DATE KNIGHT: When It Comes To Office Parties, Yule Never Do This Again

Taking your significant other to suffer through your office holiday party will end in either deception or defeat. Bonne Chance!

Hi. My name is Dave, and I’m a weasel.

Admission is the first step to recovery, unless you’re a journalist and a weasel. As my wife will promptly and regularly tell you, there is no hope for her or any family members of the afflicted.

Face it. All guys are weasels. We all do some laundry and pretend it’s real housework. We don’t empty the trash unless it’s running over the top because, 1. It’s not full, and 2. We hope someone else will do it so we don’t have to. I have volunteered endlessly to jump into helping our daughter with her fractions homework — only to get into the kitchen just as the dinner dishes are nearly done to say, “I can help now.”

Even I don’t fall for that anymore. If you’re a guy and this doesn’t even remotely describe you, the rest of us just want you to keep it to yourself.

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I don’t mean to be a weasel. I want to make sure the windows are washed. That cars get new tires. That we replace at least some of the spoons I let slip into the food disposer on the rare occasion I do dishes. But I also want to ski at least once a week and every real powder day, and I want a new bike and a TV the size of the refrigerator I relented to buy last year. It’s big.

So when the subject of date night comes up, my weaselness can be overwhelming. Dating after marriage is a paradox. Weasel guys date before marriage to get the girl. Why keep dating after that job is done? Let’s ski. For women, dating after marriage is the rare time that her beloved shows how much he really appreciates her by spending money and time, paying attention to her instead of work, ski weather forecasts, work, or ski-buddy-car problems, ski sales, or work.

Voilà la différence!

So as the pressure builds among stuff you have to do during the holidays for work and family, dirty carpets and unhung Christmas lights, improving slope conditions, unappreciated spouses and the underlying weasel factor, necessity prevails.

You have to take your wife, or husband, to holiday work events and even the company Christmas party on date night  — and get away with it.

Oh, come on now. It’s not like a war crime or human rights violation. But if you spend all your money on $200 dinners and wildly expensive Nutcracker tickets right at Christmas shopping season, you’re going to be wearing those floppy, old, bright orange ski boots for the rest of the season.

Besides, since she wouldn’t go for, “Hey, how about we stop for pizza on the way down the mountain?” as a substitute for date night. So these are the rules of engagement:

• Don’t tell her she “has” to go to the holiday “office party.” No, no, no. Tell her that you are both “invited” to a holiday “soirée” and the company is paying for everything. Practice it several times to make sure you can do it with a straight face.

• Make sure you get yourself on the holiday planning committee and that the dress code will be repeatedly announced as “business casual.” If you say anything else, you can kiss your new ski goggles goodbye this year, because you know sure as hell she has “nothing to wear.”

• Realize way ahead that you’re not going to get off this easy. Life is a compromise — after you don’t get your way. So announce first off what fabulous place you’ll be going for happy hour before you take her out to the company-paid holiday soirée. Start with one of the Aurora area’s awesome breweries and tap-rooms, just in case she goes for it. If you immediately get “the look,” then do the “just kidding” thing and throw out one of the metro area’s top wine and cheese haunts.

• If the level of push-back here is jeopardizing some ski hooky days or an inevitable back-country day with the bros, up the ante: “I thought I’d leave work early and we could spend some time at the Clyfford Still Museum or the art museum before we hit (insert chic-chic-la-fem-wine-and-cheese haunt here — suggestions follow) and then hang at the company-paid soirée. Maybe we can go check out some Christmas lights after.” (You only have to throw this out there if you’re trying to skip Black Friday sales and ski three days in a row.)

• Manage the alcohol level carefully before and during the company-paid soirée. You need that balance of wine that eases off the resentment of having married a weasel who would actually try and make it seem like the office part— I mean, company-paid soirée — is a date. Careful though. Where two or three glasses over the night can do the trick, anything more than that is trouble in the making. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can grip your heart with fear as does a well-lubricated spouse or fellow worker saying, “David has told me so much about you.” Be prepared with a couple of distracting holiday jokes to keep your wife from continuing on, “You’re the — (insert “foot-tapper,” “keys jingler,” “nose blower,” or “ass hat that never helps clean up the break room.” Worse is when your compatriot sounds the alert and then says, “We’re amazed David makes it to work at all with all the home improvement projects and housework he has to do. He makes it sound like he’s a single parent. Ha ha ha.” For just such crises, I carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and light a table or chair on fire before the damage becomes irreversible. Don’t hesitate, however, to feign a heart attack or grab your hapless co-worker from behind and yank-and-squeeze them into unconsciousness, explaining to everyone that they appeared to be choking. But the best course is prevention. Keep the food coming and the wine at just the right amount.

• At one point in the evening, often when you first arrived at the office, errr, company-paid soirée, your spouse will realize the whole date night is the result of you being a weasel. This is where you start talking Christmas presents for her, and if it gets really scary, expensive vacations to boring places with quaint B&Bs, outside of skiing season of course. It’s all for the cause.

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