- by admin
- Ai Chihuahua!
It was ninteen eighty-something and I didn’t yet know that Christmas parties were a bad idea. I had on my best shoulder-padded dress and sheer stockings. I promised myself I would behave. This was my first real job after college and I stood in a glittering ballroom near Copley Square in Boston, assessing the passed hors d’oeuvres and the painted nails and the beautiful clothes I saw before me at the company’s annual holiday gala. I had arrived. But then I heard the champagne cork pop, and it all went downhill from there.
I ended up telling my co-workers my boss was a horse’s ass and my boss that he really should do something about the prominent birthmark on his newborn son’s cheek. I stayed at that job for another year and the next year’s party was an elaborate lunch laid out in the grand foyer of the building with only cheap beer and wine as a consolation. Business wasn’t as good and expenses needed to be cut. I grabbed a sandwich and a generous glass of cabernet and read a business journal, angrily, at my desk.
Attending Christmas parties tops a long list of bad ideas I’ve had in my day. There was the one time when I worked for a magazine in New York and the holiday party was held in an old train terminal building that had been converted into a terminally-hip nightclub. It was the hot spot of the moment, and after more than a few Bellinis I thought it would be a great idea to hop down onto the 1900s era train tracks that were still sunk into the ground at the end of the dance floor. Never mind that there were plenty of signs that said “Do Not Enter.” Never mind that stiletto heels and a stretchy mini-dress don’t mix well with gravel and railroad ties. Never mind that a member of the club’s security team blithely yanked me up by the armpits and suggested I leave out a side door.
Then there was the time a group of friends decided to go to a fancy Mexican—yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron—a fancy Mexican restaurant downtown to celebrate the holidays. We figured it would be festive since this particular establishment hung multi-colored Guadeloupe banners, the little paper hanging things that mark the Dec. 12 birthday of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, along with twinkling lights and strong margaritas. Everyone brought someone new to the group in an attempt to widen our collective circle of friends. The gal across from me leaned over and said, “You know, you look a lot like so-and-so big time model.”
I was thrilled, and especially so since the margaritas had kicked in and the entrees were running late. I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say back to her. I felt like I had to say something, so I blurted out, “You … look a lot like … Carol Burnett!”
I didn’t know at the time that Carol Burnett has had loads of work done. My admirer looked shocked and then said, “Really? Before or after plastic surgery?”
I was totally flummoxed. I had no idea what the right answer was. “Before?” I suggested.
It’s been years and years and this gal still avoids me every time we find ourselves at the same event.
One year, I had to plan a party at a fancy Los Angeles art gallery for the magazine that employed me. I was hired as the marketing director, but the only marketing we did was host parties all around town. I worked with the best caterer du jour. Her vision was “it’s a Spring holiday” and she covered all the tables with sod and laid sushi out on the grass like it was the most normal thing in the world. This caterer was eager to try her latest discovery: cookies silk-screened with sugar. I ordered five hundred rectangular cookies with the magazine’s logo on them. When she asked me what color I wanted under the logo, I chose red (the magazine’s other color was teal). When the cookies were delivered just before the party, I discovered they had been iced in white and the red was airbrushed on top of the white and under the logo. This gave the rectangular cookie the appearance of a used sanitary napkin. I was horrified but the party was due to start in less than an hour and Los Angelenos always arrive early to a party with flowing booze and free food. I didn’t say a word, hoping no one would see the cookies the way I saw them.
Twenty minutes later the sales director came up to me, holding her second screwdriver, and said, “My God, the cookies look like we’ve been on the rag!”
The party attracted so many people that the fire marshal shut the doors twice. The heat of all the bodies in the gallery made the sod on the tables disintegrate, causing the floor to be covered in dirt which ended up on the white walls of the gallery. And everyone went home with an “on the rag” cookie, emblazoned with the magazine’s logo.
So here is my advice for how to weather the coming holiday party season. Taste the catering before party day, steer clear of the bar, arrive late, and leave early. Follow these rules, my friends, and you should sail through the upcoming holiday party season with no trouble at all.