We hear that the IMF has a new Managing Director, replacing the guy that refused to grant you the loans you need. Before he got arrested and replaced, he spoke about Ukraine “not fulfilling promises of reform” or something vague like that. We don’t believe that’s the real reason; these things come down to personalities, not processes. It’s about chemistry, striking the right chord, a meeting of minds, establishing relationships etc. With a new Managing Director comes a new opportunity to re-engage. We believe you should grasp this opportunity.
The new Managing Director is a woman, so you’ll need to know how best to approach her. Not only is she a woman, Viktor, but she’s also French, and the French are famous for their sense of romance. We at What’s On feel that this presents you with an opportunity to woo and wow her into seeing the sense in granting you billions of dollars. We’d like to offer our help.
Of course, women are complicated creatures, but even a hard-nosed financially-minded politician like Christine Lagarde should be susceptible to a bit of manly charm, a bit of Viktor Magic. But beware: it’s a fine line. If you’re too charming, she’ll see you as a sex pest. If you’re not charming enough, she’ll think you’re just another ex-Soviet satellite, going through the motions. And if you’re not charming at all, she’ll probably just see you as a bit of a thug. It’s not an easy balance to achieve, but the prize – were you to do so – is the money your country needs.
The following is our advice then on how best to ‘woo’ Christine.
First, let’s go back to basics. She’s French, so you’ll need to be romantic. Most people know what ‘romantic’ means, but we’re not so sure about you so we’re going to remind you – romance requires you to be fanciful, impractical, unrealistic, idealistic, and adventurous.
Now we know what you’re thinking, Viktor, but don’t panic! We know you’re not a fanciful idealist. That’s OK – it’s a problem we can get around. The trick is to remember that Christine’s job means she can’t be an idealist either. The romantic in her is probably buried away under sound-bites and sharp suits. So the way round this is to casually mention that you WERE an idealist, before you had no time for it.
She’ll sympathise instantly, and will be reminded of her own happier times, when she spent the evenings staring at the stars. If you have an old photo of you with long hair and hippy clothes, frame it and put it on the desk. When the subject comes up, casually motion to it, saying something like: “That was taken back in the days when I wrote poetry.” Pause, sigh, and move on. She’ll think you’re a repressed romantic, like her, and you’ll form an immediate bond.
Secondly, be aware of the kind of men she deals with on a day-to-day basis, and use this to your advantage. Her predecessor at the IMF was not a tall chap, standing at 5’7” (or 1.70m). Her recent boss, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, stands at 5’5” (1.65m), and is therefore even smaller. Smaller still is the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, at 5’4” (1.63m). Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlosconi, who is probably your nearest challenger in terms of charm, is the same height as Sarkozy. In short (pardon the pun) they’re all small men.
If our records are right, you’re about the height and weight of a tour bus. That’s good, because women love a big man. Having shown her your softer side (repressed poet etc) you can now show her that you’re all man. Use your size to your advantage. Accentuate it. Add to it. Put on a few more pounds before the visit, and adjust the height of your speaking platform. This will stimulate her womanly desire to be protected, and will score you points.
Thirdly, show that you’re keen and interested. Know a bit about her. For example, know that she’s an English-speaking international lawyer, regularly voted one of the world’s most powerful women. Know that she’s divorced, with two kids, who’s into gardening and yoga, and who was on the national synchronised swimming team when she was younger.
The important thing here is that you show off your knowledge. Start the conversation by saying something like: “So, I hear you’re a divorced gardener.” Similarly, steer the conversation towards synchronised swimming, where you can show her that you know your ‘deckwork’ from your ‘eggbeaters’. This area holds incredible potential for you to make a good impression, because of the obvious parallels to politics. For instance, synchronised swimming is all about grace under pressure. Explain that you too are graceful under pressure, and in that way you are a synchronised swimmer. With the image of your manly physique still fresh in her mind, she’ll have no trouble imagining you in a pair of speedos and goggles.
Finally, after having shown her that you are both big and interested, you should begin to talk about your country. This will be of interest to her, and it is your area of expertise, so you can impress her relatively easily.
Remember: this is about chemistry and romance. Be both playful and suggestive in your responses to her questions. For example, if she asks you about the crop yield, don’t bore her with the difference between three- and four-course system crop rotation. Talk to her instead about the practical difficulties of planting turnips, and of using sheep droppings as fertiliser. These are things she will more readily associate with, and it will tickle and tantalise her interest. It will also demonstrate that you have a handle on the issues.
But what this meeting will ultimately boil down to is money. The fundamental principle when talking about money is the same fundamental principle to men’s physiques: bigger is better. Go for the big numbers, especially when she asks how much you need.
Beyond this stage we must refrain from advising you, given that we’re no experts in economics. We would, however, warn you that it’s difficult to get romantic over numbers and statistics, so you may want to consider bringing someone with you who can understand, interpret and elucidate the country’s finances. This will allow you to maintain constant and intense eye-to-eye contact with her, stimulating her interest on a chemical, hormonal level.
The meeting will inevitably come to an end after the number-crunching, and the IMF delegation will leave. This is where you play your ace. Arrange for the FEMEN protest group to stage an officially-sanctioned demonstration outside your office. Arrange for the cause to be something relatively inexpensive, and as you walk out of the door with Christine, write them a cheque for 100,000hrv.
There are numerous reasons for you to do this. First, 100,000 sounds like a lot to foreigners. Secondly, it assures Christine that Ukraine is an open, civil society, tolerant of dissenting voices and open to citizens’ suggestions. Thirdly, it highlights your desire to advance feminist causes, which Christine will appreciate. And finally, the FEMEN protesters will be so pleased with the money that they’ll be all over you like a rash, kissing and cuddling you, plastering you with lipstick. This will elicit jealousy in Christine, and make her realise how much she likes you.
This concludes the What’s On’s guide to woo-ing the IMF into giving you lots of money.
We know you’re busy burning opposition witches at the moment, so please don’t feel like you need to respond to us with thanks; we know you’re grateful. We’ll be awaiting the IMF meeting with eager anticipation, Viktor, as will the whole country. Just remember to relax, be yourself (but not much), put a bit of aftershave on, and for God’s sake don’t get her name wrong.