The most terrible idea in the world or the ultimate opportunity to find true love? Charlie Teasdale helps you navigate the work christmas party
BURO. DATING GURU
Holy heck, is it that time of year already? The night when you get the chance to show your colleagues that you’re not just an HR consultant, or a paralegal, or a tour guide with a strange dedication to microwaving last night’s fish pie. But you are, in fact, a knockout with impeccable taste in festive couture, an arsenal of anecdotes and a karaoke voice that is at once heartbreakingly tender and modestly powerful, with a strange dedication to microwaving last night’s fish pie.
The sexual tension that blips under the surface during office hours erupts at the Christmas party as soon as the complementary glasses of ‘bubbles’ have been emptied and the boss has bid a mutually beneficial farewell to the soon-to-be-trolleyed rabble. All the weird office crushes (that would absolutely not exist in the real world) are primed and ready. The jocky freelance guy that pops by on Tuesdays and Fridays is lounging at the bar, the girl from the first floor with the fringe is sitting coquettishly on a plush banquette. The accountant that kind of looks like Idris Elba (if you squint) is eating a vol-au-vent with alarming sensuality…
My flatmate, who I’ve just asked for advice, has said that the first hurdle to vault is one of pragmatism. “Do you really want to do this?” (He then recounted an especially carnal Christmas tale that ended in the termination of a colleague’s contract, which I won’t recount here). People will talk, and tales of boozy, misguided affection live long in the office memory. But it’s Christmas, and there’s a seasonal frisson that only cold weather, lukewarm prosecco and the impending dread of extensive family time can conjure. So here are some tips to getting off with your office crush this Christmas.
Don’t launch yourself across the table before the crackers have been pulled, but don’t wait too long either. As the day goes on you’re going to get steadily drunker and drunker, and the phrase ‘I’ve always loved you from afar’ is much less harrowing when spoken with semi-sober clarity, than it is slurred hotly into a nervous ear. Also, the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that cow Janine will sneak in before you get a chance.
Once the postprandial table shuffle has begun, sit near them, but not next to them. Diagonally opposite, ideally. Grab the odd bit of eye contact, and laugh at their jokes, but don’t stare or guffaw. This is a game of chess, and you’re aiming to gradually lessen your orbit as the afternoon progresses, so that by the time the most depraved of your colleagues are booking an Uber bound for the nightclub on the trading estate, you two can splinter off.
7pm. Everyone’s pushing on to the pub, so use the 150 yards of pavement to tell your yuletide love about the time you replaced a sick pal on the morning of the Marathon and finished in under two hours, which was surprising because you hadn’t really run since cross country in year 11, but it turns out that kind of muscle memory never leaves you and all the Barry’s Bootcamp classes and hot yoga and tantric Crossfit had been for something after all, but the most important thing was that the charity still got its sponsorship and you’re actually thinking of doing the Marathon Des Sables next year. They’ll love that.
Think of the latter hours of the office Christmas party like it’s a deleted scene from Love Actually. Emma Thompson is there spurring you on, Bill Nighy has given you the go-ahead from across the pub and Rowan Atkinson is winking through the window. A small posh boy has wandered in and smiled sweetly before offering a buoyant thumbs-up. If your love hasn’t got the hint by now then calmly, considerately, tell them that you’re deeply in love with them and the thought of them naked sends a current of static lemons coursing through your very veins. And if they don’t kiss you immediately then it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a movie. They’ll have forgotten by 9am, and the deep regret of having spent a torrid night at Janine’s will overshadow everything anyway.
Good Luck, and merry Christmas x
Image | shutterstock