Although on reflection, that wouldn't be the first time anything I've done has prompted that sort of outcome.
Anyway, I'm not going to make out that I looked forwards to yet another corporate Christmas party - with Katie's employer last night - with unbridled enthusiasm. In fact, the bridles were out in force, especially as I was getting ready, fussing with a bow-tie for only the third time this year. Other people cheat and have pre-tied ones. Other people are more sensible, I must conclude.
One of the big problems for me, as invited guest and partner to Katie is that I don't know about 99% of the people there. We see some of her colleagues socially, but that's a small proportion of the total. However, every year I'll meet a whole bunch of other people, many of whom I only see on this one occasion.
I'm great with faces - I have almost complete recall. But names are a bit of a weak point to me. So we traversed the reception last night, Pimm's in hand, with Katie shadowing me and gently whispering "Bernard and Pauline" in my ear like a ministerial aide as we walked up to yet another vaguely-familiar couple. I would then flash a winning smile and go in to greet B & P like lifetime friends, pumping hands and kissing cheeks like the genuine social butterfly.
False and insincere? Perhaps. But I was hugely gratified to see at least one other couple doing exactly the same as we approached them. Excellent.
Some other things I can remember from last night:
- The organisers deciding to go for something a little more off-the-wall with the food choice. Katie and I liked the sirloin steak in ciabatta accompanied by curly fries, but you could almost detect a palpable "What the f...?" from several hundred diners expecting something more formal. I love reactions like that on a suitably big scale.
- The bar staff who had no idea how much to charge. Katie bought several sizeable-ticket drinks and came back with a stunned look in her eyes and change from a fiver. This does not happen.
- A DJ who knew his audience. Dance floor emptying? Lots of people in their 30s and 40s? Righto. Time to put "Welcome to the monkey house" on. Result. And then follow it with "One step beyond." Early eighties alt-ska always does the trick.
- I actually broke my cummerbund dancing to Madness. Hmmm. How many social classes can I cross in one sentence?
I must have enjoyed proceedings despite myself, as we were still in their company at Oh My God o'clock this morning before I decanted Katie (by then officially 30% composed of Gordon's gin) into a waiting taxi for the journey home.