A very British institution is the Christmas party. I touched upon it in a former post and wasn’t intending to talk about it again so soon but I can’t help it. Something happened. I bumped into an old boss of mine. It has to be said that I never really liked him, mostly because, when I came back from maternity leave, my desk was occupied and I had nowhere to sit, so I ended up having to work from most London’s libraries -I especially liked the one on Buckingham Palace Road, but more about this some other time. Eventually I found another job and my new company is the main client of my old company. This means that my old boss the bully is now all matey matey with me, he has to keep in touch and tries to be nice.
We met at another of those boring corporate events and he looked pretty shaken up, which surprised me because he is the kind of person who is so full of certainties that usually nothing can rock his boat. It was all because, a few days ago, his secretary asked to talk to him in private and told him that she felt uncomfortable because of the way he behaved with all women, and her in particular, during the Christmas party. She didn’t elaborate but he was left traumatised and lost. How funny!
You see, he told me, he had just made a point of dancing with all the secretaries and he didn’t remember much else. I am a terrible agony aunt and wasn’t of much help. I just listened and nodded.
Suffice to say that, if the secretary has broken the law of silence, it must be pretty bad. It has taken her three months to break the Christmas party omertà. This is, in British terms, a declaration of war, nothing less.
I couldn’t resist it. I called her during a quick break. She started in a very British way:
“- You know, E always liked his wine”
Translation: as you know, E has a drinking problem.
And then she told me everything in a blur and couldn’t be stopped. He was so drunk that he started patting everything that remotely looked like a pair of breasts or bum cheeks. He ended up riding the fire extinguisher while explaining to her that he was the James Bond of the bedroom and he could prove it to her any time. She was not impressed but didn’t say anything. In France, the way to deal with such guys is to send them a glass of cold water or a good old-fashioned slap. It usually does the job. But not here. Here, you think about it everyday and after 3 months you sort of confront him.
I didn’t know what to tell him. To be frank, it confirmed what I thought about him. I might have made an etiquette mistake when I told him to get himself sorted. Not sure he understood what I was talking about. He will have to figure it out himself, which might take some time here…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London