What is your problem? You’re taking sips out of me like a watered-down Big Gulp in the middle of summer. Easy, lady. Easy! If we’re going to make it through this night together with any class you’re going to need to slow down. That’s it. Stir the olive around me with detached coolness and gaze thoughtfully into your date’s eyes. You’re in control. You’re the girl in the movies everyone wants to seduce. Say something charming. Maybe something like, “You’re a lucky boy to have me as a date tonight.” Wink at him to show that despite your cool confidence, you’re still down-to-earth enough to scrape out the change from underneath the driver’s seat of your car.
Well, don’t drop the olive on the floor. God damn it! There is no way this aloofness is going to work with olive juice on the front of your dress.
Oh, sweetie. You’re hurting me with this grip of yours. Why don’t you try holding me with just one hand instead of two? Good job. Now, let your left hand go and use it to make animated motions while telling a story. You do have a story, don’t you? Something to liven up all of this financial talk and hierarchical kowtowing? Nothing? OK, OK. Well, just stand there and smile. Try to stop adjusting your strapless bra when you think no one’s looking. And it wouldn’t hurt you to laugh a little more, either. I realize your feet hurt and your date is ignoring you but no one wants to be around an acrimonious bore.
Tell the story about how you just celebrated your younger sister’s birthday at a country-and-western bar in North Carolina. Leave out the part about how you fell off the mechanical bull and sprained the lower part of your back.
Is that Chardonnay I smell on you? Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what’s going to happen when you mix me with cheap wine? Oh, good God. OK, new plan: Stop trying to be cool and confident and switch to being demure and quiet. I don’t know why you think everyone wants to hear you talk so much now. You didn’t have a thing to say an hour ago.
Did I really just hear you say that “Howard Zinn is the only historian who can accurately assess the breakdown in communication between the corporate elite and the working middle class?” You do realize that you have no idea who Howard Zinn is, don’t you? Just because you read a passing reference Eddie Vedder made about him in Spin magazine does not mean you have any right to discuss him in public.
Stop talking. Stop talking immediately.
Your date hates you. He has now forgotten that you’re here and is flirting with his co-worker and ex-girlfriend. More than likely he will leave you here, drunk, and go home with one of the two. Your only hope is to exit after you finish listening to this tall guy with the shiny red tie discuss his views on the changing health care system in America. Try to nod occasionally and pretend you understand what he’s saying. That’s it. You’re doing fine. Refrain from using any words that have the letter “s” in them as they are drawing more attention to your noticeable slur.
Do not make stabbing motions at the olives with your toothpick!
Crying? Why are you crying here in the lobby by yourself? Oh, no. Smooth down your dress and wipe the mascara off your chin. Yes, it’s on your chin. I don’t know how it got there, either. Much better. Now take a long sip of me and walk slowly toward the coatroom to retrieve your jacket. You’re doing fine. Oops! No big deal! I don’t think anyone saw you trip. Now, keep walking until the nice lady behind the door in the coatroom gives you your jacket. Find the last $10 in your purse and have it ready to give the cab driver on your way home. When you arrive home, wash your face and give yourself a long, judgmental stare in your bathroom mirror.
Make a promise that you will never go to another company Christmas party again.