The Sober Christmas Party

by Anon

The morning after an office christmas party can be a terrible thing. The hangover, the loss of memory, the missing coat, the strange taste of kebab. And that's even before you get home.

"This year," I promised, "There'll be no alcohol. None at all. Not even Christmas pudding cooked with brandy."

My best friend looked at me sceptically. She had every right to. I've worked for the same large French company based in London for seven years, and every December the same thing has happened. I've gone with good intentions of sobriety, of behaving myself, and generally not being the talk of the office for the following six weeks. And failed.

"But I need you in on this with me. You can't drink either."

Silence. Confusion. And then plain refusal. She wasn't having it. I would need to play the bribery card.

"If you join me in this pact, and we both make it through the night without a drop of booze, then I will buy you dinner on Christmas Eve, at the restaurant of your choice."

"You're on", she said. I was assuming that with only 3 weeks til Christmas Eve, we wouldn't be able to go anywhere too expensive, because it would all be booked up. Perhaps KFC or McDonald's would have availability? Anyway, the good news was that we had a deal, and for once i wouldn't be the office nightmare.

Later that week we jumped on the tube in our glad rags (I was looking about $150 million dollars) and headed to Embankment. It felt like everyone on the train was off to have fun. Hair had already been let down. Cans had already been opened. And there was even singing - from Christmas Carols to Feed The World. We did our best to join in, but since we hadn't started the evening with our normal G&T during make-up, and we knew that we would be the only sober people within 16 miles, it didn't feel quite right.

When we got to the party, it was already carnage, helped by the free bar and the festive spirits of 200 young and successful men and women prepared to drink and dance the night away. The bar had an almost magnetic pull.. it was so so hard to stay away.

Fast forward 6 hours and we're walking back through surprisingly busy streets, feeling rather pleased with ourselves. We had avoided all drink, and therefore we'd avoided making any disastrous decisions involving the teenager in IT, the head of marketing or even the incredibly good looking Australian guy from the sales team. And we saw Nicola from reception fall down, throw up over her Coast dress, and be carried out by the Managing Director. We assume, of course, that he was carrying her out to get her fresh air…

Still, in the back of our minds we felt that we'd missed out a little. Maybe next year we can try and find the middle ground. In the meantime we had to figure out how to get home.

"I brought a small bottle of vodka in my bag, why don't we celebrate our professionalism on the night bus?"

And just like that, I avoided buying her dinner on Christmas Eve.

Anon remains anonymous for many good reasons.

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