How To Deal When You Accidentally Shag Your Colleague After The Work Christmas Party
The Debrief: We’ve all been there. It’s December, it’s 5Am, you're not in your own bed, you’re still drunk and you have to be back at work in four hours time
Have you ever heard the tale about the teetotal woman who vowed to never drink again after being caught shagging her colleague at the Christmas party?
I couldn’t believe I was hearing this story (no exaggeration) for the fourth time last week from Cara, 28, a Derivatives Trader, who told it with the gusto of a true believer. ‘She was caught by her boss shagging in a meeting room and to keep her job she had to say she had a drinking problem and actually go to AA.’
Either there is one of these poor blighted women in every industry or an urban myth has formed, London-wide, to discourage women from Christmas kinkiness in the workplace.
Neither would be surprising. Christmas is a dangerous time when it comes to the slippery slope of office relations. Workloads lighten. Long days staring at a screen are replaced by client Christmas excursions, departmental boozy lunches, international bonding ski trips, the good old fashioned office Christmas party and everything in between. You are handed the tools and accessories to either consummate your year-long office crush or end up falling into bed with someone who, taken out of office context, would be seriously scraping the barrel.
It is crucial you are not lulled into false comfort by carols and candlelight. Underneath the veneer of cheer, a world of consequence and repercussion awaits should you be tarnished with the office slut stick. But if you do accidentally end up on all fours with the IT guy grabbing your reindeer antler headband and shouting, ‘Christmas is coming!’ You will need to do some serious damage control to make sure it never gets out.
Fix Up Look Sharp
Ideally, alcohol-disturbed sleep, post Christmas party shag, will mean you sit bolt upright at 5am, probably still drunk with ample time to get home and chanTge. If fate is not as kind and he doesn’t have a fetish for crossdressing/is married, you will have no choice but to wait on Oxford Street til Zara opens and spend the money you were saving for Granny’s Christmas Spa Day on a smart new outfit that will detract from the sunken grey ghoul structure which is your face. Remember: this isn’t any old one-night stand where you can disguise yesterday’s clothes with a scarf and a different lipstick. On the bright side, hanging about allows time to inhale a McMuffin and, most importantly, staggers you and your colleague’s/shagbud’s arrival to the office. You don’t want beady-eyed Linda from accounts bumping into the pair of you together on the Piccadilly line.
Be the Gossiper not the Gossipee
Once you are in a suitable state of redress, get to that office as quickly as your slightly imbalanced stiletto strides can get you. You must instate yourself as a governing ruler of Rumourville. Teetotallers and middle aged women will have undoubtedly come to work early to attempt the same thing; getting up at 6am, whistling Christmas tunes to themselves in merry anticipation. Annually they create at least 10 stories by lunchtime that will turn into common office knowledge. Get them onside and dispell any inklings of suspicion about yourself by making up something wild about someone else. If this means you thought you saw Seedy Sales taking the term ‘whipping boy’ to another level with the teenage intern – so be it! It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Yeah OK, Charlotte is a sweet girl. You guys get the same salad at Chopp’d, she knows about your failed Tinder dates, you know how many vibrators she owns but she MUST NOT know about last night. However close you feel with Charlotte, you can’t take that risk. A wise woman once told me, ‘Any indiscretion only ever becomes real the minute you tell someone else. Up until then, it only exists in a world you alone have control over completely denying or pretending never happened.’ In short, the conscience-clearing you seek from confiding in Charlotte would be safer obtained through self-delusion and total denial.
Use Your Porfessional Skill Set
Aleksandra, Broker, 27, slept with her colleague two years ago ‘mainly because I was too cold to go home’. She used her brokering skills to ensure he wouldn’t breath a word. ‘I basically sold him the idea that if this surfaced, he would be the one people would blame as he had previous – so I would kindly keep my mouth shut for his sake. Luckily, he’s a shit broker, so he didn’t see through my tactics.’ Negotiation is key in situations such as these, as is clear communication. Treat the situation as delicately and precisely as a highly confidential business transaction.
Everything must remain as normal or you will be sniffed out and out the professional stake. Your instinct will be to avoid him, but if you’re working on the same desk/team this is not an option.The hardest situation is if you are known throughout the office for significant yet innocent flirtation. If this disappears altogether you’ll be called out, but you equally don’t want to send mixed messages. Take him out to Byron Burger the next day, suggest a continued mild flirtation, outlining what that sets to achieve. He won’t complain – you’ve just added a new level to the tantric edge you were living on before.
Which will keep you going right up until the next Christmas party.
Follow Maddy on Twitter @missmadeleinek
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Picture: Rory DCS
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