In July, the Chicago Board of Trade closed most of its futures trading pits. That’s right—the oldest futures and options exchange in the world went dark, leaving many occupationally homeless.
Sure, there’s still electronic trading, but the thrill is gone. The roar of the capitalists! The frantic hand signals! The overpowering odor of testosterone! Women may have elbowed their way onto the floor, but the CBOT has always been a “center of Neanderthalism,” as one female trader recently told USA Today. Surely she meant “center of unparalleled masculinity”—there was nowhere else outside a boxing ring where a man could so definitively prove himself as the alpha dog, mixed metaphors be damned.
So where do all these men’s men go to wave fingers and bark orders now? Are they to sit at home in their jammies, balancing on their stability balls, just typing really hard on their laptops when they’re excited? There’s been little public outcry over the extinction of open outcry, but we suspect these men are crying inside.
How can they fill the void? Trading pits have always been about four things: yelling, aggressively ugly clothes, predicting the future, and straight-up, full-throttle winning. That’s a lot. But we have a few suggestions to help the traders transition.
Those unfortunate jackets, for instance. It probably feels like they’ll have to be retired. Purple, orange, fuchsia, mustard, contrasting lapels, cow prints, flame accents, stained armpits… they were all part of the dress code in the futures pits. But those garish garments could still be put to good use in any area casino. Heck, in Indiana you’d be mistaken for an Atlantic City whale. The charity-minded might also donate the blazers to any organization benefiting blind, needy street magicians.
Vocal cords getting rusty already? Keep them healthy by attending local sporting events, particularly losing ones (not hard to find in Chicago). Keep the throat nodes lubricated with well-paced beer consumption.
Working from the home office, though, can get a little quiet. That’s when you need to look to that classic sanity-saver, daytime TV. A healthy dose of raucous viewing will sharpen your edge. Any Real Housewives marathon will cause regular eruptions of “Oh girl, hell no!”
And winning? Just making millions may not be enough. Retain the excitement and up the ante by putting together an extreme poker club in Chicago. Other clubs have done things like hosting a tournament inside a Slovenian volcano simulator. Chicago can top that if we can just gain access to the rooftop of the Trump hotel (although then we’d have to let the Donald play, too).
See, guys? Nothing’s really changed. You may be trading outside the CBOT, but it doesn’t have to be the pits.