Saturday, 11 December 2010

The office Christmas party

For the last few months, the gazing from my window has been less frequent as I knuckle down to another office job. Not for me the joys of walking the dogs while the village children skip to school. These days, I head out in the dark with two panting spaniels and a dodgy torch from Lidl before driving off to workland.

So I find myself at the office Christmas party, surprisingly sober, and watching the dramas unfolding around me: acres of flesh on display, flesh that would be better housed under a nice little bolero jacket, legs up to armpits and people who usually wear glasses suddenly small-eyed and slightly scared looking as they witness the spectacale in contact lenses. There is pent-up passion, hands-on knees-under-tables, a look, a glance, sighing, raised voices, ladies bopping wistfully to Dancing Queen and someone from IT getting up to applause for Sex Machine.

I smile inside, above all this predictable chicanery. I excuse myself and go to the ladies, where colleagues are yelling to each other from the cubicles.

I look in the mirror as I wash my hands and wonder at it all. Here I am, nearly fifty, and scenes from the school disco whizzing past in cinematic montage.

A rather well-built woman comes out fresh from flushing.

'Excuse me, love,' she says.

I bristle, sensing a fight. Had I inadvertently looked at her husband?

'Not being funny but...'

She's moving in for the kill.

'Well, it might be the fashion...' she says.

And then I realise. Lofty, aloof me, has just committed the classic Ladies Toilets Faux Pas.

'You've got your dress tucked into your knickers.'

Now there's a picture that would have looked good on the office intranet.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. At least someone told you. When I committed this faux pas, it was even worse in the knowledge that people had let me go round like it!

  2. It happened to me in church of all places - just last week - nipped to the loo before the service and then removed my coat, (bizarere, as it's usually freeezing in there) and then - worse still - went off in a parade of flag wavers in a march around the pews! Some kind lady just yanked at my clothing from behind and saved me from any more embarrassment. :-(


Lanny by Max Porter, an extraordinary novel best read in splendid isolation

I’m on the Isles of Scilly with friends, the weather’s been glorious and there’s been lots of walking, paddling in the clear wat...