Downtown Voices

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December 8, 2003 // UPDATED 11:09 am - April 30, 2007
By: Julie Swenson
Julie Swenson

Baby, remember my name Surviving the holiday-coupling pressure In my so-called career, I've had 58 jobs. I parked cars at the Monte Carlo until a near miss with the owner's Jaguar, performed several variations of telemarketing and enjoyed two stints getting fired as a waitress. In the process, I've gone to lots of workplace holiday parties with a few dates and I'm here to tell you -- work holiday parties are best when the party is small and you go alone.

This year, as a self-employed person, I had my office holiday party at the Monte Carlo bar. In the midst of a raucous night of Spoken Word performances at Marysburg Books -- a gorgeous new coffee shop across the street from Dja Vu and around the corner from the Monte -- fellow spoken-worder John Schaidler said, "Let's go to the Monte Carlo for martinis."

Since we both performed and got $3 each from the hat that was passed, we are co-workers, so off we went.

It was definitely the best office party I've ever been to. With a guest list of "customers sitting at the Monte Carlo bar on Friday, Nov. 7 between 10 p.m. and midnight," it was also the smallest. I didn't even think about finding a date, and the distinguished wisecracking gentlemen at the bar that night were terribly entertaining, whether they knew it or not.

If you've ever been to the Monte, you've stood in awe of the gigantic bar. That bar has more kinds of Scotch than I've had jobs. As of press time, I can say I've had more jobs than boyfriends, so every boyfriend I've ever had could line up around the block and they wouldn't even make a dent in the Scotch section.

Nevertheless, every time I get an invitation to a holiday party, office or otherwise, I immediately think, "Who will go with me? Where can I dig up a date this time?"

I don't know what my problem is. Half the time, my date and I break up between the time we get the invitation and the day of the party. Then, when I go to the party to show I'm over him, I'm constantly scanning for his entrance with his next victim -- I mean girlfriend -- which is a slow, painful torture. It's better just to plan to go alone in the first place.

Go alone and you don't have to smile through the small disappointments inherent in a mediocre date. You won't have to pretend to be thrilled when the conversation takes its inevitable turn to his brilliant career and he has forgotten, yet again, to introduce you -- or worse yet, forgotten your name altogether. You don't have to act like it's clever and cute to combine a ski jacket with a suit. Best of all, you can arrive at the party and leave whenever you want to. There's no checking in with a guy who may be at the start of a three-hour heart-to-heart on his Fantasy Football picks when you are ready to leave.

Last but not least, it's important to go to the holiday parties alone because it's the best way to meet single guys. Yes, it's harder to walk into the party alone, but once you are there, you are more open. You can meet the love of your life as you are chatting with strangers. You could run into an old friend who sees you in your little black dress that ignites passion that could change both of your lives forever.

Why close yourself off to this kind of opportunity to bring a date whose name you may forget in a week?

In addition to believing good things come in small parties, Julie Swenson ( owns Abbas Public Relations.