party! woo?

The company Christmas party is tomorrow, and there are a
whole lot of things that could follow that comma. Such as: I am looking forward
to it, because I like to dress up! Or: It should be pretty cool, because it’s
an open bar and a nice dinner and everything will be so sparkly! But mostly: I
am dreading it, because it’s 400 co-workers making co-workery small talk
over really loud music, and: I would rather die than go because it will be full
of insanely hot blonde coworkers in tiny cocktail dresses screaming drunk
through the nightclub, and the simultaneous hit of total envy and utter disgust
may explode my brain.

I’ve got a little black dress, which I picked up at H&M,
it turns out I already own shoes that’ll go just fine and not tip me over backwards
when I try to walk in them, I think I’ve figured out something to do with my
weird mop of hair, and who doesn’t welcome an excuse to get a manicure and
pedicure? Well, people who don’t like to get manicures and pedicures, I guess.
Also, communists. I am set, physically,
but psychologically, I’m having some problems, here. Please, pause for a moment
to enjoy the myriad of funny jokes to be made at my expense after that remark.

There is no real reason to be stressing this—tomorrow is
going to be a practically work-less day. We’ve got lunch in the afternoon, a
two-hour company meeting with tea and cookies, and then they’re setting us free
to go get pretty. Then we wander back four hours later looking heartbreakingly
gorgeous and totally sparkly, and drink free drinks and eat free hors d’oeuvres
and enjoy humorous video clips about the agency, comprised of equal parts
wacky, slightly risqué skits and unabashed horn-blowing. Then, there’s more
drinks, then, there’s dinner, then there’s taking the cab money that was
passed out to us yesterday (for serious) and getting chauffeured home, looking
a little ridden rough, just begging to be put away wet. What’s not to like?

I am trying really hard not to get all pathetic and mournful
and make sad little honking noises about being oh so terribly lonely in a crowd
of 400 people but—the idea of being alone in a crowd of 400 people is filling me with a very special kind of dread that is very, very hard
to shake. I know people—I do love my immediate department, and some of the
project managers we work with are the definition of totally awesome, and they
are people I’d like to have drinks and gossip with, but I am coming over
all-a-sudden shy. No one will want to talk to me, I am thinking. They all like each
other more than me, I am convinced. I will try very hard to be charming, and
they will just think I’m kind of weird and sad, and smile at me vaguely before
continuing their own conversations, and then I will blurt something out that
will come out entirely and spectacularly not at all what I meant to say and in
fact, totally awful and humiliatingly stupid, and then I will be close to tears
and stammering while I try to explain myself and everyone will be more and more
irritated and then set me on fire and throw me out into the snow to be eaten by

The short version: It
will be like every day ending in –y. The slightly longer version: I will be the
spazzy, social fucking retard I am every day, and a party doesn’t change that,
and there is no special dispensation from the Pope to change that, which makes
me very, very cross.

So I’m having anxiety about a party for a job that I am
leaving in 5 or 6 weeks, filled with people I never met and will never meet
again, and which will, in no way, impact my life other than the next morning,
when I will wake up with a hangover and curse the concept of free alcohol. But then again, that’s my party trick—I can
be anxious about anything. It is
perfectly reasonable that I could actually skip out on this whole event—head
home at 3:00 and, in a revolutionary move, not go back out. Instead, I could remove my pants, and climb into
my most ridiculous, frowsiest nightgown and crawl on the futon and watch a 12-hour marathon of Doctor Who and right
now, that sounds like the best idea anyone’s ever had in the history of ideas.

This is how I know I’m hopeless, though—I’m going to go
home, and I’m going to be very, very tempted to stay on the couch and avoid the
social anxiety and the too-much-food and the terror and the shyness, but
instead I am going to go change into my little black dress and do up my hair
and put on fancy makeup and I’m going to go to the party, because how can I
miss an opportunity to wear a little black dress and red lipstick and look hot?
Vanity is my kryptonite. Maybe I’ll just dress up to watch Doctor Who.

9 Replies to “party! woo?”

  1. I totally understand, because I would have the exact same anxiety.

    That being said, if you don’t go I’m flying to SF and kicking some butt. Go. You really will be fun. People really will want to talk to you. You’ll be glad you went. I promise.

    And if you do something horribly embarrassing, you can always pack up and move to another state.

    Oh wait. You’re already doing that. So you’re covered!

    Get a pic of you in that hot dress, miss hottie mchotterson. We want to see!

  2. I’m just going to go ahead and throw out yet another ‘I feel the same way, too’.

    If you stayed home I wouldn’t blame you. The last party I went to I tried to come out of my little shell and actually talk to people, and as I was chatting to some girl I didn’t know she just walked off in the middle of it and stood against the wall. So there went my idea that it wasn’t all in my head.

  3. Hi Anne,
    You will be alone in a way–you’ll be the only one who just had this terrible thing happen to her–the mugging.
    I think you should go too, but if the party is too much and too overwhelming, you can always take a cab home and get into your jammies and watch your Dr. Who. Do what you need to do…it’s ok to not be up to Everything In The World. Just do the fun parts.

  4. You have just said the magic words which will make any party anxiety a thing of the past: “free alcohol.”

    You don’t even have to drink much – just nurse a cocktail and watch your co-workers do totally stupid shit. For even more fun – take a camera – be the photographer. Encourage people to mug for the camera. It’s like the instant shield.

    Or just go and look gorgeous in your cute little dress and be one of the people acting like a drunk idiot, because you ARE leaving in six weeks, and when else do you get that kind of free pass? Heh.

    (PS – As one who kind of tends to feel the same way about getting dressed up and going to parties where I don’t know people – the anxious is usually way worse than the actual. Not that this makes the anxious any less yucky, but somehow knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel is just the glare off someone’s tacky over-blinged sweater is better than thinking it’s the headlight of a train.)

  5. No one will want to talk to me, I am thinking. They all like each other more than me, I am convinced. I will try very hard to be charming, and they will just think I’m kind of weird and sad, and smile at me vaguely before continuing their own conversations,

    I hate that feeling so very much. It is seriously the worst thing in the world for me. I would rather have folks be huge assholes and be mean and tell me to go away because at least then I can say, “Fine, whatever assholes, you suck.” But there is no comback for the quiet politeness. Basically what I’m saying is, I know your anxiety and I feel it often. You are not alone.

    Now, go, dress up your hot self and have a drink. It’ll help. The camera idea is pretty good too. Also, your company is not only letting you go home and change but they gave you cab money?! So envious.

  6. I feel the same fear before every large gathering. I loosen up after a little booze, but it’s still totally scary for me to approach a circle of people I already know to join in their chatter. It’s nice to know I’m not alone ;-)

  7. While the Doctor Who marathon sounds lovely, I’m wondering how you got ahold of the tape of what my brain was telling me last night before our company holiday party.

    I went, and had fun, and showed my coworkers what I look like when I’m not in a yellow polo shirt and a ponytail. (It looks just like this: )

    I got two tripping over their feet doubletakes and one stop dead and jaw drop. :D

  8. Mary Sue, you are outfuckingrageously hot.

    And thank you, everyone, for the advice. I will go for a little while! And duck out if I’ve got to. And fuck the haters. Woo! And other enthusiastic noises like that.

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