Sunday, November 26, 2006

Q. When is it acceptable (even expected) that women act like tramps and men become boozy louts AT WORK?

A. At the office Christmas party!

Last night we went to D. Sr.’s office Christmas party. This was his first Christmas party with his new company, but it was somewhat similar to past Christmas parties that we have attended in that it consisted of coworkers behaving EXTREMELY badly. This year was especially, um, interesting as I saw:

10 men take off their pants and parade around in their boxer shorts

Several women throw their bras and underwear at coworkers singing karaoke

A head honcho participate in a male wet t-shirt contest (which he won quite handily!)

A lot of “the usual:” drunk, provocative women flirting with their even drunker male counterparts.

Office Christmas party behaviour always shocks me. I just don’t get how one behaves like this with the people they work with. How do things go back to normal? How can HR lady throw her bra at a guy on Saturday night and then on Monday have to explain to him why he’s not eligible for the matching RRSP program?

It is curious, to say the least – appalling at worst.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a booze-fuelled good time . . . WITH FRIENDS! I mean who hasn’t been to a party where they have witnessed their friend undress and roll around in the snow? Or light fire to his shirt? Who hasn’t seen their girlfriend wear an empty, modified beer box as a hat all night? Or held back their friend’s hair while they puked in the toilet? Or watched a friend pee on a church? But who wants to see the person responsible for their performance review doing these things? No one, I hope, and certainly not me!

So, I would love to hear your take on this! Is it really socially acceptable for this to happen at the office party? Am I a total square for thinking not? Have you ever over-indulged and lived to regret your own behaviour around coworkers? I appreciate your input, as so far D. Sr.’s parties are always booze-crazy flirt fests, but mine of course are not. A room full of librarians, the people who married them and their cats is not exactly fiesta central. An experiment in social awkwardness? Yes. A booze binge of sexual innuendo? No. Maybe I just find D. Sr.’s parties shocking because librarian holiday parties are so super-lame on the other extreme (once a woman told me that she brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to lunch every day for 18 years – now that's a great conversation starter!).

So please share your horror stories of office Christmas parties past and present. That is if anyone is still reading this thing. I have personally over-imbibed at a few Xmas parties, but I have never said inappropriate things, brazenly flirted with co-workers, undressed or puked at them.

Looking forward to some anecdotes.


At 9:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your latest posting on the inappropriate Christmas party behaviour with interest. Working in the civil service, we don't tend to have Christmas parties (bad optics to have fun at the taxpayers expense). However, I used to work in the private sector and believe the behaviour you are describing is, sadly, par for the course. At my last job, the forty-something boss (married with two kids) spent a large part of the evening making out with a twenty-something junior staffer on the dance floor. Although highly entertaining for the rest of us, I'm not sure either one of them enjoyed being back at work on Monday morning. I tended to avoid the Christmas parties at the first company I worked for, but there were legendary stories of a company-sponsored shooter bar costing thousands of dollars and people not making it to the bathroom in time before throwing up in the hotel ballroom. A guranteed CLM (career limiting move).

At 11:55 PM , Anonymous Stacey said...

Looking forward to my husband's Christmas party this weekend - there is always plenty of this kind of free entertainment. Only, I think it's more fun when you're the only sober ones (like us). :-)

At 5:53 PM , Blogger JayTard said...

Interesting piece,though I'm going to agree with you - you seem square and librarians are lame partiers. In many other workplaces or offices, D. Sr.'s for example, there probably exists a build up of inter-office tensions during the year. They may be sexual, work related, or even just personal. A party, Christmas or otherwise, is just an excuse to burn it off - show some humanity. Sure, alcohol makes people stupid - that's the point - especially for the inexperienced ones who save it up for one or two parties a year. But having fun, getting stupid then being ashamed tends to build bonds, and it's a shared 'experience' if done in a group setting. Why would these be bad things for people in a work setting?
You yourself admit it's okay among friends, but first off, how do you know these co-workers(not your own) weren't actually friends, too? Or is the problem with respect - ie. a woman can't be respected if she's having fun and throws her bra? Oh my, you saw men in boxers? Will the insanity never stop? Puking? Gasp! Co-workers aren't Human! They'd never understand!
Though I must admit a few biases here, I've never been to an Office Christmas Party! And I have no friends. Whew, guess that means I've never gotten drunk and stupid around strangers/non-friends! Oh wait...there was this one time in Deweys with the Guynic[sic] Girls... hahaha


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