[Originally published December 21, 2009.]

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I remember my first time at one of these big, corporate holiday parties. My stars, it was the grandest thing I’d ever seen. Oh, the women donned furs! The men wore tuxedos! Wine flowed from a gilded fountain in the center of the main ballroom. You had to be careful not to drink too much or you’d run smack dab into an ice sculpture.

Why, it must be so overwhelming to a common person such as yourself. Here, let me show you around this sprawling old fête.

Look, there’s Thomas. Hi, Tommy! Oh, don’t you just love clear nights like this, when the moon is just a waning little mirror? Charming, isn’t it?

Phew! That old brute is gone. Dear, even with oafish gentleman like Thomas, a lady should never be a know-it-all. We girls from the fifteenth floor limit conversation to the following acceptable subjects: who should be fired, who is sleeping with whom, and the weather.

Shrimp puffs? But I mustn’t. Why, I barely fit in this old wedding dress that I’m wearing!

I hope to high heaven that the gentlemen stay away from the girls in Web Production. Those little strumpets are not afraid to videophone trysts and upload them to their web logs before you can say “highballs!” Women my age would never do such a thing. That’s because women my age tend not to make the same mistake twice.

Need another drink, honey pie? Don’t be shy; I had a whole tray of champagne, myself. If you need to purge, just head down that corridor to the vomitorium. Go through the hallway, pass the oil paintings, and you’ll see it on your right. It’s labeled WOMEN.

Don’t look now, but there’s your boss George. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Your boss will attempt to court you. And the only way to get rid of such a boorish man is to tell him that you’re pregnant. My stars, it works like a charm!

If he presses you, say that it belongs to Josh, the fellow in Accounts with the skinny jeans who aims to sleep with a girl from each floor of the building. Heavens, everyone who is anyone knows he doesn’t wear condoms because it “just doesn’t feel as good!” And when your boss asks you about the drink in your hand, say, “It’s a cranberry and soda. I want nothing but the best health for little Shep or Stella.” Your boss will understand, and you’ll get Friday afternoons off to go to the “lady doctor.” Voilà! You fend off a brute, he pines after you as his unrequited love, and happy hours at the Hotel Flamingo start at two!

Did I say the Hotel Flamingo? Oh, I wouldn’t be caught dead in that place of ill repute. I, of course, meant The Governor’s Mansion.

You don’t smoke, do you? Unfortunately, pet, there is not an indoor smoking area. But there is an indoor cocaine area! Go through the hallway, pass the oil paintings, and you’ll see it on your left. It’s labeled MEN.

I think I see that handsome young Josh standing near that tapestry of Venus. And me looking so awful under this light! Here—hold my drink. I’m going to put on my Eyes Wide Shut mask and show you how I charmed every pizza delivery boy in the state of Mississippi!