you're screwed. They'll screw you sometimes without even knowing it. That's when you have to get up and just switch tables, Harvard. I bet they didn't teach you this up in Boston. This isn't the kind of class where you take notes, but don't fucking forget this lesson: Traders bet. Because that's just what we do."