Working the Office Party
His face scorched crimson from that ninth spiked glass of eggnog, Larry from HR is doing the ol' mistletoe-hanging-from-the-belt-loop gag, a holiday party classic.
Susan, who works two cubicles over and has never engaged you in conversation during the four years that you've been with the company, staggers around the dance floor like a wounded buffalo.
Your boss, who generally treats everyone in the office with Pyongyang-like aggression, sits next to you at the bar, arm around your shoulder, slamming shots of Johnnie Walker. He's crying because he claims you are the son he never had.
Yes it's holiday office party season: the time of year when an open bar and free hors d'oeuvres are on display to placate the tired and weary cubicle masses.
In the spirit of the season, and because most of you are upstanding gentlemen and ladies who don't imbibe with my gusto and flair for the dramatic, I have a few tips on how to become a water-cooler legend come Monday or get fired in a theatrical, Costanza-like fashion:
ƒ?› Pregame. If your company tries pulling a two-free-drink limit, you must fight for your right to party. By that I mean you should probably get a nice buzz on beforehand. Obviously alcohol is the cornerstone of all great holiday party performances.
ƒ?› Learn the “Charm Doris” law. “Doris” is the woman in the office who's built like your elementary school's lunch lady, smells like a sloppy Joe, and who 364 days of the year is to be avoided. Not on this evening though. Charm her, flatter her and give her sexy eyes. You're a classy gent and your actions with Doris will trickle down, creating a good word of mouth with other co-workers, especially women. If charming Doris fails, then at least you can pull off a last-ditch, 2 a.m., hail Mary-like bomb and hook up with Doris herself. Always have a contingency plan.
ƒ?› Build rapport with the boss. Strike up a conversation with your superior and drop some deep dark secret about yourself, like say you contracted cholera during a recent humanitarian trip to Haiti or something to that effect. Fabricate everything. When you tell people secrets it makes them think that you care about them. Your boss will remember that little nugget and begin to treat you more like a peer instead of a lowly underling, even only if he thinks you're dying.
ƒ?› Don't talk business. It's Friday night and no one gives a flying crap about the Johnson account. Keep it breezy. Try to channel your inner Dean Martin. Saunter around and make witty remarks while showing people a side of you that will make them realize that you're not the same ass hat who constantly uses cringe-inducing office jargon such as “action item” and “triangulate.”
ƒ?› Know your drinking limits and exceed them. People expect holiday party imbibing to be over the top. You're going to take it way over the top. I'm talking pants-crappingly drunk. Like drunk enough to earn a nickname. That nickname is SeAñor Poopy Pantalones.
ƒ?› Always go to the after party. It's generally at some dive down the street. This is when things start to get interesting. Because many of you have no viable outlets for meeting members of the opposite sex outside of work, this will probably be the only chance you have to get laid before New Year's.
Chances are good that I'll be your bartender at that dive down the street. And, like Larry, I'll be sporting strategically placed mistletoe.
Now go forth and show the office that its mild-mannered, cardigan-rocking data analyst is in fact a walking cocktail glass of vodka … and party.
Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback slings and consumes drinks at a number of local establishments. He blogs at http://jackgoesforth.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @jackgoesforth. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.