Anyone who attends an office party is openly placing at risk a marriage or a career, or possibly both.
If your husband is going, make him promise not to speak to anyone of superior rank, in case overwhelmed by seasonal honesty, he then insists on revealing all of the company’s major failings. And, just as he is leaving ask him if he really wants to spend his Sunday afternoons taking his children to MacDonald’s, which is the inevitable consequence of meeting Mandy from cost control over his fifth Bacardi breezer.
The words ‘office’ and ‘party’ are, after all, one of life’s great paradoxes. The former conjures up hard work and being sensible; the latter is about getting lathered and acting like a prize prat. How many of us will experience that familiar and acutely painful sinking feeling the morning after the office Christmas party when there is a vague recollection of ‘dirty dancing’ with the boss?
The office party is indeed a dangerous beast, displaying, as it does, an annual parade of tragic and sad tableaux. A time when Jim from accounts, who, despite attempts to marinate himself in cheap aftershave, spectacularly fails to be any sexier than a bacon and egg McMuffin. Flashing signature teeth that resemble vandalised tombstones, Jim will enthusiastically step over the corporate line by belting out: ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’ then he will proceed to ensnare the boss’ rather timid wife in a little known Kama Sutra position.
As always, there will be the ever-present Mandy, a young lady of obvious charms, who, in her temporary receptionist position feels the need to welcome visitors to the office clad in a skirt the size of a band aid, matched always by a sheer micro top, which also ‘doubles’ as an acutely accurate daily temperature gauge.
‘Mandy’ always dresses up for the party by liberally hanging out of a strategically chosen frock. Her female colleagues will then loath her, Mandy being the only female present not forced into wearing a Lycra thigh-trimming contraption, the like of which can only be removed courtesy of the fire brigade. However, the ‘Mandys’ of this office world never ever get sacked come the New Year for indiscretions while quaffing pints of free office booze, they just help the chaps to get there quicker via the annual knees up.
After downing eight pints of black velvet, solid married men who under normal work conditions would rather opt for a dose of trench mouth fever than have eye contact with the ‘Mandys’ of this world, will on this one night of the year, randomly succumb to her nubile charms, usually within the salubrious confines of the stationery cupboard.
Any invitation which contains the words ‘fancy dress’ must always be binned instantly. What happens with these gawd awful parties is that you generously enter into the spirit of things by running up out of an old sheet an Aphrodite costume, only to find yourself standing beside a smug ex pat who imported their costume at vast expense from a theatrical costumier in London at god knows what cost, or worse, the hostess bottles out with the drag fest and forgets to phone to tell you, and you duly arrive as Bugs Bunny.
Family parties, at the other end of the social spectrum, are there solely to stir up ancient rivalries, reminding you of why you live hundreds of miles away. Families also feel, for no known reason, that they can speak with the candor that good manners would normally preclude. That’s when we face up to the first cousin who has swept the board academically and is in prime position to take over at No 10 Downing Street in nine years time, so you spend the night dismally comparing your lack luster career to his (along with everyone else in the room.)
Drinking at parties is essential but as you always say, ‘I drink because I’m having so much fun’ or, equally feasible, because you’re not having enough fun. Then, from nowhere, you find the energy to crack incredibly witty jokes with the result the usually reserved neighbours start to pinch your bottom and wink simultaneously.
Sadly, you then catch sight of your red faced, mascara-caked cheeks and wild-haired self in the unforgiving light of the guest loo and you collapse onto the toilet and fervently wish you could be faxed home to bed.
Making a singular prat out of oneself is par for the course come Christmas party time but the one sure way to insure that you are remembered is to try and dance like you did when you were blessed with more fluid movement in the bone mass.
Rule number one: Don’t Dance, especially the men, it’s too too embarrassing to watch, unless, that is, you are dressed as Bugs Bunny.
Rule number two: Repeat, taking extra care, rule number one!