the best office holiday party date story of all time

Earlier today, I asked people to share their funniest office holiday stories. I love this one with all my heart and hereby present it to you:

When I was fresh out of college, a dude in my social circle invited me to his fancy work Christmas party. He was a teacher, so I’d kind of assumed I was there as friend to act as a buffer between well-intentioned female colleagues who wanted to set him up with one another, with their daughters, etc. I was wrong! This invitation to a work Christmas party was meant to be the first date of a magical relationship between two people destined to be together. Why a magical relationship? When I opened the door, he said he’d hope we’d have a magical night leading to a magical relationship. Then HE DID A MAGIC TRICK. I was… startled.

The party was at a country club, where he drove around and around looking for a space while I said “they have valet. it’s only valet” over and over. Inside there was a coat check. He didn’t want to leave his coat–because there were additional magic tricks secreted inside. We went in, got our drink tickets and our seating assignment. I sat down at a table that was mostly single women several years older than we were. He offered to get me a drink, and I asked for a glass of any kind of wine. He came back several minutes later with a mudslide because girls love mudslides, because they’re chocolate and girls love chocolate. I don’t. But he tried! That’s sweet! Right? Over dinner, I tried to make that sort of general polite conversation people make around banquet tables with strangers. He kept jostling my arm to get my attention to show me another magic trick.

At the beginning of the evening, I really thought we were casual friends, but I was single and kind of open to dating this guy if we got on well. Maybe that hokey line was a story we’d tell our grandchildren! But it was becoming increasingly clear that this guy was Not for Me. That didn’t mean I wanted to embarrass him in front of his principal, though. I finally said something like, Would you mind terribly saving those for after dinner? I’m really interested in hearing more about Harriet’s begonias, aren’t you?”

He pushed his chair back and stalked across the ballroom to a piano. He plopped down and proceeded to pound out an assortment of sad pop hits. There was Muzak-y Christmas music, but he was gonna play the piano anyway. At this point, I was embarrassed to have come with this guy. My tablemates were embarrassed for me. One of them left and came back with the glass of wine I’d asked for initially. I drank it while the middle aged ladies at our table told me all about their various bad dates. More wine showed up. Then someone asked if I like martinis and brought a martini. Apparently none of them drank, and, as my date played “You’re So Vain” while staring mournfully at me, I drank my way through pretty much all their drink tickets. I am an effusively nice drunk person. I told each and every one of these women that they were beautiful angels shaping tomorrow’s great minds to recognize the power of sisterhood and human kindness. Or something to that general effect. My memory is a bit fuzzy, for obvious, gin-based reasons.

My date wanted to leave, so I went to coat check. I tipped the coat check person, and he reached in the tip jar to fish out my money. I thought he was going to pay the tip. Nope. He told me coat check is free. I said I know. I put my tip back in the jar and sidestepped him when he tried to help with my jacket. His department chair and her husband appeared and said that my apartment was on their way and they’d be happy to drive me. I told them they were “hashtag relationship goals” and made an actual hashtag with my fingers.

I was driven home by way of Taco Bell by these very nice strangers. A week later, the guy called to say his work friends loved me and would I like to go out again. I would not.

A few years later, a friend was telling me about a legendary party her school hosted before she got a job there. A girl nobody knew got plastered and told everyone she loved and appreciated them while her boyfriend played the piano at her and drowned out the Christmas music. I did not reveal my identity. Maybe there’re two of us? I hope there’re two of us.

{ 378 comments… read them below }

      1. First Star on the Right*

        I didn’t hold it against magicians. I thought he might just have been awkward… at first. But he was really just a Nice Guy™ in disguise.

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      No kidding – I don’t have any stories to even try to compare with this one. So sheltered, I am.

  1. Jam Today*

    So much of this is magical (ba dum tsch!) but I particularly appreciate the wordcraft of this line:

    “her boyfriend played the piano at her”

    1. annakarina1*

      I like to imagine he just banged out the song with the piano pointed in her direction and maintaining intense eye contact.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        That’s exactly how it looked in my head, too.

        This story is magnificent, and I admire the restraint in not telling her friend that she WAS the compliment-wielding drunk girl.

            1. Caliente*

              Pony!! Oh how I love that song for the imagery? Beat? Because my friend had a bachelorette where we learned to striptease to it? Fun times!

            2. My Dear Wormwood*

              Once again, I snorted my drink up my nose while reading AAM. Will I never learn?

              Pony at a work function…I would die.

              1. Elizabeth Proctor*

                I’ve shared this story on AAM before but here it goes again. At work we were doing some ice breaker where we had to pick our theme song. I am terrible at those things and my husband is really into music so I texted him to ask. What do you think he said? Yup. Pony. And my colleagues did know the song. Mort-i-fied. (My husband wasn’t actually making a joke about our sex life, he isn’t a big lyrics person so he probably didn’t even know the message! I don’t really know why he picked it…)

              2. Donkey Hotey*

                Sometimes people just don’t get it with lyrics.
                I remember having the conversation, “Ix-nay on the Uckyoulikeananimal-fay.”

        1. SusanIvanova*

          “Somebody I Used To Know”, minus the bridge solo where the woman makes it clear why he deserved to be dumped.

        2. Old Admin*

          “Whistle While You Work” by Flo Rida :-D
          (While working in Germany, a woman was singing this song – with the full, English, NSFW lyrics! – in the office!! When I gently told her about the inappropriate content of the song, she shouted “I DON’T CARE!!”, huffed off, and refused to speak to me. Talk about clueless.)

    2. Susie*

      HE PLAYED “YOU’RE SO VAIN.” Omg it’s too perfect. This story has made my entire week. I love and appreciate you all.

      1. Angwyshaunce*

        There’s so much irony in a guy like this playing “You’re So Vain” while interrupting a party while trying impress someone.

        Dude, *you’re* the antagonist from that song.

        I can only hope he was wearing his apricot scarlet.

      2. knitcrazybooknut*

        You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Jack Klugman and Tony Randall’s version of this song. I’m not kidding. “The Odd Couple Sings”. It’s on youtube.

    3. CurlyCol*

      A billion years ago, I went to see a guy I met in line at Target when he played at a bar in my town (just outside of Boston). Not only was he grumpy that the bar didn’t turn off the (muted) Sox game, he securely sang Howie Day’s “Collide” AT me. Twice.

      I’ve had that song banned from my office Sonos.

    1. Happy Lurker*

      What an excellent story to read at the end of crazy day! No wonder it is Allisons favorite.

  2. voluptuousfire*

    That reminds me of this guy in England who had sat in the park and played horrible piano, vowing he’d only stop when his ex-girlfriend would get back together with him. He only stopped when someone punched him in the head.

    1. Uldi*

      I remember that story! I was immensely disappointed in a great many acquaintances who thought it was romantic instead of ultra-creepy. Didn’t she even ask him to stop and he refused?

      1. Lilo*

        After a 4 month relationship too (not that it wouldn’t be creepy otherwise but that kind of stunt after such a short time dating makes it even weirder).

        1. awkwardEx*

          I hadn’t heard this story and got briefly worried it had been my ex and I hadn’t heard about it – but thankfully it’s not!

    2. nnn*

      In a park?

      Did he bring his own piano? Was there a piano in the park already? (If it weren’t a maintenance nightmare, I’d say all parks should have pianos!)

      1. Lime green Pacer*

        My city has a few “outdoor pianos” at various locations during the warm months. I’m sure it’s not unique.

    3. TootsNYC*

      From the story: “I know people in my situation will send flowers or text or write letters but that only ever seems to make things worse.”

    4. Rebecca1*

      I used to live near that park. There was a very active traditional Morris Dancing troupe that met there. I wonder how their music sounded with the piano in the background.

        1. Magenta*

          The Stick and Bucket Dance is classed as sexual morrisment and thus illegal with women present!
          Anyway it is banned, poor Mr Thrupp is still walking with a limp!

    5. 'Tis Me*

      I hadn’t heard what made him stop but did read a lovely synopsis explaining why framing an entitled, whingy man trying to embarrass his ex into taking him back as a romantic heartfelt gesture of true love is messed up. It might have compared it to “He was a great guy and everybody loved him. I can’t believe he snapped and killed his wife and two kids!”

      I think my friends list was pretty much in universal agreement that piano creep was a Nice Guy rather than a desperate romantic making a heartfelt gesture he hoped his ex would appreciate so much she would reconsider…

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        And even though I had already read it, I was happy to read it again. I’m willing to read it the way she is willing to accept another drink.

    1. What The Fork Is A Chidi*

      That was a weird fella but hey, you got a great story out of that, OP! Lol. Amazing

      1. What The Fork Is A Chidi*

        Oops, my last message wasn’t supposed to be a reply. Don’t know how I did that

      1. Torgo*

        No, the lead has to be Charming Hashtag Relationship Goals Drunk Woman. Alison Brie or Gillian Jacobs. Or Alia Shawkat!

      1. Gidget*

        Yes. Rescued from the bad date to school xmas party by new romance partner! Including a trip to Taco Bell

        1. wittyrepartee*

          No! The department head and his wife have a son her age who drops off her purse after this date happens.

          1. TootsNYC*


            But there needs to be a scene where she’s drunk and effusively nice to him, and he’s bemused and thinks it’s cute and wonders if it means she’s like that sober.

            And maybe she’s a little sharper sober, but underneath it all is this warm appreciation for everybody.

      2. MissM*

        Pitch it to the Hallmark channel. The plots of their Christmas movies are about this wacky but we’d have to add the happy ending.

          1. Leslie Knope*

            As long as he brings the one-armed man – “And that’s why you don’t give the lady a mudslide…”

  3. 3DogNight*

    OMG! What a terrific story out of an amazingly bad night! And, ditto to Non-Practicing JD* and TypityTypeType*, please be a writer!

  4. Kyrielle*

    This is awesome, and very well written, and I had to work hard not to fall over laughing (because my coworkers would probably notice that).

    The last two sentences, while they would be nothing without the story which preceded them, are GOLD.

    1. Zidy*

      I failed at keeping my laughter stifled and ended up sharing the entire story to my team. It was glorious and at at every point they were going “Oh no…” and I kept saying “Oh, it gets better!” until they were all laughing at the end.

    1. Randomity*

      In my head, the sequel is that in a couple of years, the second woman who this happened to turns up and they drink-fight about which of them is the legend. Then make up in drunken “it was you! No it was you!” style.

      1. Mints*

        I am this kind of drunk and we would never fight. We would become BFFs and gush compliments back and forth

      2. SusanIvanova*

        And it turns out to have been the same guy both times, so they bond over having dodged the same bullet.

  5. AKchic*

    This story is a thing of beauty. I wonder if he’s still a teacher there? And do they use that story as a cautionary tale to the new staffers to avoid dating him?

    1. Clorinda*

      Good news: not one of them would ever set him up with a daughter/sister/friend after that performance.

      1. NicoleT*

        I really want the happy ending to be one of the nice ladies fixing her up with their nice son and they get married and have babies and this becomes the story of how they met (sort of).

        1. AKchic*

          Plot Twist: He becomes her future children’s elementary school teacher and makes the Back to School Social Event awkward af.

        2. Meg Murry*

          Or maybe she gets asked out by the coat check guy, bartender or one of the other people working at the dinner – that would be a good meet-cute.

          Or she’s actually gay or bi and only agreed to go to this dinner with the guy as a friend, and winds up hitting it off with one of the female teachers/staff at the party. Then the relationship works out and she is stuck running into this guy at all future holiday school parties, etc.

  6. PersistentCat*


    I love this story with all my heart. and such second hand awkwardness. a date that was a “surprise!” date with a guy that just. fails more than most people do at social cues…

    (the crafting of this was also A+, good job, what a roller coaster)

  7. Budgie Buddy*

    This is like the ending to watership down when the characters hear their own story being retold as a legend of the entire people.

    1. AKchic*

      I imagined the ending much like in Firefly where the entire crew became speechless in the bar when Jayne’s Song started playing in the Mudder work town. Simon’s entire demeanor is the OP’s as she feigned complete ignorance of it being her own story.

    2. Salymander*

      This is the legend of our people. The AAM people.

      So hilarious and well written. I was crying and wheezing, trying to avoid waking the entire household. My cat was not amused.

    1. My Dear Wormwood*

      As soon as she got to the ‘performed a magic trick at the door” part, I imagined myself in her shoes, weighing it up: do I close the door in his face, or do I go for the sake of a chance at the greatest bad date story ever?

  8. Cringing 24/7*

    This is the most amazing story I’ve literally ever heard and I wish I could completely forget it just to get the novelty of reading it anew a million more times.

  9. deeshyone*

    This is my favourite:
    I told them they were “hashtag relationship goals” and made an actual hashtag with my fingers.
    Legit snorted outloud at my desk.

    1. Campfire Raccoon*

      I’ve been laughing at this all day. I imagine she threw them up like gang signs, then peered through the middle with one bleary, unfocused, reddened eye.

      Then she burped Taco Bell and gave them a hug.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        I don’t care – in my mind this DID happen and it’ll be hard to argue me out of it. Because it’s perfect.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I worked with a woman that actually would call out “hashtag (whatever)” with the hand gesture while stone-cold sober, so I can only imagine what it would look like from a friendly drunk stranger. I imagine her hands not being lined up quite right and looking more like she’s giving double peace signs to the nice couple.

  10. Phony Genius*

    Would somebody be willing to say that they’re the other one of her to put the writer at ease and know that there are two of her? (I can’t. I’m not a her.)

  11. Engineer Girl*

    Oh my.

    Another person that thinks gimmicks outperform real qualifications.

    They are always on the never again list!

        1. Mists.of.missfortune*

          I was imagining Rachel Brosnahan, although it took me a minute to figure out where I’d pulled the face from, because I haven’t seen Marvelous Mrs Maisel yet

    1. Clorinda*

      First two fingers of each hand, lay finger-pairs over each other at right angles.
      I know this because I am the aggressively not-cool mom.

    2. BradC*

      Search the internet for “hashtag fingers gif”, you should get the idea. The double-tap as you say each syllable is not optional :)

    3. My Dear Wormwood*

      All the replies to this are hilarious, because they are all describing the Auslan sign for sex.

  12. Jean (just Jean)*

    If there’s any justice, they each–separately–found happiness, however they each define it.
    Thank goodness for the teacher and her husband who drove our narrator home.

    1. 'Tis Me*

      I was going to say, could you imagine this couple watching this all unfold from a distance and realising that this young woman was reasonably drunk and most likely relying on this guy, evidently happy to get *this* almost-aggressive-in-his-passive-aggressiveness in front of his boss and all of his coworkers, to get safely home and just agreeing that they needed to step in (and I assume the boss having a serious talk with the piano man on the next working day)?

      If the coworkers at her table knew the couple well, I’d be a bit shocked if one of them hadn’t found a discreet way to clue them in to the poor woman only discovering she was on a date when she got there, and the guy’s evident expectation that she would spend the night staring at him agog, stars in his eyes, whilst he performed mediocre trick after mediocre trick, ignored her simple requests (“I know she said she wanted white wine, but I know women prefer mudslides because chocolate! So rather than get her a glass of wine now and let her know they have them here if she wants one in a bit, I’ll get her what I think she wants instead”), her mortification, etc.

    1. datamuse*

      You know, it just occurred to me that this story would make a perfect 1980s-era comedy. That clinches it.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      LOL, rude. I recall drinking a bad pre-mixed bottle of mudslide on my ex girlfriends porch many years ago.

      Sure, we were 22 but it wasn’t 1985 :P

    3. Filosofickle*

      Oof, my 21st birthday…started with a mudslide followed by various drinks…including a shot my friend invented called the Jack Frost…which was Rumplemintz and Jack Daniels. Oh I’ve never been so sick. In hindsight I recognize that sugar is the enemy and the mudslide started me off badly.

      And, lol, I had a group prom dinner at Bobby McGees not long after 1985. Bathtub salad bar!

    4. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      Mudslides and Amaretto sours seemed Very Fun and Tasty when I was 22. Now I can have none sips of those beverages before they give me a headache.

    5. Dust Bunny*

      I drank one in 2001. But I drank it alongside broccoli-cheese soup.

      It’s a combination I do not recommend.

    6. 'Tis Me*

      I drank them as a teenager occasionally in the early 00-ies (my sister is 8 years younger than me and tells me that they cracked down a lot on underage drinking/not IDing people in our hometown between our respective youths).

    7. Quill*

      I had one in 2012 in guatemala, because I refused to translate a drink order of a “sex on the beach” into spanish, because no, I am not fluent enough to pull that off.

  13. AnotherAlison*

    If my HS boyfriend were a teacher, I’d be convinced this was him. I heard that he filled a room with balloons for the college girlfriend, she had to pop them, and one had an engagement ring inside. . .she said no.

    1. Kelly L.*

      One of my old ones would have done the piano thing, but thankfully, I don’t think he knew any stage magic.

    2. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      A friend of a friend got proposed to immediately after having her purse stolen. Her boyfriend of six months, before calling the police, helping her cancel her credit cards, anything, just yelled “I know what will make you feel better!” and busted out a ring.
      She also said no.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        When I was 16, my then-22 year old boyfriend dropped down on one knee in front of a random pub.

        “What are you doing?”
        “I’m not proposing to you -”
        “Well then, get up!”
        “You’re way too young for us to get engaged. But if we’re still together in 6 years will you consider getting engaged to me?”

        Thinking “If we are still together in 6 years will the thought cross my mind on occasion? This seems likely…” I said yes.

        And that is how I accidentally got engaged, aged 16, to somebody I had only been seeing a few months. I dumped him a few months later. (Relationship was legal, but he got way too much enjoyment out of the fact he was dating a 16 year old schoolgirl.)

    3. AnotherAlison*

      I remembered the best personal story for this guy. . .

      I met someone else after HS graduation and broke up with him. He wouldn’t accept it, and when I would no longer answer his calls, he showed up at my parents’ house and thrust $20 at me to go on a date with NewGuy, and when I saw that NewGuy was not as good as him, I would go back to him. He also sent me flowers at work to win me back.

      I don’t remember if I kept his $20, but I have now been married to NewGuy for 21 years.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        So this sort of happened with me too. The guy I had dated for most of college dumped me a week after proposing (he claimed to have realized this was growing up too fast – we were 22). A year later, two nights before my first date with my new guy, ex showed up at the place I was working to “win” me back by recreating the Maverick singing bar scene from Top Gun……in front of all my co-workers………I had lost that lovin’ feeling, but didn’t want to bring it back (I wanted the floor to open and swallow me up right there).

        No it didn’t change my mind, and New Guy and I will be married 13 years (in 11 days from now).

  14. Czhorat*

    Am I alone in wanting to know what sort of magic tricks he was doing?

    That’s going to bother me all day.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        I’m not on caffiene at the moment, so i’ve just snort-laughed fruit juice in the vicinity of my keyboard – thank you!

    1. Farrah Sahara*

      Me too!

      Were they card tricks? Did he pull out a nickel from behind her ear? Did he shred a paper napkin and somehow put it back together?

      So many questions!

      1. ainnnymouse*

        I did too although there were no Guns n Roses references or an exploding yacht. I wonder if her date played “The Final Countdown” on the piano?

      2. Eirene*

        My first thought was, “I bet his tricks — nay, his illusions — were just various accidentally-suffocated doves.”

    2. Rob aka Mediancat*

      “For my first trick, I’m going to saw someone in half . . . wait! Where are you going?”

  15. Amber Rose*

    I mean, better a nice drunk than like, an angry or dramatic drunk, right? :D

    This is amazing and I would party with you any day. But not that guy. He’s a loser.

    1. Lucy Pointycat*

      PLEASE PLEASE can it be that there were two of them, that they met each other in Taco Bell to have a knock down fight about which of them were the best drunken nice person and then they fell in love, got married, and their wedding photos featured many hashtag relationship goals moments.

      And they hired the magic tricks schoolteacher to play the piano at the reception while the guests bought mudslides at him to thank him for bringing the happy couple together ❤️

  16. Stormfeather*

    When I read the request for the holiday stories saying that it was everyone’s job to top the old ones I was like “good luck with that.” Well, we may have a winner.

  17. your favorite person*

    That last bit about her friend gave me chills! What a great story. This wins. but also… I would confess! What a great thing to be remembered as the friendly drunk woman on a horribly embarrassing first date!

  18. revueller*

    You made a tremendous night out of an outrageously bad date. What an absolute bore! Beautiful story, thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  19. Needs More Cookies*

    The department chair brought you home herself rather than leave you alone, drunk, with that guy. Good stuff.

    1. CindyC*

      Yes! Did they even know her adress before saying that she lived on their way home? They are such good people.

        1. MayLou*

          In that situation, if I were the person with the car, her apartment would have been on my way home even if she lived on the moon. Geography is trivial details in this sort of thing.

    2. Sara without an H*

      Yeah, I noticed that, too. It’s a cute story, but I have to wonder if the department chair offered the LW a ride home for a very good reason.???\>

      1. Ama*

        I kind of assumed it was high school teachers (due to the “department chair” – usually that signals secondary school) and they were used to spotting teenagers who were both drunk and/or in an awkward romantic situation who might need some intervention.

  20. CM*

    I saw this one but missed the coda! I must have been laughing too hard to read the last paragraph about how this story became a school legend. Bravo, July.

  21. Jedi Squirrel*

    I just want this entire thing on a t-shirt.

    I almost feel like printing out copies to give to all my friends in lieu of a Christmas card.

  22. Yep, me again*

    I don’t know why but I was kinda looking for a Hallmark holiday moment when I sat down to read this, but blitz out of your skull/bad date memories is a close second.


  23. Special Specialist*

    I would pay money to watch this as a movie! I think Anna Kendrick would do good as the drunk girl, not sure who’d I get to play the magician. It’d either be some gorgeous hunk like Jon Hamm or some awkward weirdo like Thomas Middleditch.

    1. Alli525*

      This is absolutely, 100%, a 25-year-old Michael Scott, if Michael Scott were a real person and had gone into teaching instead of paper sales.

    2. san junipero*

      Chris Pine. This has Chris Pine written all over it. They’d basically be reprising Cinderella and The Prince.

      1. Crazy Before All The Cats*

        I just realized that in my head he was Adam Driver, in full Kylo-Ren sulk mode…

  24. Stacy Sloan Smith*

    This is also how I am when I drink, I feel like I’m being charming and lovable but actually just lose the ability to read a room :P

  25. Peaches*

    A few years later, a friend was telling me about a legendary party her school hosted before she got a job there. A girl nobody knew got plastered and told everyone she loved and appreciated them while her boyfriend played the piano at her and drowned out the Christmas music. I did not reveal my identity. Maybe there’re two of us? I hope there’re two of us.

    This literally killed me!

  26. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    This is amazing. You should definitely tell this story to your grandchildren, just not your joint grandchildren with The Magic Piano Man.

    1. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      I can totally see the LW saying that and her sweeping arm gesture taking out the card trick her date was performing next to her.
      Cue additional FEELSPIANO.

  27. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    OP, I’m sure there are two of you, maybe more. I like to think the Magic Man brings a new unsuspecting date each year for the party, and each year it goes about the same, a la Groundhog Day. It’s now a holiday tradition at the school.

    1. Third or Nothing!*

      Also just sent it to my best friend and will probably make my husband read it tonight. OP, can we be friends? You’re my kind of people.

  28. Captain S*

    My favorite part of this story is that they took you to taco bell. #nicestrangergoals

    My second favorite part of this story is the rest of it; it’s glorious.

    1. Triumphant Fox*

      I like to think that my husband and I would take that stranger to Taco Bell. Those are the kinds of people I want to see in the world.

  29. MsMichelle*

    This was brilliant, from start to finish.

    And a big Gold Star to the dept chair and his wife for noticing that things could potentially go down hill, and offering to take you home. I don’t think bosses generally do that for a “these two aren’t really clicking” kind of bad date, so they saw something was off about this guy, and bravo to them for doing something about it.

    1. SaraV*

      Yes, blessings to the department chair and his wife in helping the OP bail out of the situation. They the real MVPs.

      This story is absolute awkward perfection.

    2. TootsNYC*

      or they saw that she was really drunk and thought it might be hard for her to advocate for herself.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Or that she was drunk, and he’d been assuming he knew better than her what she wanted (mudslide instead of wine) since the moment they arrived, and that he was upset and angry. Being drunk isn’t necessarily an issue, if you’re with safe people. Being drunk with somebody who tries to spark a magical relationship by ignoring your clear request when you’re both stone-cold sober and in a good mood, who is willing to get close to aggressive in their passive aggressiveness in public in front of his colleagues and boss, and having them in charge of the vehicle you need to get home safely? Not so great. Your alternative options of getting home become limited when you’re in an unfamiliar area, cabs might not let you in because drunk, you may not have budgeted for one because of course your friend would be taking you home and you don’t know where the cash points are, you don’t necessarily know what bus you need/where the non-skeevy well lit bus stop with other non-skeevy people around are… Also, diving out a moving vehicle when it becomes clear your “friend” isn’t planning on taking you home may not be safe either. Or possible, if he can remotely lock your door. And if this was before everybody had smartphones/any phone etc…

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I thought that the boss and wife were kind of use to this sort of thing happening with this dude and this was their go-to plan for how to handle it. I’d like to think that something happened next at work that was, uh, not a shining moment for him.
      The fact that OP was so nice and so likable probably tipped the scales in her favor very, very quickly.

    4. Katrinka*

      The fact that the tablemates saw what’s up and circled the wagons to keep an eye on the OP, a stranger, is just great.

  30. Hedgehug*

    I absolutely love how everyone at OP’s table were perceptive enough to completely get how ridiculous and embarrassing this was and gave her all of their drink tickets to help her get through AND to go get the wine she originally asked for, lmao.
    OP you at least got a hell of a good story out of it. The real lesson is the drinking pals we made along the way…

  31. Anya the Demon*

    Omg. This is one of my favorite stories of all time. I’m dying to know if that guy lasted in that job!

  32. theelephantintheroom*

    This is the best Christmas party story AND bad date story I’ve ever read. That guy hit so many asshole red flags, but what a marvelous story. I wonder how he got on with his coworkers after this. I would be too embarrassed to ever return to work if I had behaved this way.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      The part where his department chair was clearly on to him got me really wondering about the rest of his career at that place.

  33. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    OP, you are the woman every one of us other women needs in our lives. I loved the support you showed to allll of your friend(?)’s coworkers. If my work had a party, I’d ask if I could bring you as a platonic +1, because literally everyone in my office can use this kind of support and (short-term) companionship. But we don’t. Like, I am seriously, seriously in awe. There are many things that I’ve done and been known to do while drunk off my arse, but telling people I’ve just met that I love and appreciate them and that they are, hashtag, relationship goals, are not on that list and they should be. The only badass thing that you did that I can maybe possibly see my drunk self doing was fighting that guy for the tip that he tried to take away from the coat check people. (One of the jobs I had in college was working coat check, btw. The 21yo me appreciates this gesture very much!)

    PS. This guy was teaching kids? What? how? he does not sound like much of a role model.

    1. Jennifer*

      That last line – I was wondering about that myself. Was he really a teacher? I really hope he wasn’t. I can’t imagine how he would handle a room full of misbehaving kids if he couldn’t handle one mild rejection on a first “date.”

      1. Lissa*

        On the other hand I am constantly amazed how someone can be fantastic in one aspect of their life and an absolutely mess in another! It sounds like OP and this guy were friends before this, so he at least had some redeeming qualities up to that point.
        (Kinda like how someone can be say a brilliant neurosurgeon but completely unintelligent in other ways…)

        1. Crazy Before All The Cats*

          That’s one of the weirdest parts: The “date” aspect may have been a blindside, but it wasn’t actually a blind date. They were already casual friends enough for her to be happy helping this guy out as a buffer at his office party.

          How much extra weird must this kind of WTF trippy bad date experience be when you thought you already knew this guy?

  34. Jennifer*

    “You’re So Vain” will be in my head all night now. And I can’t stop laughing. I’m amazed by how long some people can hide their insanity.

  35. Anonymous Coward*

    You know, part of me doubts the veracity of this story, since it is so perfect, but I really don’t care. The last paragraph, in particular, is truly a work of genius.

    1. highschoollibrarian*

      I enjoyed it as well but also have my doubts. Working in a public school, I can tell you unless this was thrown by a parent committee, there is no chance the school used funds to throw a party. It is actually illegal to use governments to feed employees. Even if we have an all day training in a place with no fridge and no restaurants nearby, they will not provide food.

      1. Door Guy*

        My wife worked part time in the cafeteria of our local public school when we were first together, and that year they put us all on chartered buses up to the casino, gave everyone some fun money, and had a veritable feast of a spread up in a private hall. This was a school in a smaller town (about 150 kids per grade) I can believe country club for a larger school.

  36. DinoGirl*

    My favorite parts are that the strangers recognized how bad this was and helped, with drinks, chit chat, and a ride home!

  37. Shelley McKibbon*

    The only way this story could be improved upon is of the date got murdered, the OP was suspected, and her new middle aged girlfriend got together to solve the mystery and clear her name. Failing that, this is still the gr ew ayest story ever.

  38. Sockit2me*

    Ick. This guy sounds like a “nice guy”/mrm/incel who’s going to murder a bunch of women at work some day. It kinda takes away from the cute ending.

    1. Perbie*

      He certainly has ignoring actual date and pursuing imaginary date down; not quite pua/incel territory i think since there seemed to be no real “negging”, complaining about women in general, etc

  39. Matilda Jefferies*

    Crying. Actual tears. Thank you so much, OP – first for doing all that, and second for sharing it with us!

    1. Laowai Gaijin*

      It’s the ridiculousness of it all. The guy was a creep, but his creepiness manifested in such weird ways–magic tricks, piano, ordering her the mudslide–that it’s more laughable than scary. Everybody buying her drinks out of sympathy while she gets plastered and compliments them is both ridiculous and oddly cute. I mean, everyone has a different sense of humor, but I think what people are responding to is a) how over-the-top the situation was, and b) the fact that it never got dangerous. She even had a nice, #relationshipgoals, couple to take her home, effectively doing an end run around Piano Man. Via Taco Bell.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I can see what you are saying, LG and thanks for that, because my first reaction was OH NO. Like Baby Yoda, I didn’t see it as that funny. If it was just a story about a dude acting poorly I probably would laugh but because OP was in the middle of this, I really couldn’t bring myself to laugh too much. I just felt so bad for OP. I think one’s own life experiences come into play when determining what is funny and what is awful and determining when something is awful and funny at the same time. I make jokes about falling off a motorcycle at a fast speed. Outcomes matter, we were fine.. after a bit. OP landed okay in this story, in spite of a really sucky situation. OP has a quiet sense of self-confidence that is unusual and admirable. I’d like to congratulate you, OP, for pulling yourself through this and for finding a way to laugh over it. I think you are a neat person, probably most people here would enjoy meeting you.

        1. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

          I can see this story being a little triggering for those of us who have been in uncomfortable situations with super cringeworthy guys.

          1. Crazy Before All The Cats*

            Largely due to the instant support she got from everyone around her: No worries of “Is it just me? What will other people think? What do I do?” No, everyone in the vicinity could clearly see just how bad the date was, who the problem was, and rallied around the OP in sympathy as it was happening. The principal and husband were also clear on the basics of the situation and offered her a handy (and safe) out.

            That, for me at least, negated any real creepy or overly-cringey aspects to it. When she didn’t respond as expected, he pouted with all the grace, subtlety, and threat of a toddler; and complete strangers instantly sided & sympathized with her against the ludicrous behavior of a man they presumably worked with regularly.

            1. Laowai Gaijin*

              Exactly. If not for the support, it could easily have gotten scary, but the OP is obviously not traumatized and sees the humor in it. I’ll bet she gets a lot of mileage out of this story at parties.

  40. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

    Ack! Because it was titled “the best…”, I thought we were going to get some romcom falling in love type of scenario! What a disaster!

    1. My Dear Wormwood*

      Oh man, I immediately expected it to be an epically bad date story (of the funniest-worst type, not the I-was-afraid-for-my-life type.) It’s a good thing I’m happy being single.

      1. StellaBella*

        Man, me too. This story did have me laughing as she is a good writer but the creep factor just squicked me out a ton.

  41. Three owls in a trench coat*

    This was a wonderful read, thank you OP! The story I didn’t know I needed today.

    The guy sounded sweet and sincere if a bit awkward with all the “magical” stuff. And then I got to the part about him playing the piano and I didn’t know whether to laugh or die from secondhand embarrassment.

    At least it sounds like you had a good time drinking and listening to the bad date stories. If you’re still single and looking, here’s a toast to no more bad dates.

  42. anonymous 5*

    This story is amazing. I didn’t think anything could improve it, except the images that I now have dancing through my head from everyone’s fanfic/movie adaptation ideas! (though I also 100% agree that the guy actually sounds like he veers into creep territory, and that you definitely dodged a bullet)

  43. First Star on the Right*

    This. Is. Amazing. And made me laugh so hard my mom came to see if I was ok. Then she couldn’t stop laughing and made me promise to send this to her and asked me to write a comment telling you that you have a way with words- and you definitely do!

  44. Tiny Scot*

    I also hope there are two of you, then in years to come you can meet up, trade drunken stories and become Best Friends. You sound like an absolute delight and the world needs more of you!

  45. 'Tis Me*

    If I were you I would have been beet-red and it would have been SO OBVIOUS that I was “the drunk girl” – but I would also have wanted to clarify the “actually on a first date you didn’t realise was a date until you got there” thing with her, because please, no – standards!

  46. LKW*

    The story was delicious through and through but that ending was just …. (chef’s kiss).


  47. Adlib*

    A girl nobody knew got plastered and told everyone she loved and appreciated them while her boyfriend played the piano at her and drowned out the Christmas music.

    This killed! I love the recounting of this story from her friend’s perspective! This whole thing was so much fun to read.

  48. Special Agent Michael Scarn*

    OMG the couple that drove her home took her to Taco Bell, too?! That’s #designateddrivergoals

  49. yala*

    My new favorite Christmas story. It just keeps giving!

    (I just love that everyone was so nice, like they Saw What Was Up, and were There For You. And also with booze.)

  50. Quill*

    There are not two of you, but Oh My God.

    “I told them they were “hashtag relationship goals” and made an actual hashtag with my fingers.”


  51. SeluciaMD*

    This absolutely made my Friday. Think I’m gonna call it, and head home on a high note. This story is a Christmas gift unto itself! LOL.

  52. Vemasi*

    You remind me of Georgia from My Favorite Murder by calling them beautiful angels. You sound like the most charming drunk, I bet every female teacher at that table loved and supported you in that moment. If we were friends, I’d encourage you to not be ashamed and to claim the crown of Legendary Christmas Partygoer!

  53. thakkali*

    > I told them they were “hashtag relationship goals” and made an actual hashtag with my fingers.

    My favorite line! Why have I never done this? #fingerhashtag4ever

  54. Beancounter*

    Alison, please make a “Best of AAM” tag to add to this and other glorious and jaw-dropping posts. Please. :) I want to print this out and file it away for reference later!

  55. Serin*

    It’s been noted that people who say, “I’m just a blunt person. I just tell it like it is” are never bluntly saying anything *nice* … except the OP, whose reaction to lowered inhibitions was to tell people they’re beautiful angels shaping tomorrow’s great minds!

    1. Rainy*

      I am also the happy “I love everyone” kind of effusive drunk, and it’s so nice to see I’m not the only one.

  56. Other Duties as Assigned*

    This ranks up there with the radio segment “Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris.
    Thanks for sharing this and providing everyone with some holiday cheer.

  57. What the What*

    From the title of the post, I had the mistaken impression it was going to be a love match and had it in my head the whole time. I kept thinking this guy is a wackadoodle—WHY would she end up with him?! So there was a happy ending after all.

  58. Rainy*

    I read this at my desk whispering to myself “Oh no…oooh nooo. Ooohhh nnnooo!” over and over again.

  59. Hannah Banana*

    I’ve just invited a single friend of mine to be my (platonic) plus one to my own fancy company Christmas party. He is also wonderfully friendly after a few drinks. I’m VERY tempted to send this to him and ask him if he likes magic tricks…

  60. Atalanta0jess*

    This is so adorable!

    And no, bringing the wrong drink wasn’t sweet. Listen, my dudes. Bringing the thing that is explicitly not what someone asked for? Not sweet. Boundary crossing. Not helpful. Not respectful. Never do it.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I’m 200% sure that OP’s “But he tried! That’s sweet! Right?” was pure sarcasm; seeing as she follows that up immediately with “it was becoming increasingly clear that this guy was Not for Me.” (The mudslide brought instead of wine, because I’m a girl and this is chocolate and I am supposed to love that, would’ve clued me in, too!)

  61. wondHRland*

    Someone needs to write this into a screen play or television script. I could see this as an episode of a “friends” type show!

  62. Rodrigo*

    Add one more comment to the “wow, you went out with GOB Bluth!” party.

    Should’ve asked for Sounds of Silence while he was on the piano.

  63. RB*

    There are probably enough bad date/Christmas party stories out there that it could be a genre of its own. I love that the two things dovetailed so perfectly in this story.

  64. Calliope*

    I also enjoy that it was his department head who offered to take her home; he couldn’t ignore *that* and disagree and insist on taking her home anyway (so I really appreciate that everyone had a great, helpful read on the situation).

  65. narya*

    Epic, man.

    Side note: if there is anyone out there reading this, please for the decency of humankind, if you are with someone who attempts to take back a tip you, or anyone, left for someone doing a service (no matter how garbage it may or may not have been), leave them. They will never be your person.

  66. So Not The Boss Of Me*

    Kudos to Department Chair and Husband for getting Effusively Drunk out of riding home with Magic Man. That’s women helping women, a Good Samaritan, random kindness–all the right stuff! They are my heroes.
    This hilarious story deserves a wider audience. Really, really wide.

  67. Agatha_31*

    “At this point, I was embarrassed to have come with this guy. My tablemates were embarrassed for me. One of them left and came back with the glass of wine I’d asked for initially. I drank it while the middle aged ladies at our table told me all about their various bad dates. More wine showed up. Then someone asked if I like martinis and brought a martini. Apparently none of them drank, and, as my date played “You’re So Vain” while staring mournfully at me, I drank my way through pretty much all their drink tickets.”

    …Peleton Girl? Is that you?!?

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