Internet exclusive: Read here the letters that started it all!
March 15, 2005
I want you to hear this from me. I will be your new boss. In a really dominant way. In a way I've always wanted to dominate a plain and tall Arab woman with strong financial credentials. Not since being called the architect of the Iraq War have I felt so virile. Bring over the monk's robe tonight. I want to play Luca Pacioli for some Father of Accounting 'double entry.' You know what I'm talking about. Skip the bath. I'm thinking 1494 rules of engagement.
March 17, 2005
I'm so proud of you! But, I must tell you, the heat is on. The whole Middle East and North Africa Department is atwitter about your nomination. I was thinking, what if you gave me a sizable raise to compensate for the loss of promotion opportunities your World Bank Presidency has cost my career? In an ideal world I'd take home more than Condoleeza does after taxes. See that it is so, Paul. I mean, if one out-earns the sexiest woman in the world, doesn't that make one the other sexiest woman in the world?
And thanks for being so understanding about the other night. All I really wanted to do was to put on my chill pants after work and have you read me the latest Freakonomics blog. It had been a long day and that is definitely my recipe for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
As ever, Shaha Ali Riza, Gender Specialist
December 4, 2005
Check your next pay stub. I think you'll be pleased. Also, pulled some strings and got us on the Kennedy Center Honors reception guest list. We'll be sitting between the Kennedy-Scholssbergs (I know, not your favorite) AND Tina and Matthew Knowles (Beyonce's parents!). Shoes on my feet, I bought 'em! Remember that mix I made you?
In even better news, the ethics committee says I handled my domestic partnership conflict of interest issue perfectly fine (although they wouldn't put it in writing, typical Ethics). The only thing that would mess this up is if the war I helped design prolongs in tragic embarrassment and the global community supporting the World Bank turns on me. They may leverage this compromise into salacious news to discredit me personally rather than speak up against an administration likely to eviscerate valuable trade agreements. That might work against us. I don't care. I live in the Now. And the Now wants a monk's robe. Please?
Your Soldier for Destiny's Child,
July 6th, 2006
I could spend 2 months on a bicycle in Flemish country but one week in August sounds wonderful, Volfy. I look forward to it. I think they do make special bike seats for men concerned about their nethers. I believe I read something in the LA Times Health section. Though, when you read 37 papers by 8am, one loses track!
You know, I was talking to mother last night and I would just hate it if my acumen, sacrifice, intelligence and ambition were ever discounted by your very public position at my, I mean, the World Bank. Sex has a way of clouding that. So, I am thinking of abstaining until your term ends in a few years. You know I love you for your mind, Volf, so don't worry about the bike seat. I've always seen our relationship as more of a Gala/Salvador Dali of global economics scenario.
Please, no more mention monk's robes.
Shaha Ali Riza, Gender Specialist
April 15th, 2007
Just a note to ask you to break contact with Herman Wijffels. He is very handsome, in a Dutch way (I remember your wandering eyes in Flemish country) and he is also Chairman of the World Bank Investigative Committee. So he's powerful and off limits. Which I know personally to be your type. S, please, for this aging hawk, I beg you.
April 29, 2007
It was a group email about the World Bank's Annual May Day Potluck. He wanted to make sure no one else was bringing erwtensoep. I assured him that indeed no one would. What I didn't tell him was that I was making leblabi which is also pea soup although with chick peas. Ha! We'll see who goes home with an empty bowl. You're such a dear. Only 745 days to go!
Shaha Ali Riza, Gender Specialist
The Weekly Memo is a biweekly behind-the-scenes look at the revealing correspondence of our most fascinating thinkers, leaders, celebrities, and weirdoes.