We’ve all been there, dragged along to the office/company/feminist protest group/a cappella throat-singing-society Christmas meal out. The idea of sitting around a huge table eating bad food with a group of people who either bore you rigid or who you actively dislike doesn’t seem particularly appealing. Why will the food inevitably be terrible, wherever you go? Because ‘tis the season to be scamming – restaurants make a large share of their annual income around Christmas and New Year and the general idea is to part you from as much of your dosh as humanly possible while serving you food that would normally be rejected as staff gruel.
The restaurant will pack in as many punters as possible, resulting in terrible service by bad-tempered staff. You will be seated so close together that unintended pregnancies are an inevitability. As the warm white wine flows, bowls of food to share (such as houmous with the consistency of tile grout) are passed around as you cringe at the double-dipping done by hands of unknown hygiene.
Before someone sets fire to a coffee bean along with several of their fingers on top of a glass of sambuca there is the torment of pulling crackers and pretending to find it amusing that Nigel from accounts is wearing a pink party hat.
As a freelance journalist, who thankfully doesn’t work in an office or with a team, I’m perfectly happy to have my own party at home featuring a couple of negronis and a takeaway curry. In order for it to feel authentic, as I get more wasted, I will make an inappropriate pass at myself and subsequently get reported to human resources.