The Holiday Party

I figured this story would be interesting given that it’s the season.

It was back in the late 90’s at the second holiday party at my second “real” job. The firm had not grown too big yet and times were good. So we were allowed to invite someone to the party which usually meant: a spouse, a lover, a friend, and occasionally a popular ex-employee (just one, not all four).

The holiday parties at this firm had a knack for taking place at restaurants with exceptional food. They weren’t renowned or expensive places, but they just had great food. This was a small place hidden along some railroad tracks not far from downtown. Very intimate and perfect for a party of our size. Plus there was a great view of downtown when trains were not passing by.

The tables were arranged also with an intimate feel. Groups were limited to four to six people. So you had the chance to really get to know whomever you were seated with, for better or worse. My fiancée and I were seated with two other couples. I knew one of the other employees, Fred, quite well while the other, Jack, I knew almost nothing about him outside of work. They were both my senior, but as with most of the bosses at this firm, they were very easy going and very friendly. And in both cases it was my first time meeting their spouses. I finally got the chance to meet Fred’s girlfriend, Betty, that he had talked about many times. We talked and got to know each other even better. Exchanging stories about how we met, silly things we do, and the like.

Jack was… how can I say this nicely… what some would consider a perfect human being. Outgoing, handsome, well-built, a go-getter. He was a regular church-goer and even played in the church band on drums. During our time at the party he regaled us with how he dressed up as Batman for his son’s birthday. He actually climbed up on the roof from the back of the house to surpise his son with Batman appearing at his party.

Jack’s wife, Sheri, was a very nice looking Latin firecracker. Someone who could explode into an arguement if she felt slighted. During our conversations, we learned that we had both worked at the same place before. She had left a year or two before I had started there. We shared stories of various co-workers that were there during both of our tenures. Though nothing really surprising since they really hadn’t changed too much.

We were having quite a good time conversing between the three couples. Then at some point, Sheri and I were still talking about our old employer when she threw something out there that really surprised me. She revealed that she had posed for a very popular men’s magazine during her time there. Now how the heck are you supposed to react when someone tells you that? And her husband, one of my bosses, was in on the conversation. I’m fairly sure I took it in stride and reacted like any other conversational offering. A bit of surprise, but allowing them to carry on with what they were talking about. And they did. Apparently it was part of some “Working Women” feature and her boss even knew about it. In fact, they say he came in with a stack of them one day and asked her to sign them. I feigned slight astonishment/interest and started working on how I could extricate myself tactfully and preferably unnoticably. In the end, I believe the conversation turned to other topics but I was fighting my mind’s desire to run away in case they had some other revelations to spring on us. I never got away and fortunately our conversations ran their course without further incident.

I found at the end of the night that I was very intoxicated. Likely because my brain was trying to find a way to calm the anxiety of the situation. But why? Was it pride? An attempt at getting attention? Indifference about posing and feeling that it was interesting given our shared previous employer? Or was it some little game that her and her husband played to see how I’d react? I actually did a little research, but could not find that feature. They could have made it up. None of us acted any different to each other after that and no mention was made of it. So I never knew if it was true or not. In the end it has just become an odd little story to retell.

I can only hope your (and my) holiday parties go well and that they stay focused on merriment and having a good time outside of the office.

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~ by Frank on December 26, 2007.

3 Responses to “The Holiday Party”

  1. Research, eh? 😉

  2. “So we were allowed to invite someone to the party which usually meant: a spouse, a lover, a friend, and occasionally a popular ex-employee (just one, not all four).”

    Unless of course they are one in the same.

  3. Believe it or not you can do some research with out looking at the pretty pictures. Wikipedia even has a fair amount of info.

    Mrne: We actually had at least two instances where that was the case. Plus a couple in-house romances that lead to them getting hitched. I suppose that shows how well we all got along. And I would hope that if you were bringing a spouse, that they would also be your lover and friend.

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