Tuesday 23 January 2018

It's excess all areas as the lecherous lure of the Christmas party pulls you in...again

The Yuletide debauchery is fuelled by alcohol - and very often Gloria Gaynor Photo: Depositphotos
The Yuletide debauchery is fuelled by alcohol - and very often Gloria Gaynor Photo: Depositphotos

John Daly

There's something sacred about Tuesday nights at the local, a space and time devoid of tempo or fuss, where easy peace and muted good fellowship rule. Imagine my shock then, when a female posse of Naughty Santas chose that very evening to stride raucously into our public safe-house, garters snapping and fishnets popping as orders were shrieked for shots and chasers. I must have inadvertently harrumphed at the unexpected invasion, because a leggy blonde leaned over, tweaked my cheek, and cooed: "Chill, daddy, it's Christmas." Hard to argue with the sentiment, especially on a dreary Tuesday in November.

The arrival of the autumn rugby internationals seems to be the latest starting gun for Christmas party excess, with our city streets ringing to bawdy belles dressed as cops and firemen, tottering unsteadily on pub crawls that never end. While many traditions have disappeared from our world over the last 20 years, the Christmas party remains the vampire who gamely resists all efforts of a stake through its heart. Like an extinct dinosaur still roaring across the land long after the last genetic bus has departed, this enduring staple of the Yuletide season rumbles forth with fresh breath every year. We may have swapped carbon paper, staple guns and filing cabinets for networks, e-mail and smartphones, but the seasonal shindig from hell continues to operate in a peculiar time warp of decadence, debauchery and shame that's hard to avoid. That said, it's strangely comforting to realise that no matter how hip, hop and cool Ireland has become over the past decade, the Christmas party serves as a reassuring reminder that adolescence doesn't necessarily end when you pass 21.

"I delight in the idea of a party but find no pleasure in reality," noted JB Priestley 50 years ago. "The result is that I can neither keep away from parties nor enjoy them." A similar sentiment will be felt by millions of us over the next few weeks as the office memo regarding time and place is circulated.

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