Sunday, 30 December 2012
The Christmas night out
Two weeks ago I attended the “work’s do” as I have done each Christmas for the last 33 years. I’m not going again.
A Christmas celebration alongside work colleagues can be fun. Freed from the constraints of the office, a colleague often displays an alternative persona from the one on show 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday. My most prominent memories of this annual bash include a senior manager and his secretary performing one of the more risqué scenes from “Last Tango in Paris” in the centre of the dance-floor, and a staid professional punching a stranger he accused of drinking his beer.
This year, the evening started badly before I left home. Having prised my 15-stone physique into my best pair of silvery-grey trousers, I realized I had to pee before setting off for my bus. As any man over the age of 50 knows, the combination of a dodgy sphincter and pants too tight around the crotch should come with an official flood warning. My post-urination shake proved insufficient; upon returning Percy to his cage he dribbled a puddle into my boxers. As the sensation of wetness spread around my nether regions, it was a relief to note that my sturdy underpants had prevented any two-tone staining of my trousers.
I needn’t have worried. On my 10-minute walk to the bus-stop I had to negotiate sleet lashing into my face and torso, along with six inches of slush around my feet. By the time my bus arrived (20 minutes late) my trousers retained a single band of silvery-grey around my knees, above and below radiating a darker, drenched shade.
I live in a rural area, or “up in the hills” as my city-dwelling work-mates call it. When I arrived in Manchester city centre, there was no slush, no sleet, no wind, only a fine drizzle. And thousands of people, a combination of late shoppers and Christmas revelers most of who seemed to be thrusting umbrellas in my direction. Already late, I sped to my destination, dodging eye-removing brolly-spikes and mumbling obscenities about the recklessness of human-kind.
As I entered the Italian restaurant I suspected my lower half was emitting a noxious vapor, like a polecat that had let himself go. Nevertheless, I joined 15 of my work colleagues at a circular table, all in pristine attire, dry and (perhaps with one exception) younger than me. I ordered a pint of Peroni at a price that, should I consume my usual quantity, would require me to re-mortgage the house.
I wear contact-lenses because I’m short-sighted and vain. Although improving my vision, in poor light they render me incapable of reading small print. Squinting, I held the menu so far away from me the lady seated opposite had to peep around it to hold a conversation.
After the meal, the tables were pushed back and the disco began to spew tunes, most of which were unfamiliar to me. People danced and drank. I sat and drank. Despite the high prevalence of alcohol intoxication, not one lady (nor man) made a sexual advance towards me. Around 11.30 pm. the one colleague of a similar age to me collapsed on the dance-floor and sustained a nasty head-wound. As I observed the paramedics attending to the poor lady as she laid face-down, skirt hitched-up to mid-thigh, undignified and defeated, she symbolized why the over-50s should stay away from the Christmas “do.” I’m not going again.
I am participating in the Dude Write Starting Lineup this week where you can find some excellent posts by bloggers who happen to be dudes: http://dudewrite.blogspot.com)