It’s holiday party season time. Uhm, yaaay?
Some of you are still lucky enough to be with companies that still throw a party as a way of saying thanks…and by party I don’t mean ginger ale and Gingerbread cookies, I mean a real party. Where people dress up, get drunk and do silly things. If you’re seeing someone, you may want to take them to said party; that is of course assuming you’re allowed to have a plus one.
So…what do you do?
Do NOT invite the “Friend with Benefits” (FWB) or anything that’s been going on for less than…erm…3 months. I know how fond some of you are of the “Winter Wifey” (i.e. the girl you’ll fuck all winter and then dump by March when the weather turns warmer), but these ladies aren’t for holiday parties…your girlfriend is for the holiday party.
Remember, on average, you spend more time with the people you work with than your own family members. It’s natural that they’re going to wonder who this girl is, and put a status on the two of you whether you like it or not. How do you get out of taking the WW or the FWB to a holiday party? You don’t mention it. By telling her that you’ve got your company’s holiday party coming up, you run the risk of her assuming that you want to take her. Because…well, why else would you mention it?
(waiting for some of you to go “oooooh” because you found yourself in this situation last year… tsk tsk)
Now, what if you want to take the WW? Well then my dear, skip ahead to the next section, because that’s a whole other topic of conversation. If you’re thinking of taking the FWB, because you don’t want to be the only guy without a date for the party, tread very very lightly. You think that one of the benefits of having a FWB is that you can call her up to be your “fill in date” for functions like this? I disagree. But, if you’re going to do it, you have to position it as a “hey, wanna be silly and come to my company’s Christmas party? Free food, open bar and then we can have really good drunk sex after…?” Yes. Make sure that sex is part of the equation. Don’t position it as a “date”; you’ll blur the lines of what is probably a clear cut arrangement.
You’re not so single:
You’ve been dating for a bit, you like this girl…you’re pretty much ready to have “the conversation” that takes you from dating to commitment. Do NOT invite her the week before, give her some notice. She may have plans. She may want to book a hair appointment. Basically, she doesn’t want to feel hastily put together…she wants to look good, because she knows that she’s going to be making an impression on the people you spend most of your time with.
Now if you haven’t established the label “girlfriend/boyfriend” how do you introduce her? Call me crazy, but I think introducing her with just her name is quite appropriate. I was once a fill in date for a friend and he introduced me by saying to people “and this is my lovely date, HLBB…” I had to spend the rest of the night dodging the question “how long have you been together?” from all his coworkers, his boss, the VP and the President of the company…grrr.
Just introduce her by her name, let people ask the questions. Have the answers ready. You’ve been dating a few months; things are good, blah blah blah…you know some drunken idiot is going to make a joke about marriage and babies, so shrug it off. Coworkers may ask you if you’re bringing someone to the party. Say yes. Mention her by name. Explain that she’s someone you’ve been dating for a while. This will help you avoid the embarrassment of someone saying “you never mentioned you had a girlfriend!”
Yes. She’s going to be called your girlfriend. As much as you may not want that, as much as she’s not ready for it.
If you decide to bring the WW…you are basically telling her to take a drawer for herself in your dresser and a spot in the closet…get ready to have the conversation.
Now on to the etiquette…
Some simple things to avoid when bringing a date to the holiday party. This applies to ALL levels of dating, whether it is your FWB, WW or actual wife/long term girlfriend.
1 – Get the dress code. Not sure? Ask the best dressed woman in the company what the dress code is and explain why you’re asking.. Gawd forbid your date shows up under or overdressed. For you guys it’s easy; throw on a tie and you’re done. For us a little more complicated. And NO, we can’t just wear the dress we work to that wedding that one time, okay? Geesh.
Semi-formal – no jeans, no leggings, no booty shorts (yes, saw it last week). Cocktail dresses and pants are okay.
Formal – Cocktail dresses will be frowned upon if you work for a conservative company (law office for example) as will pants. Dresses are longer (i.e. to the knee or lower) dresses, usually something slinky and black.
Casual – i.e. you’re all just getting together in a bar after work for spiced eggnog – jeans and cute top.
2 – Introductions, always. Even if she has accompanied you to the last 4 company functions, and introduction by name is necessary.
3 – Don’t leave her to her own devices. This is infuriating. If this is her first party, chances are she knows no one. I’ve spotted many a plus one just sitting at the table, by themselves. This is a jerk move
4 – Try to refrain from talking shop all damn night. First of all, it’s a party. Secondly, she’s not going to get the inside jokes. I was once a plus one and after I was introduced, I stood there for 10 minutes listening to my date talk shop. Oh and the coworker? Her husband was in the circle with the same blank expression. These two got so into their conversation that it wasn’t even noticed that I walked away in search of the bar. The husband patiently stayed and listened for the next 20 effing minutes… No one should have to be that patient.
5 – Try not to become “that guy”. You know the one who drinks too much and then: Does pushups on the dance floor? (I’ve seen this)
Flings his jacket off to “get down”? (uh-huh I’ve seen this too)
Wears a sprig of mistletoe on his belt? (yup…thankfully not my date).
Not only is it embarrassing for you, but it’s mortification for her. Because people will just feel pity for her. Because here this poor girl is at this party where she doesn’t know anyone and she’s stuck with “that guy”.
Say she bonds with some people, which means you don’t have to be by her side the whole night. GREAT! Check in with her though. It may seem as if she’s getting on well, but she could be bored out her skull.
Okay, now does anyone have any examples of stuff I might’ve missed? Comment below.
Happy Effing Holidays.