Jingling, mingling, singling

Date: 9 December

Location: Impatiently waiting for my takeaway food from Ba Na Hill Vietnamese restaurant.

Its been one of those weekends where you seem to go straight from immaculately party-prepped to blearily peering at yourself in the mirror out of gluey panda eyes and wondering what the heck happened last night. Well, cheers to the silly season, to dance floors in high heels, small talk, refills and expensive canapés. To sore heads, sore feet, sore egos.

Friday night was the work Christmas do. Having become accustomed to a diet of lush law firm Christmas parties — lavishly themed sit down affairs in pricey hotel ballrooms transformed for one night only into a circus tent or Wonderland or Gatsby’s mansion — I was uncertain of what to expect. The theme was Cool Cuba and the Malthouse theatre actually looked beautiful as a beachside, palm-fronded cocktail bar. The crowd was an odd and busy mix of all staff: from the Managing Director, to tax and strategy, to IT, to the call centre staff.

This was no ‘take the afternoon off to get a blow-wave’ black tie event, but we — the legal team girls — had worn dresses to work that day, and prettied up as best we could. (All except one girl in our team who is one of the most stunning people I’ve ever seen up close, body like a baby giraffe and dating the rock star dude from Big Scary. She was rocking a plain skirt and black turtle neck and had the quote of the day with, ‘I can’t believe you’re all in such pretty dresses and I’m in a skivvy. Who do I think I am — Steve Jobs?!’)

Then the evening got raucous quickly.

I don’t know about you, but I think you’ve totally nailed the ‘being professional’ thing when the General Counsel corners you around 1am and asks you if you have a crush on your boss. Yep, nailing it.

Let me explain. The work dynamic is pretty freaking weird at the moment.

I work directly with the head of M&A, a ex-Senior Associate from my old firm who was generally acknowledged to be the best looking guy in the place. Here, in-house, there’s not even any decent competition. When the poor new marketing lawyer started one of the girls made a disappointed murmur, to which her direct superior responded, ‘yes, but not every guy can be a complete dreamboat like [Mr X]’. Sadly, too true. The guys at the company love him. Girls adore him. And none more so than our General Counsel, a happily married, strong and scary lawyer with a wicked sense of humour and seemingly no need for sleep. Dreamboat and the General Counsel spend an inordinate amount of time together, as their roles require. However, there’s also an odd vibe between them. They’re a little too close. Apparently this is not something you’re allowed to joke about either. I once made an offhand and sotto voce response to a close colleague about them ‘making out’ in a meeting room — funny, because it was so patently untrue — and got warned that those sorts of jokes tended to fall very flat around here.

Anyway. The General Counsel also seems to have taken a strong shine to me which is immensely flattering and wonderful for my long term career. But a little alarming too. A few weeks ago she offered me a phenomenal job at the company, a role that would have involved continuing to work with Dreamboat and being personally mentored by the General Counsel. I’m still not convinced that I’ve done the right thing in passing that opportunity up for London. I was supremely nervous about telling her about my choice, concerned that it would affect the way I was treated at work. And, to some extent, it does seem to have had that effect: the day after I’d finalised my decision, there was an office reshuffle and I was moved out from right next to her to across the hall. However, Friday night confirmed to me that I haven’t been blacklisted just yet — we had a spin on the dance floor, a few cheeky drinks together, and a gossip. She even lead the charge to the after party,

It was as we walked there that she asked me, straight out: ‘So. Do you have a crush on [Dreamboat]’. Awkward alarms sounded in my head. I froze. God knows what the mojitos made me say. I stumbled something out: we get on well, he’s a wonderful lawyer and we work well together and — and, yeah, ok, maybe I was flirting a little that night, I am human! — but there’s nothing more to it than that. ‘There had better not be’, the General Counsel’s tone seemed to imply. Told you: it’s a weird dynamic.

4am found a few of us at Lord Of The Fries debriefing this bizarre conversation.

Then, bed.

Ferociously hungover and completely exhausted from being out at least 7 hours after my usual Friday bedtime, Saturday day had only one agenda item: nap. Pleased to report that that was successful.

In the early evening (and don’t you just know you’re a bit of a mess when you have to set your alarm for 6pm?) I dragged myself through a shower and painted over my exhaustion with makeup. An hour and a half later I had heels on my feet, Thurley on my body, a bubbling glass of Mumm in hand and was ready for round 2.

We’re pretty darn cool so we were spending the evening at the Christmas cocktail party hosted by Bunky and Tassels’ dad’s. The food was fabulous, the drinks were fabulous and if it was a little weird spending one’s Saturday at the same party as one’s dad then I can live with that.

Now all I want is for someone to please bring me prawn dumplings and chocolate mousse ASAP, and then to sleep.

[Side note: Arrived at work today to find out that the new marketing lawyer — that guy who’d been unfavourably compared to Dreamboat — had been let go after his vaguely creepy behaviour at Friday’s party. He’d lasted 7 days. Apparently, amongst other things, he showed the General Counsel a text he’d sent a friend saying that the legal team girls were ‘hotties’. True that. We are. But really not the wisest thing to show your brand new boss’s boss. Oh, the drama.]




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