• Fri, Dec 21 2012

What I Learned From Getting Wasted At My Holiday Work Party

Drunk Chatel is "wacky" Chatel.

Drunk Chatel is “wacky” Chatel.

I had been at the marketing company for a little less than six months when December rolled around. The recession was at its height and as I watched almost everyone I knew getting laid off, I was grateful to have a job. I was also excited to go to a work holiday party. My companies in the past had had those silly Yankee swaps and consisted of a catered lunch in the conference room. This party, however, would be at a real restaurant with an open bar. OPEN BAR. The words alone incite feelings of joy.

I had heard the stories from the other co-workers about the drama that had unfolded at past holiday parties. There was almost more than a few people who got drunk — my boss, in particular, the year before — and managed to make a scene. I’m not talking just a drunken scene that involves falling down some stairs, but a played-out theatrical drama that consisted of her (aforementioned boss) throwing a drink in her then-boyfriend’s face. Of course, as with all properly drunken messy people, she didn’t remember this incident and had it not been for the photos, she could have been spared the vision. Camera phones may end up being the downfall of society.

I had zero intention of getting drunk at the party. I would not be like my boss and throw a drink. I would not even allow myself to get to any state in which I’d be forced to almost remember through the spotty recollection of a night filled with drinking too much. I had enough of those in my past. It was time to be a grown-up.

However, as the night progressed and the food seemed less important than the constant stream of martinis, my attempt — everyone’s attempt — at being adult-like in their behavior began to slip. In fact, the only ones who managed to keep their shit together were the ladies taking turns doing blow in the bathroom to “even” themselves out; the rest of us didn’t stand a chance.

When I woke up the next morning in my underwear in bed, I had no idea how I had gotten home. My last memory was dancing with my co-workers and watching my intern trying to have her way with our accounting department’s supervisor who was there with his boyfriend. I remember laughing at her ridiculousness, wishing I had worn different boots, then… then the memories stopped.

Around 4pm the following day, my immediate boss — the one who had to have her assistant hold her hair back the year before as she vomited on the sidewalk — called to do  her “annual damage control.” It was she who got me home, she who wiped the puke from my chin when I threw-up on the train and she who was lecturing me about getting that wasted at a holiday work party (hypocrite). I was also the third person she had called that day, as she was making her way down the list of employees alphabetically.

So, what did I learn from getting drunk at a holiday work party?

It’s stupid. It’s probably one of the dumbest moves you can pull. You never know what you’re going to do or say, and you’re actually risking your job if you really get out of control. Drunken hips leads to loose lips which, my darling, in case you didn’t know, leads to sinking ships.

Pictures don’t lie. Even if you reach for someone’s camera phone the day after to delete the photos they’ve been showing around the office of you getting down and dirty to Robyn, everyone has already seen it. You can try to forget, but as they say, some things can’t be unseen and your dance moves are in that category.

You look like an ass. Seriously. Even if everyone else around you is collapsing from too many shots of whatever the hell “Santa Juice” is, you should try to be better than that. Water is your friend at holiday work parties; water should be consumed as often as possible.

Your boss might see you naked. While I’m grateful she was kind enough to get me home and undress me in case I got sick again on my dress, it was still never quite the same. She had seen me in my underwear — granted they were pretty and lacy — but still; it’s just too vulnerable a situation for that type of work-only relationship.

You will hit on someone you really shouldn’t. Although I didn’t hit on anyone at the holiday party, because I was too wrapped up in my Swede days, I was definitely in the minority. There were one too many photos of people from that party trying to kiss other people whose faces recoiled in horror. No wants to see that. Ever. And who wants to deal with that awkwardness every day, Monday through Friday for the next several months? No thanks.

People have long memories. It’s true. It’s truer than you want it to be, but deal with it. When it comes to your fuck-ups, everyone around you will remember more than you ever will. Even if they were equally a mess, somehow they’ll conveniently forget their own actions in favor of yours. Deflection is a crime.

Open bars are evil. Whether it’s a holiday work party, a wedding, a birthday or any other event, bars that allow you to drink and drink at the expense of someone else are the most evilest of the things in the world. They’re great and generous in theory, but so are most evil things when you see them for what they are: THE DEVIL’S WORK.

Takeaway?

It’s easy to say “I’ll never get drunk at a holiday work party again!” It’s fun to think you may learn a lesson, pocket it and try that whole moderation thing next time around, but how likely is that? If you want to avoid getting wasted at a holiday party, throwing a drink in someone’s face or waking up face first in your own vomit on your new sheets, then don’t drink. It’s as simple as that. You have friends for getting wasted with; your co-workers and boss never need to see that side of you. Ever.

 

Photo: Twitter

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