Last night I accompanied Lady Barton St Mary to the company Christmas dinner. Being the husband of a company director, I am expected to act in an appropriate manner in keeping with her high expectations.
This morning I had to undertake my traditional annual review and appraisal, when her ladyship reflects on my behaviour and uses the data to determine whether I can continue in my role for another year. All in all, I believe my performance was satisfactory, with me being my usual charming, reserved and uxorious self. She tended to agree but did give me a couple of helpful pointers as to how I could improve. I did try and explain that derogatory remarks about religion were taken completely out of context and therefore shouldn’t be used in evidence against me.
Company Christmas ‘dos’ are always interesting affairs. Everybody is supplied with a three course meal and the bar is free. It’s amazing how a free bar allows people to think that a single measure of spirit is a piffling amount and yes, we always drink bottles of champagne when visiting a rather plushy hotel. Not always in pint glasses, but what the heck…
This year was just food, no music or dancing. Last year, we were packed into a large hall, fed a school Christmas dinner and treated to what was described as “a tribute to Michael Buble and The Rat Pack.” It was not so much Michael Buble and The Rat Pack but more Michael Barrymore and Roland Rat. I was standing at the bar when the Amazonian like ‘hostess’ approached me.
“What do you think of the entertainment?” she enquired, towering over me in her frighteningly high heels. I looked at her. She stared down at me, flashing her white teeth and fluttering her false lashes. I considered my reply for a moment, trying not to stare at her cleavage, her bosoms straining to escape from her dangerously low cut sequinned mini dress. To be fair, since her cleavage was at my eye level, this was difficult. I decided to be honest.
“Meh,” I said. Her eyes blazed and she took a deep breath, her bust now dangerously close to poking me in the eye. How was I to know she was part of the act? To make matters worse, I think she may have been romantically linked with The Buble. Or Roland. Or both.
She then did her best to flog me some flavoured vodka. I pointed out that I had a business card that allowed me access to all the vodka I wanted for free. That was the end of relationship. To be honest, I don’t think she was my type. Pushy wasn’t the word. She made Mel B look demure.
To exacerbate the situation, half an hour later, my plan to be a reserved and dedicated corporate husband was shattered as Lady BSM’s personal assistant decided she wanted to dance to Buble. With me. Whilst the entire board of directors and staff looked on, we shuffled and twirled in the middle of the crooners as they sang ‘I Just Haven’t Met You Yet’. Amazonian lady looked on in horror, leaning on the bar. I half imagined her making a cutting motion across her neck in my direction at one point.
Lady BSM kindly left this out of her corporate husband review 2013.
Of course, all Christmas dos have their moments. On another occasion, I remember watching one of her ladyship’s employees, who happened to be historically drunk, take a seat next to her and proceed to stroke her hair as if she were a valued pet. Grown men and women cowered in the corner of the room, awaiting her reaction. Fortunately, she accepted that his actions were due to his inebriation and allowed him to continue for several minutes. It was like watching a small child patting a lioness on the head.
My own Christmas events have had their moments, too. Again, a fair amount of alcohol is imbibed. Somebody usually takes a power nap in the corner. One particular year, after we had both enjoyed several soothing beverages, my manager and I decided to leave the pub and continue celebrating in another hostelry. Having helped my colleague make the arduous trip up the road to the pub, we took a seat in some rather large carver chairs. My boss, believing the floor beneath her to be moving, gripped the arms of her chair tightly, promptly pulling one of them off. She looked alarmed for a second, then held the offending item aloft, giving me an accusatory stare.
“Look what you’ve done!” she said in a loud voice. After a perfunctory attempt to replace the chair arm, watched by the irritated landlord, I persuaded her it may be a good idea to move on.
Then there’s the time we booked a meal in a pub and were served raw salmon and turkey. One senior manager left early after being insulted by a waiter. We eventually left en masse in protest, walking to another pub in an attempt to have a Christmas lunch, which of course was impossible. We made do with what they had – a selection of chocolate Father Christmases and Reindeer.
Next year, I’m sure I’ll be a shining example of corporate spousery in a paper crown.
Meantime, it’s my (almost) voluntary work Christmas dinner on Tuesday. I’ll keep you posted.