Monday, December 15, 2008

It is amazing to me to be on the outside looking in, and watching people make total fools of themselves in public. This is amazing not because I myself have never done it (anyone who knows me can testify to the fact that I can be the fool of all fools) but that they themselves don't recognize it.
This past weekend was hubby's annual Christmas party. This was perhaps the single biggest event in my social calendar this year, mainly due to the fact that we never, I repeat, never go out sans children.

It was a getting-ready process that took a couple of days. It all began with the recruiting of a babysitter (and, I must admit, we did get the very best one possible) and then the endless dress shopping, then the marathon cleaning* to prepare for said babysitter, the psychological preparation of the children for the babysitter, not to mention the shower/shave/hair/makeup. Whew! I get tired just talking about it.

(* - a side note: I am when it comes to my house. I am no less than terrified to have people over, demanding perfection of a home that will refuse to be perfected, especially with 2 little messy people running around. Why I feel the need to dust the tops of the doorframes when a person who is 5'2" is coming over is still up for debate. Let's just call it OCD and move on....)

So assuming that everyone who goes out must go through the same type of ordeal to get there (all the while secretly knowing that no one does this to themselves) I half expect that people are going to be drinking every moment in, thrilled to be free of diaper changes and kids shows, and happy to be wearing non snot-stained big people clothes. Yes, I was completely mistaken.

We arrived at said party to find a gorgeous banquet hall - all crystal chandeliers, 18 forks and knives at each setting, fancy music, you know, big people stuff. I am nervous that I am underdressed, or overdressed, or not appropriately accessorized etc etc. I needn't have worried. The dress code for the event seemed to span the fashion do's-and-don'ts spectrum from one end right to the other. There were women in ball gowns, hair all professionally pinned and sprayed into place, while on the other hand was a girl in a long t-shirt and those half-calf legging things. There were women there who looked like they were ready to meet the Queen, and others who looked like they just climbed out of bed (I was going to write something a little nasty about pole dancers, but thought better)
I think in this regard men have it really easy. Throw on a suit, an ironed shirt, a clean tie and off you go. But not us girls. And Christmas parties being thrown in the winter opens up a whole can of worms - how do you wear spaghetti straps when it is -15 outside? How do you keep skin which has not seen the light of day for 3 months looking soft and radiant? And open-toed shoes? I have been wearing wool socks since October, and now I am supposed to wear glorified sandals in the snow?

Anyhow. The bar was a cash one, which I think is a very very smart idea. Open bars and Christmas revelry do not make for a good combo. I bought a few beer tickets (domestic or imported beer? um...I don't, you know? Beeeer.) and even had to shell out $2 for pop. The food was pretty awesome - salad, buns, pasta, then steak AND turkey and stuffing and mashed potato and veggies. Dessert was some sort of icecream on top of pastry thing....looked good, but seeing as how I don't do carbs, this was way beyond my limits, so I politely turned it down. Everyone at the table seemed to notice what I was (or wasn't for that matter) eating....and even commenting on it. Why? Does it really matter if I don't eat the pasta? Does it bother you if I don't share in the gooey apple dessert concoction? And yes, I do not drink. That one seemed to shock some people, especially since we got 2 drink tickets for free (FREE). I did pour half a glass of white wine for toasts, but that was it. I have now resolved myself to never comment on someone elses food choices....this is a very very touchy subject apparently!
Enough of the food, I say, bring on the coffee - which was typical banquet style giant-urn coffee...but at least it was free (did I mention I am cheap? Yes, not ashamed to admit it - I am cheap). I commandeered all the 4 oz coffee cups I could find and asked the waiter to fill them - I knew it would be a while until I saw him again. And when you combine them all, I guess I got about 2 XL sized coffees. So really, in retrospect, I drink coffee like others drank their excess.

SO then on to the dancing. This alone made the night completely worthwhile - not because hubby and I dance (I used to , he is more of a sway-er) but for sheer entertainment value. Have you ever seen a 60 year old man shake his moneymaker to "Pump Up The Jam"? Yes, it is as funny looking as it sounds. The DJ went on a big 70's streak....much to the dismay of anyone younger than 40. I watched these retirement-aged couples breaking out all the best disco moves from their heyday and just getting down. Funny stuff.
But let's take a step back here. This was a work function - which means that come Monday morning, you will have to face all these people again. And they will know that you dance like Elaine Bennis or that you weren't wearing undies seeing as how you flashed them all doing high kicks to The Macarena. What we learn about people's personal lives and habits is sometimes best left unknown. For many, this was the first time you would have met their spouse. And while you may be able to govern your own mouth, you have limited control over your loving husband who asks someone when they are due, only to find out they had their baby 4 months ago (not my husband, but one at the next table).

I heard a girl throwing up in the stall next to mine, only to see her come out, all dolled up and fix her hair, reapply lipstick and stumble back towards the bar. I watched an obviously inebriated woman plop herself down into the lap of a male superior, all while his wife sat right beside him. Two men began tossing the remains of their dinner rolls back and forth from table to table, hitting anyone in between and crying with laughter. Couples on the dancefloor began the rapid decline to the "Dirty Dancing" portion of the evening, and still others were seen arguing in an alcohol-induced fury in the lobby. And today being Monday, I wonder what these people remember of their night, if anything.
We played it very safe, watching the dancing from the sidelines and heading home after 2 slow dances....had to go relieve the babysitter and drive her home.
So folks, there you have it - 3 weeks of prep for 3 hours of amusement....and still paying for the lack of sleep 3 days later! I wish we had thought to take a picture....maybe someone will send us one.

I may be a mother but I am Not Your Average Mom

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