Monday, December 19, 2005

Spirits of Christmas

Well-known stereotypes are coming to a party near you


Drag out the sparkling tops and glitter eyeshadow, the fishnet hose and the high-heeled shoes that scream sexy but are killers to wear.

Or if you're a guy, dig out the lonely sports jacket or suit that still has that out-of-date condom in the pocket, and dump the football shirt, battered jeans and beat up sneakers.

It's party time!

Whereas many folks love the meeting and mingling opportunities, not to mention drinking-and-eating-for-free, plenty of others dread the onset of seasonal get-togethers.

Especially the office party.

Usually obligatory to attend, it's an event many would like to avoid these days. After all, with the longer working hours and pressures to succeed these days, most of us spend more time with work colleagues than we do with our families. Spending social time with them as well can be more than we can sometimes endure.

The office party (usually) is where everyone drinks too much and where there's always one (or more) of the staff who end up as the topic of juicy office gossip the next day.

When the booze soaks in it's also when the "party personalities" emerge. Are you one of these?

They get into the booze early and before you've finished sipping your first spritzer, they're the life and soul of the evening, dancing on chairs or tables or whirling the bewildered young receptionist on to the dance floor. They end up falling into the fake Christmas tree wearing a Santa hat and still clutching an unspilled drink.

"... and I want to tell you all about them in excruciating and depressing detail." Much as everyone feels sorry for them, they'll corner anyone they can with the lowdown on how they need a hysterectomy, how their grandmother's dying, their aunt has Alzheimer's, their kid's in jail and the dog was run over last week. Most people avoid them and head for the bar or buffet.

Somehow they know every salacious detail and rumour about everyone on their floor. They've been saving up the details (embellished with their own asides) to pass on to anyone they think is a willing and incredulous ear. Or at least someone they can trap at the party. Or they make dubious comments on the boss's personal life, sometimes unknowingly to his wife.

Every office has one and the party is his opportunity to break out without being slammed for sexual harassment. He's been waiting all year to inappropriately grab or fondle one of the gorgeous young things that recently joined the company or anyone he can corner. The lechers know that they can hug and kiss whoever they fancy in the guise of being a "fun" person and dispensing "Christmas spirit."

She comes to the party "dressed to kill" and with the lowest neckline this side of the Grand Canyon. She's determined to pin down that one guy she's lusted after all year, but who's carefully avoided her. Probably because he's married. She's sexy and single and every wife fears her -- with good reason. Flirts outrageously with all the men, kisses on the lips and dances better than any stripper.

Booze loosens their inhibitions and also their pent-up anger and resentment. Those niggling office hurts and disappointments stored during the year suddenly flood out into bitter invective, usually onto the hapless human resource person who'd hoped to mingle in anonymous peace. Either that or they start slanging their ex to anyone who'll stand still for five minutes, or run down the opposite sex at length if they're single and unable to get a date.

Everyone's heard their jokes a dozen times already, or read them on the Internet, but they insist on repeating them, laughing heartily at them themselves. They then want to either show you their latest card trick or how wild and funny they are by photocopying parts of their anatomy. They're the ones who start the ghastly conga line that no one ever wants to join, but feel they have to to show togetherness.

Have a wonderful festive season and don't drink and drive. Get a cab!


  1. I was at one insane and crazy drunk-fest last week up in Minneapolis. Didn't know co-workers could hold their liquor so well...I guess the $3,000 tab is indicative of said fact. I've never seen such corporate craziness, but it sure was one wild ride! Some people were even too hungover to make their meetings the next morning....

  2. $3,000? Damn. That's a lot of booze.

    I tend to avoid holiday parties becuse I figure I see my co-workers enough already, but me and my friends in college would have some raucus parties where we spent s couple hundred dollars on liquor. Granted, I was not always the biggest consumer, but rest assured I did my part and had a great time, even though some of it I can't remember ;-)

  3. Yeah, but that all depends on how many coworkers were present (this appears to be a huge corporation after all) and what they were drinking. Was it an open bar? Was a catering service charging 'market rates' for drinks, or were people just slamming back Absolut straight out of the bottle and stumbling to a nearby vending machine for 18-month-old Sunny D to chase it down?

    LOL. no party for us this year. too spendy. same for our bonuses, I imagine....

  4. I got a $50 bonus one Christmas. That's all.

    I didn't factor in the price of individual drinks. I know when we had our 10 year class reunion at a local upscale hotel, the drink prices were inflated to a Pentagon-like level of inflation. It's easier to ring up a big bar tab that way.