Don we now our gay apparel

Tonight I’m off to my work Christmas party.

Now if I told you this in real life, what would you say in response to that. (Aside from, crikey Number6, you seem even more hysterical than usual this week and you could probably do with an early night. Yeah, tell me about it. Still, it’s the Christmas holidays soon and no doubt I’ll get to catch up with sleep then, right? RIGHT????)

Well your response to the idea of a work Christmas party will largely depend on your age and therefore how many of them you have actually been to.

If you are a young slip of a thing then you might still think, and say, oh well that should be fun?

Even if you are a little older, you might still be quite positive about the idea. We are an optimistic species after all and it takes many years of grim experience to counter our sweet perennial hopefulness.

If however, you are a little older, a little wiser, your reaction is likely to be – like mine – OH GOD REALLY? POOR YOU.

And don’t you all bah humbug me… you know it’s true. No one over the age of 25 actually looks forward to their office Christmas party; it’s is one of those things that has all the cultural baggage and weight of expectation that can only mean one thing – that we all get dragged down.

If you’re still not convinced, have a browse of my list of worst things about the office Christmas party:

1. The food. When you order the set dinner, back at the arse-end of the summer, you’re all sick of salad and couscous and what not. You are ready for the winter, even a bit excited about the anticipation of the festive season , the idea of a Turkey Roulade with red wine Jus sounds delicious. Well then it arrives, and it looks and tastes for all the world like a rolled up nappy smothered in that brown goo that you scrape off the bottom of the oven when you clean it*.
2. Too much drink. This often doesn’t end well, or even start well, especially when combined with all the various tensions of the workplace that have built up over the year. By December, we are all a little fractious and probably the addition of a large quantity of warm red wine to the mix isn’t going to help the situation.
3. This can make other people behave in ways that are not strictly admirable. In the olden days when I was an in house lawyer, there used to be a little influx of post-party harassment complaints that we nicknamed Mistletoe Madness. For some reason, the combination of tinsel and flashing reindeer antlers makes even the most inhibited think that we can cop a feel on the dance floor, despite the ever present risk of public humiliation and expensive litigation.
4. Not enough drink. Christmas when you’re pregnant, for example, is so shockingly dull that I have in fact pretty much blocked it out. The only upside to being stone cold sober is the fact that you get to collect a whole lot of scandalous stories about your colleagues, which is both amusing and potentially lucrative from a blackmail point of view.
5. The music. I wish it could be Christmas every day? Oh dear god no. The whole concept of ‘Christmas music’ is very interesting. The inclusion of some sleigh bells and the words ‘tinsel’, ‘stocking’ or ‘worst excesses of meaningless materialism**’ in the lyrics and LO it comes to pass – a Christmas HIT. And if you think I sound bitter, then you’re right. Every year I think I should write one of these and make myself a little annual pension. How hard can it be, right? Even Slade managed it after all. Even the pogging Darkness still gets played in the aisles of Sainsburys this time of year with what is effectively a three minute long knob joke.
6. The clothes. Obviously if you have the tremendous good luck to be a man you can skip this bit. No uncomfortable undergarments for you, I guess. In fact I have literally no idea what a man might wear to the office Christmas party. Who cares? Probably the same thing they wear to the office with perhaps the addition of a tie with a Rudolf on it. For women, though, there is almost overwhelming cultural pressure to Make An Effort by moisturising your heels and making your elbows all clean with cut lemons***. The bulk of the Effort though is centred around wearing extremely uncomfortable clothes. These include tightly elasticated underwear resembling what my mother would call a foundation garment. This has the dual effect of shoving all your rolls of fat upwards into a sort of wobbly shelf, and also squashing your stomach so you’re unable to eat or in any way digest your overcooked and overpriced meal. Shoes, also, that make it impossible to dance at the disco you have paid a premium for. Or indeed walk without some sort of jelly bag crammed in the front. And the kind of ludicrous heels that make walking on slippery pavements extremely dangerous. Luckily pavements aren’t usually slippery this time of year, eh? Oh, wait…

So yeah, thanks. I’ll try to have a good time. There’s only one real consolation. This year’s do is the same night as the Long Suffering Husband’s work do, and if there’s one thing worse than going to your own Christmas party, it’s being polite to a bunch of strangers then driving your tipsy partner home with gritted teeth.

I guess I’ll just have to use the same tactic I do every year: get outrageously drunk and dance like a lunatic before falling asleep in a taxi.

Actually, yeah. I’m looking forward to it now. See you in the morning. I’m off to don my gay apparel.

*obviously I am using my imagination here, because I don’t make it my business to clean the oven. At the point at which I can no longer turn on the oven without setting off the smoke alarm I tend to move house.

**what do you mean you don’t recognise this one? It’s that festive classic, ‘All I Want in My Stocking is Barbara Castle’ from the Santa Guevera and his Radical Socialist Elves.

*** I swear I read this in a magazine once. I may have imagined it, though. I can imagine all sorts of things this time of year, like it’s a good idea to spend £200 on food for a family of four for three days.

About number6

I am not a number, I am a free woman. More or less.
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3 Responses to Don we now our gay apparel

  1. Ruth says:

    Me too … about the oven cleaning that is. Managed just over 3 years in the last house, by keeping the kitchen door shut so it didn’t set off the smoke alarm in the hall, then moved out. Couldn’t sell the house, so rented it out – cleaned the house top to bottom for the tenants … except the oven. [Still feeling guilty about that over a year later.]

  2. Richard says:

    This year a significant portion of the people at our party are at risk of redundancy in February. Interestingly it’s the seniors at risk. We normally have a pretty good time, but this year I fear it will get very messy… (tomorrow night for me)

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