The first thing you can only HOPE to accomplish, is to stay until one hour before “last call,” because that is the hour that holds the most “dish!” Unfortunately in my case, I never make it that long, and have to hear all the “water cooler talk”–the next day at the Water Cooler!
Firstly, you must never act like you’re an employee while at this affair, because your co-workers will call you a “suck-up” or more often than not, another phrase that’s worse! Then again, you must act respectfully to your senior employers, just to remind them, that while we’re drinking at the same event, we still REMEMBER the food chain! It’s a learned art, to not cross that imaginary line in the snow that seems to follow you where ever you go.
Drinking is next. We must always remember at what time exactly, we had that first drink, and then pull from our non-existent HS math memories, searching for ratios and geometrical formulas, so that we can divide the amount of drinks by the amount of hours we plan on staying, while justifying each drink in a ‘word problem!’ It’s amazing how much alcohol can be consumed while talking about nothing! Even MORE amazing, how “talk of nothing” becomes “talk of SOMETHING” in the blink of an eye! So bring a calculator.
For years, I’ve been attending Radio Station Christmas parties, mostly in NYC, but more often than not, where ever the radio station exists, one rule stands firm: NO SPOUSES ALLOWED. The minute Thanksgiving was over, I’d CRINGE, because I knew- it was Coming! Do you know how many years I’d spent trying to come up with excuses for my husband?? I’d tell him, “company policy, … boss just wants to keep it intimate,… can’t afford… it’s a “bonding’ thing,” …”no room at the inn,”… and on and on. It got to the point where even I didn’t believe the words that came out of my own mouth!
I remember as I was getting dressed for one of these exhausting events, turning left, turning right in the mirror… checking to make sure no lipstick on my teeth, matching jewelry to my dress, shoving an extra pair of stockings in my purse, (no x-rated reasoning here, I just notoriously rip the pair I’m wearing), my husband said to me, “Now HOLD on a second. How many years have I nodded my head, and said, Go! Have a good time, it’s not a problem that I’m not invited too?” In my head I was thinking, “Ok, HERE we go. Only took him 25 years to get to this point? I should actually be grateful that I had all those years of no grilling!” My response was, “Honey- I’m NEW here!” Inwardly, I was patting myself on the back, thinking, “Whoa- that was a good one!”
I got to the party, and was sitting with other on-air people, and all of a sudden they Saw it. One by one, my coworker’s mouths are starting to hang open in shock! Me, being the new kid on the block, was baffled by what was happening at my table, and ask each person there, “WHAT!” Silence. Again I asked , “WHAT IS IT!” One on-air mouth shuts, and turns her head- another mouth closes and looks at that on-air person, and the third table person says to those two, “WHO is THAT?” By then, I was squirming in my chair, because I didn’t get it!
The story unfolded, that two employees were sitting across from us, at a nearby table, and they each had the nerve to bring DATES. WHAT?? I just used up the last and best excuse ever, to my husband! Now, I could no longer be able to justify it, upon returning home! Have I mentioned that I’m a lousy poker player? There might as well be a mirror reflecting all my cards to my opponents, so I knew I was gonna’ have to tell him the truth; “Someone brought a Date to the ‘Date-less/Spouse-less event.”
This has become my new Pet Peeve throughout the years.
We Suffer, leaving our spouses behind, making excuse after excuse, which by the way causes tons of anxiety, and then someone else decides to make their own rules, and bring whoever they want! I don’t GET it. Apparently, neither did the rest of my table. (I think I was secretly jealous that someone else had the balls!) This instantly became a Seinfeld episode, not exactly an HR issue, but it sure did fill the water cooler bill!
I got home, yawned, checked on the kids, fed the dogs, and skirted my husband! I Never told him! MY LUCK- he’ll read this blog.