The next couple of weeks are the Office Party Season, followed, of course, by Christmas, before moving into January which statistically is the most likely month to instruct a divorce lawyer. Is there any connection, other than the intervening Christmas period between the party fun and the miseries of separation and divorce?
It is certainly not uncommon for the antics at the Office Party to be quoted as instances of unreasonable behaviour for inclusion in a subsequent divorce petition.
So how can you guard against this?
Well here are ten tips for surviving the Office Party with your marriage (and dignity) intact:
1. What do you wear? Nothing revealing or tight fitting. In fact consider keeping your coat on and buttoned all evening.
2. How long do you spend preening yourself? You don’t – just a quick hand wash, comb through your hair and you’re done. Oh and definitely no exotic fragrances, although if desperate you could try a spray from the nearest air freshener aerosol.
3. Do you meet your mates in the pub first? A definite no here too I’m afraid. Get your spouse to drive you to the venue and, as you pass the pub, mention casually how everyone else was meeting there for a few drinks beforehand. That way you will at least have earned a few Brownie points, in the event that things go wildly wrong later.
4. What do you drink? No doubt about the answer to this one: orange juice; yes, I repeat orange juice.
5. What do you eat? Easy, see the response to question 8 below, but essentially as many cheese and onion crisps and pickles as you can muster.
6. Can you dance? Yes, it is a night to enjoy, although you must ensure that your partner is the oldest person in the room, regardless of gender.
7. How do you avoid getting caught in that embarrassing shot by one of the many mobile phone cameras that will be flashing all night? Connect only with colleagues over 65 years of age and give everyone else the cold shoulder if you need to, although hopefully the hints so far will help resolve this dilemma anyway.
8. You are conscious that Mel in accounts , inebriated by the effects of alcohol and your charms and sheer charisma, will try to get you to share little intimacies, vampire style. Well if you are sure that despite the precautions taken so far you are going to be irresistible then go on an onion and garlic diet for three days beforehand. Top your perfumed breath up with the pickles and cheese and onion crisps when you get there.
9. What time do you leave? At precisely 10.30pm to get home for 11pm. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll turn into a pumpkin and find your pyjamas neatly folded and stored in the freezer ready to wear, if you don’t.
10. What do you say about the party when you get home? The truth: it was a bore, everyone else drank too much and behaved outrageously and next year you think you might as well stay in and watch other people partying on television instead. Your spouse won’t believe you but you will still have a home to come back to in January.