the best office holiday party date story of all time

A couple of years ago, someone shared what I consider to be the best holiday date story of all time, and it must be shared here again. Enjoy:

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.

{ 260 comments… read them below }

  1. Office Manager*

    I actually went to the archives and read this earlier in the month to get into the holiday spirit. So legendary.

    1. Rainy*

      I did too! It’s not Christmas without finger-hashtag-relationship-goals. If you haven’t read the Coulson/Hawkeye fic on Ao3 based on this, please do yourself a favour, as it is…oh god, so good.

        1. Rainy*

          It’s called “you’re where you should be all the time” by laurakaye, and I’ll put the direct link in a second response (because of the delay in link approval).

          1. Ghost of a Ghost*

            Oh my goodness, I just got done reading that fic and it was amazing! Someone needs to curate a rec list of fics based off the crazy stories on here!

          2. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

            OK, that was utterly brilliant – I’m so glad you shared that story. Both the original (true) story and the fanfic are extraordinarily well written. I am in awe.

          1. IndustriousLabRat*

            Thank you so much! I had been hunting for it without success, but I DID find (and read in its entirety) Memos of S.H.I.E.LD., which was rib-achingly funny.

            This retelling of the Christmas Holiday Party letter just made my season so much merrier!

            1. David*

              Ooh, what is Memos of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It sounds amazing just from the name, but I tried Googling it and the *only* result was this comment.

              1. Kicking-k*

                There’s twenty zillion of them on Pinterest. I think they’re also sometimes tagged #memosfromfury .

          2. Too Cheap to Pay for News*

            You…. I’m in shock. I’m a big fanfic fan, love my Star Trek and Harry Potter. I’ve just gotten into Shield and it never occurred to me that there could be Shield fanfic. Oh boy I’m going to have a Happy Christmas.

        1. Ms Ida*

          you should be to google archive of our own (AO3) and “you’re where you should be all the time” by laurakaye and get a link. I will be checking as soon as I get home:)

      1. I take tea*

        Yes, that fanfic is so lovely. I don’t even know the universe, but it doesn’t matter. I found another one as well, but this one is superior.

      2. Lore*

        I would just like to take a moment and bask in the fact that there is more AO3/AMA fan crossover than just me in this comment section.

      3. Virginia Plain*

        Came here to ensure the adorable fanfic was mentioned. I’ve never read any other fanfic tbh (and had to look up most of the characters mentioned) but I just loved this. Possibly owing to my harmless but significant crush on Jeremy Renner.

      4. Liza*

        Oh that is amazing, thank you for sharing it! And to think I almost didn’t read the comments here today.

    2. kittymommy*

      I like this one, Hanukah balls,, and the one that was something like her boss got drunk, naked, and froze her boobs to a pole.

      I may be a little fuzzy on that last one. When you put in “froze boobs to pole” in the search engine it gets kinda weird…

      1. Candi*

        Horizontal pole/railing. She was flashing the street below. The woman had just had a terrible breakup and had gone from rigidly teetotal to All The Drinks -never a good thing.

        It’s one of those where you do the horrified laugh instead of crying; it’s easy to feel so bad for her, even if she wasn’t a very nice person as described earlier in the post.

    3. Apricot*

      Right?? It’s a holiday tradition right up there with listening to Hanson’s “Snowed In” album, watching “A Christmas Story”, and baking some holiday cookies and then walking around the neighborhood eating them while appreciating everyone’s lights. It just isn’t Christmastime without *finger hashtag* relationship goals!

    4. I’m screaming inside too*

      Am I the only one who thinks this could have been a B story on The Big Bang Theory? I can totally see this as a disastrous date that Howard Wolowitz inflicts on an unsuspecting woman.

      1. Love the Hashtags*

        Oh my gosh! I thought about Wolowitz too when I was reading!! Can’t you see Howard doing his magic tricks and then strutting over to his keyboard while mooning eyes at his date?

    5. allathian*

      I definitely agree with Alison that this is the best holiday story ever. The last couple sentences make it really legendary for me.

    6. Momma Bear*

      “My memory is a bit fuzzy, for obvious, gin-based reasons.”

      I appreciate the OP sharing her pain. It’s a gem of a story.

  2. Jam Today*

    Ahhhh one of my all time favorites! “Played the piano at her” is such a great turn of phrase. #legend

      1. Violet Rose*

        “for obvious, gin-based reasons” in particular never fails to make me squawk with laughter. OP is an excellent writer!

      1. Virginia Plain*

        I am meeting friends later. I shall make it my mission to do at least one fingers-hashtag, in veneration of this legendary Yuletide chronicle.

    1. Pointy Stix*

      Came here to say the same thing, so I’ll just tag onto your comment! The writer has such a great way with words that it takes a fantastic story to legendary heights.

  3. Le Sigh*

    It never gets old. It’s mostly the part where he plays “You’re So Vain” at her, but making a hashtag with her fingers sealed it for me.

  4. Meep*

    If people thought she was his girlfriend, maybe they wanted to see her again to get her out? Either way, OP is a goddess among mortals.

    1. wittyrepartee*

      I think the people who were there called her his “date” and it morphed into girlfriend along the way.

  5. STG*

    Awww…I love fellow effusively nice drinkers. Get some drinks in me and I will make sure that you know you are loved and seen.

    Such a great story.

    1. Rainy*

      Yup, this is me as well. I kind of love it about myself, actually. It’s nice to know that when my inhibitions are lowered what I really want to do is tell people nice things about themselves and pet animals (who I also tell nice things about themselves).

    2. PepperVL*

      Me too! I got really drunk going out with some friends once and the verdict the next day was that they had all never felt so loved. Because that’s what I do when I get drunk.

    3. CatDancing*

      Y’all are just great! I would love to spend an evening out with you all, drinking wine, ordering appetizers, and telling each other how wonderful each one is.

      1. Opelemmejustsqueezebyyathere*

        This story kind of changed my life. I’ve always been more of a sour drunk, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what needed to change so that my uninhibited self is effusive and full of love. I’ve made a lot of progress! I would love to get a drink with you lovely, kind drunks and tell you how wonderful you are!

        1. Wandering*

          What a lovely compliment to the author – and wow to you, for choosing to change your life in that way. What a gift to yourself. <3

        2. Virginia Plain*

          Awwww it’s only quarter past ten in the morning here and I swear I’ve only had coffee but I am definitely sure you are a wonderful person!

  6. Seriously?*

    I truly love that all the other teachers took care of her and even made sure she got home safely.

    1. Popinki*

      It’s kind of heartwarming that everyone was just as full of cringe as the OP, except for Magic Piano Playing Man, who was oblivious enough to his (lack of) charm to ask her out again.

      1. Anonym*

        I do so hope that he’s learned more about dating and pulls this story out as a hilarious “can you believe I did this” story nowadays, too.

    2. MoreFriesPlz*

      I love that they took care of her partially by (consensually) getting her hammered. Like yes I’d like to time warp through this night/see it through rose colored wine goggles.

    3. Grace Poole*

      Feels like OP’s date was That Guy at work, and the teachers had no loyalty for their colleague and much sympathy/empathy for the OP

    4. Candi*

      Part of this story’s appeal is how everyone closed ranks to keep her safe. It’s how we want society to be.

  7. Just Another Manager*

    Rereading this every year is like getting to watch a beloved movie. You know how it ends, you can quote the movie by heart, and it just doesn’t feel like the holidays without it.

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      So, I heard that Netflix is turning the accidental grandma Thanksgiving invitation story into a movie, but really this is the one I want them to throw money at.

      1. Candi*

        The original post had so many wonderful ideas for how to turn it into a film. But it must have hashtag fingers!

      2. Turquoises*

        Oh wow, WE NEED THIS :D
        1. Terrible holiday party date; rescued by teachers
        2. Start hanging out with teachers (insert heart-warming fun and shenanigans)
        3. Meet-cute with one of their younger relatives
        4. Rom-com fun and shenanigans

        My favorite rom-coms are the ones with heart-warming intergenerational friendships, so this will clearly be perfect. Hashtag goals! Hashtag finger hashtag!

        1. Virginia Plain*

          I am interested in your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter!

          I’m thinking the younger relative could be the son/daughter of one of the teachers (or a stepson/daughter; possible side plot of rapprochement with step parent after misunderstanding, Discovering the True Meaning of Christmas?) who comes to give his parents a lift home. And lead character thinks they will have to go home to Distantville, Other State, but then there’s a twinkle of starlight and a faint sound of sleigh bells, and they open a letter offering them a dream job ™ nearby. And on their first day they go to the office canteen they nearly drop something but it is caught by….romantic interest, who works for the same company but in a different department and not in their management chain. Because this is an AAM production.

  8. Dust Bunny*

    If holiday rom-coms were anywhere near this epic I would actually watch them when my mother suggests them.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Same. I like chocolate, but if I’m drinking alcohol I prefer something with a bit more of a kick like a martini or some whiskey (not to mention sweet drinks just get you drunker quickly due to both the sugar and the fact that you can’t taste the alcohol so you tend to overdo it).

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Since it sounds like this was with dinner, I feel like it would be like having an alcoholic chocolate shake with dinner. And a shake with dinner is great when you’re a kid, but not so much for an adult.

          I’m glad she got her wine at last.

          1. The Smiling Pug*

            Even though I love chocolate shakes with and without alcohol, when I ask for wine, I would like wine.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              As do I, but I sort of have to mentally prepare myself for them. Like, I have to make sure whatever else I’m eating goes with them. Wine or a basic cocktail is a lot more versatile.

          2. a heather*

            Right? A shake is dessert (and a mudslide is definitely an adult shake.)

            It’s not like she was even being vague or anything, she literally told him what she wanted. If your date does that, LISTEN TO THEM and things will go much more smoothly. The bar is so, so low.

      2. Lance*

        As someone who’s never actually had a mudslide, how’s it compare to chocolate wine? ‘Cause I love chocolate, but can only have that in moderation ’cause it goes down so thick.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          It’s like melted ice cream with an alcohol burn. It’s really a commitment. I would think of it more as an alcoholic dessert than a drink. Plus, they tend to clash with whatever food you’re eating unless maybe it’s something that would also be good with a shake.

        2. Lady_Lessa*

          Chocolate wine, in my opinion, is good for one thing only. Topping vanilla ice cream. (I was introduced to this by one of my favorite monks.)

            1. Rum and Coke, please*

              I’ve had chocolate orange wine, made by a boutique winery on the northern coast of Oregon. It was not good.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            Hold up: I’ve heard of red wine hot cocoa but . . . I think I’ve seen chocolate wine but it was at Walgreen’s or something and I didn’t think it was literal.

            1. Candi*

              I once read that anywhere humanity goes, they find a way to make alcohol out of the local plantlife.

              I’d like to add, humanity is constantly on an adventure to find new ways to add chocolate to things.

              1. Hannah Lee*

                That makes me think of a book I saw today at the local bookstore, it was called “The Drunken Botanist” all about plants and their use in adult beverages. Looked like an interesting read. I took a quick look at the reviews just now, and I think my favorite review title was the one that read
                “Good informative book that makes you want to drink at any time of day.”
                … which I think I intuitively knew flipping through it in the store, and that might have been the reason why I didn’t go ahead and buy it LOL!

                1. Dust Bunny*

                  I may have bought that for my SIL, who is a botanist who took a bartending course (no idea why as I cannot picture her bartending, but whatever).

        3. Owler*

          A milkshake with alcohol. It’s a bit like the TGIFridays of drinks: fun and edgy in your 20s, but it loses its luster as you get older.

      3. Mannequin*

        Here’s the crazy thing:


        The ingredients for a classic mudslide are:
        Coffee liqueur
        Irish cream
        Heavy cream

        The “alcoholic milkshake” variety trades in the heavy cream for:
        vanilla ice cream and ice

        The only chocolate used is in the garnish.

  9. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Today I was reading a bored panda list of crazy giving birth stories. A baby was crowning while the woman was in the hospital elevator. She was upset. The nurse said, “this is nothing. A couple years ago, a woman gave birth on the lawn.”
    Yeah, same woman.
    My first thought was that “that woman from the wirst Christmas date ever story should tell her, hold my beer…I got HIRED there.”

  10. L in DC*

    This plus the interview with Cheap Ass Rolls coworker has made this a very happy holiday season indeed!

      1. Hlao-roo*

        It was posted on Wednesday under the title “a coworker of the cheap-ass rolls legend speaks out”

  11. Allornone*

    Always a classic. Thanks!

    I do have to add- If someone tells you their drink order, DO NOT GUESS THEIR DRINK ORDER. And certainly don’t base a choice on someone’s gender. I’m a woman. Yes, I like chocolate. You know what I like more? Bourbon. And gin. And if I’m not in the mood for a cocktail and say I want wine, then, well, I EFFING WANT WINE. Don’t presume to guess my desires, especially when I’ve explicitly stated them. And especially do not presume that you think you know what I want because of my gender. Holy crap.

    (This obviously goes beyond spirits and alcohol).

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      He’s the kind of guy who orders you a steak after you tell him you don’t eat meat. Or aggressively insists he is going to take you skydiving because you will just love it. Or keeps buying you Joni Mitchell albums after you have repeatedly told him she isn’t your jam.

      Yes, these are hyper specific examples, no, it’s not the same guy in each one.

      1. Cheap Ass Warm Gooey Burnt Banana Bread*

        Even when I *did* eat meat, I didn’t eat steak, because I am neurodivergent with sensory processing disorder and find the texture of beef repulsive. I would be furious with anyone who did this to me.

        1. Bilateralrope*

          I just find that there is almost always something on the menu that I’d prefer to the steak options.

      2. KimberlyR*

        He wouldn’t order her a steak, even if she wanted one. She’s female so she wants a salad, obviously!

        End sarcasm

    2. Librarian of SHIELD*

      It really just speaks to how this guy didn’t want to be on an *actual* date with OP. He wanted to be on the scripted romcom date he wrote in his head. He just didn’t know that the date he wrote is the one at the beginning of the romcom when the lead is on a date with the wrong person.

      1. Nanani*

        It’s insulting and a bit dehumanizing to be treated as an actor for a part you didn’t sign up to play instead of the actual person you are.

        People aren’t your casting department dude!

      2. Anonym*

        Exactly. He had a plan, he had a fantasy, it was detailed, he thought he’d solved for everything. He had not. That’s a bad approach to dates and relationships regardless of gender. Hope he’s done some good growing and learning since then!

      3. Candi*

        “He just didn’t know that the date he wrote is the one at the beginning of the romcom when the lead is on a date with the wrong person.”

        I laughed so hard at this. It fits, too.

    3. BabeRoe*

      Yes! I prefer beer. A guy I was dating at the time preferred wine. The server would always place the wine in front of me and the beer in front of him. I would always try to be as bold and noticeable as I switched them around.

    4. Lucy Skywalker*

      I know, right? Why do some people think that we mean A when we say B? If we wanted A, we would have said A!

    5. anonymous73*

      Someone told this dude it was still 1950 and women like you to order for them. The drink order was only the tip of the iceberg.

  12. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    Wasn’t there a commenter who popped up one of the times this was posted who worked at the school (I think AFTER the Party of Infamy) and had all of the dirt on how this story was a legend there? Or is my brain fried today from entering endless insurance enrollment forms?

    1. Gel Pen Destroyer*

      No, you’re definitely right – there was another person with a tie to the party or school in question who popped up at some point. Like you, I am vague on details, but I remember it as well.

          1. L.H. Puttgrass*

            That update is also fantastic. “There is something about me that makes people want to show me magic tricks.” What a strange superpower!

          2. Persephone Mulberry*

            Oh my word, I never saw that update. But dang if some of it wouldn’t make a *perfect* pre-credit “where are they now” scroll. #NetflixGetOnThis

    2. Candi*

      “is my brain fried today from entering endless insurance enrollment forms”

      is so nice to hear after the stories of human disaster pretending to be management at your previous place. May all your work days be as calm and lacking of hellmouthish excitement.

  13. LKW*

    This story is just the perfect combination of cringe and camaraderie. And the final note is just *chef’s kiss* absolute perfection.

  14. YesItIs*

    Re-reading this is more of a holiday tradition now with me than watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

  15. Yessica Haircut*

    I’ve read this so many times, and I still audibly gasped when he pulled her tip out of the tip jar.

    I will also confess I’m somewhat disappointed that the comments here (as of the time I’m posting) have zero bad holiday party date stories from the commentariat! Let’s hear ’em, people!

    1. Candi*

      The good ones might have already been shared on the most recent “share your funniest office holiday stories” -check Dec 2’s posts.

    2. thatjillgirl*

      I mean, nothing could ever top this one.

      I did once go on a date with my then-boyfriend just after Christmas. Upon exchanging gifts, he then broke up with me. Like, right after we opened the gifts. Which was premeditated. It was weird. But to be fair, we were teenagers.

    1. mlem*

      Do you know how to make an X shape with both index fingers?

      Do the same thing with your index-and-middle fingers, slightly separated. It vaguely resembles a (tilted) octothorpe. (I first saw it on “Dirty Jobs” when a guy joked that Mike Rowe was a #diva.)

  16. Adds*

    I didn’t know I was missing this in my life. This is fantastic!

    Once upon a time, I was on a dating site. One of the guys I matched with wanted our first date to be his work Christmas party. I still can’t wrap my head around why he thought that was a good idea. This story makes me very glad I declined that invitation.

    1. Candi*

      It was a good idea for him. Not for you.

      The dangling crystals on my little copper bird tree tell me that if you’d gone, you would have found out you had so many hobbies and family members you didn’t realize existed, and you worked at a job you had no actual interest in. Oh, and the coworkers were surprised that your hair was X color and not Y color. (Which would explain why the guy wanted you to dye your hair before the party.)

      (I have a little copper tree with little copper birds on it that’s normally used for hanging jewelry. I hung little crystal beads and gems on it to make a decoration.)

  17. PennylaneTX*

    I love how as soon as I saw Alison’s description, I thought “oh man, I hope it’s the piano one” AND IT WAS. So good.

  18. Plebeian Aristocracy*

    I find it interesting that none of the comments so far are from people saying some variation of, “Stop bringing this post up! It’s mean spirited to keep piling on this person.” To that person, I have to ask: how is this post any different? It’s still very much a meme of the community.

    1. Calamity Janine*

      i’m going to be a bit mean and assume that Alison found out how to do an IP block to keep some folks out of the comment section. and by some folks, i mean the suspiciously similar-sounding bouquet of objectors who end up with floral names by sheer coincidence, all admonishing us for being horrible bullies. said Mx Bouquet* was surely pretty upset nobody would take the cheap-ass rolls as a serious slight.

      however i am both cynical and petty.

      *pronounced ‘bucket’, naturally, in inverse to any Keeping Up Appearances reruns. something, something, cosmic balance and all that jazz,

      1. Candi*

        Alison’s slapped down sockpuppets before. And blocking by MAC address is usually effective -unlike IP, esp. v6, it’s based on the machine and can’t be changed. (Or something. I’m trying to review a bunch of stuff for finals.)

        I’m glad to see they’re not here. They didn’t seem to get that you cannot handle people by tiptoeing around them.

        Here, the coworkers gently but firmly put their foot down that wannabe boyfriend would not get his way, and they were backed up by those above them. That’s how you handle it, and is part of the deliciousness of the post -they kept OP safe.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        Also, you can see that Alison squashed a “but what if he’s autistic” post above.

        Mostly, it’s hard work on Alison’s part, spotting and blocking/deleting trolls, sock-puppets, spammers, the just plain rude, and all the other venomous fauna of the internet. She can delete individual posts with a notice (as above), delete stuff completely so later readers never see it, view the IP/MAC information of the posters (to find the sock puppets), filter for problematic content, and block individual users either temporarily or permanently.

      1. Candi*

        They’re referring to the coworker of cheap ass rolls (maybe-but-likely) post on Wednesday. There was a commentator there that complained about the piling on of CAR worker (understandable) but defended them in a way that read, to me, that everyone else should tiptoe around them (not okay).

        There were supposedly commentators backing them up, but none of the names were ones commonly seen, and they all read with a similar voice to me (which was kind of confusing).

      2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        I think they’re rebutting comments that have been made in the past and celebrating the fact that they’re not being made now!

      3. EventPlannerGal*

        “If only that thing that happened one time that I didn’t like would happen again! Then I would have a reason to get mad! But it hasn’t, so I don’t, so I’m going to make up imaginary scenarios and get mad about those instead.”

    2. Loulou*

      Uhhh…I mean, you addressed this post to a hypothetical person, so maybe you don’t want a real one to answer, but: this is a re-run of a letter submitted by a reader. It is not a letter from another person who thinks they attended the same party and wanted to add their own anecdote about OP’s date. And also, crucially, OP’s date never wrote in here and we have no reason to think he reads here!

      To be similar what you’re subtweeting, the situation would have to be: OP’s date writes in about this party, a commenter says “I think I recognize OP and I have a story about him!” and Alison decides to run a Q&A with that commenter. Hope this helps!

    3. ECHM*

      I wonder if some of the difference is that in the previous post, people were piling on the OP; in this one, they are piling on a person who is not the OP.

      1. Loulou*

        Yes, you put this much more succinctly than I did above! I can see how this post might feel mean-spirited to some, though I admit I got a kick out of it and enjoyed OP’s telling of it. But it’s clearly different, no matter where you stand on that.

    4. Valancy Snaith*

      Do you not understand the difference between enjoying a LW who is openly poking fun at themselves, and piling on an admittedly-jerkish LW by running an interview with someone who thinks they may have worked with the LW in question, adding random gossip about the LW for funsies? The similarity ends in that they are both interesting posts.

    1. Empress Matilda*

      Yep, it’s official. Christmas doesn’t start until Piano Guy starts playing You’re So Vain at his date.

      1. anonymous 5*

        HAHAHAHAHAHA I feel like the growing canon of commentary makes this whole thing even more legendary!

      2. Candi*

        “I will confront you by Wednesday”

        “Piano Guy”

        Multiple updates where bad bosses get smacked down or walked out on.

        It’s the holidays with bells on!

  19. Ange in Sydney*

    So good I read it twice and have been giggling away whilst waiting for my Covid booster shot this morning.

    1. Candi*

      Which will hopefully make the poke less painful, since you’ll be full of happy endorphins.

      Alison’s doing a public health service reposting this! /humor

    1. KWu*

      This comment is a reason not to always blindly follow “don’t read the comments.” I hadn’t see that story previously and I’m THRILLED with the concept that AAM stories are turned into fanfic!

      1. Lucy Skywalker*

        AAM is one of the few places where it’s safe to read the comments. Allison does a good job of weeding out the trolls and conspiracy theorists.

    2. Weisarom*

      That is a great read! I started reading this morning but decided to hold off until I could give it proper attention. Thanks for posting the link!

  20. RJ*

    This story needs to be a film told via split screen where it is a romantic comedy on the guy’s side and a date horror film on OP’s side. Also, I really want a mudslide now. With chocolate wine.

  21. CatCat*

    “I was driven home by way of Taco Bell by these very nice strangers.”

    I don’t know why, but the “by way of Taco Bell” detail just slays me! :-D :-D

  22. Erin*

    I remember reading this one and just losing it for all parties involved. I would loooove an update on how things have shaken out between these two!

    1. a heather*

      I hope she never saw him again. However, I want an update, and it should start with something like “Remember how I said I hoped there were two of us? Reader, there were not two of us.” And then tell us all the times she’s heard this story and how it absolutely confirmed it was her story.

        1. CoveredinBees*

          Oh, wow. Thanks for linking that.

          The Rush date sounds like…a lot.I am sympathetic to the fact that ill-fitting dentures can be very uncomfortable and make it tough to talk. You CANNOT, however, just pop them out mid-conversation OR place them on the table. All the more so that she would have no idea what was happening until they were sitting in front of her, possibly with food on them.

  23. Sebastian*

    Alison, thank you so much for posting this again. A few weeks ago I was digging through the archives trying to find it.

  24. Calamity Janine*

    as the comments discuss how many fanfiction stories have been spawned by this thing, i would like to once again reiterate

    for april fool’s day, we absolutely need some joke letters of “fictional characters write in to Ask A Manager for career advice”.

    i will straight-up write the worried stormtrooper’s letter with the title “One Of My Bosses Strangled The Other At Work – Is This Normal?”. i’ll do it, i will, sware on me mum,

    1. ecnaseener*

      That would be an awesome open thread! I recently saw Set It Up, and now I’m imagining the many, many letters those characters would write over the course of the story.

    2. Elenna*

      One of these days I may get around to writing Alison a Lizzie Bennet Diaries-based letter regarding founding a new start-up in the same field as your new significant other’s company, and how to deal with conflicts of interest.

    3. Calamity Janine*

      heck with it, i’ll do what i’m threatening to do RIGHT NOW. (will i add it to the ask a manager tag in ao3, maybe, maybe not.) (will my bum shoulder make me pay for this, absolutely.) (am i doing it anyway? also yes.)

      Dear Ask A Manager,

      I know that this is going to be an unusual question, but I could really use your help.

      I got in my current job thanks to them offering comprehensive training and benefits. It’s not the most glamorous thing to be a soldier, but I make do. The accommodations are pretty nice, we get housing as well as food and transport as part of our payment, and I’ve been able to succeed in my role to the point where I got a promotion to our new satellite office. This is a major success for our company. Our new hardware innovation – let’s call it the ‘Teapot Obliterator’ – has just completed its first real job, and it was a tremendous success that really is going to disrupt our market with its innovation! Plus it makes sure everyone knows we’re number one in the industry! I’m excited by my work and I get along with most of my coworkers just fine.

      The problem is this one guy. He doesn’t follow the strict dress code, which is annoying, but I can let that one go. It’s pretty easy to spot that HR gave him an exception due to some ADA stuff. I don’t know what disability he has, but you can hear his medical device making noise all. the. time. But that’s whatever, just pop in some headphones, you know? I don’t know what his specialty is, but apparently it’s something the CEO considers really integral to the entire business, even if I don’t think he’s really executive material. I’ve not really worked with him before this project. But the ‘Teapot Obliterator’ is a huge deal right now, and he’s been sent to oversee things. I’m not sure if he’s my boss’s boss, or what, because the chain of command is muddled, but he’s senior enough that when he says jump, I’m expected to ask how high. Usually I’ve written him off as a little eccentric and it hasn’t been a problem.

      But I JUST came from a meeting where this specialist STRANGLED MY BOSS. My direct boss that I report to regularly. He didn’t DIE, but the specialist had to be talked out of killing him by their mutual overboss. In the moment I was too shocked to do anything. This isn’t normal, right!? This is absolutely insane!! But every time I try to bring it up, my coworkers who have worked with this specialist for longer say it’s normal when you work with him!!!

      I got so upset that I went to HR. Not only did HR tell me it was normal, but they said that the specialist has every right to do it because of his religious beliefs!!! Apparently some hokey religion that’s not as good as my blaster by my side is protected by law, and this is a religious practice!! By telling him no, they’d be violating his right to freely adhere to his religion!! I was so shocked I asked about taking it above HR’s head – only to be told… our CEO is of the exact same religion, AND agrees with the specialist’s actions. Not only that, but the CEO has covered for this specialist before! WTF??

      I guess I pressed it too hard, because now I’ve been assigned cleaning duty. They’re not even giving me proper protective equipment. I just have to wear my regular uniform as I wade in to muck out the garbage compactors. It’s so gross, there’s DEFINITELY something living in there.

      My questions to you are… This isn’t normal, right?? Everyone around me is acting like I should have gotten used to this in training. Is this really how companies operate? I know my organization has a reputation for being ruthless, and that might have combined with a ‘too big to fail’ mentality that let a lot of this slide. But I didn’t think it was THIS bad!

      Should I take up my complaints with the higher levels of the c-suite anyway? Do you think anyone would listen, or would that just open me up to more retaliation? Or is my best bet to simply keep my head down, send out my resume, and try to leave as soon as possible? I know not working your 2 week notice is considered unprofessional, but when I leave, can I make my exit immediate? (I REALLY don’t want to run into this specialist in the hallway after I turn in my resignation. He’d totally notice – a lot of coworkers joke that he must be able to read minds – and he would make a huge deal out of it, with the CEO having his back every step of the way. You’ve probably guessed by now that this guy just loves to be dramatic.) How can I look for a job and move out for it on the sly when I’m staying in company accommodations, too? We all get provided company transportation, but it’s logged, so they’d know even if I went to interview in-person somewhere.

      There’s just SO many problems and I have NO idea what to do. Please help, Alison, you’re my only hope!

      A Trooper Just Trying To Weather The Storm

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        Get out before your workplace implodes (metaphorically speaking). Something this bananapants is always a sign of greater disfunction bubbling under the surface, and it sounds like this goes all the way to the top. Run. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 credits.

      2. GoryDetails*

        Love it! I do worry about the rank and file on those huge villainous lairs sometimes. For an entertaining – if often traumatic – look at the Death Star from the viewpoint of the folks who work there (willingly or not), check out the Star Wars novel DEATH STAR by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry.

    4. Candi*

      I always get stuck imaging one from a character in Office Space or 9 to 5.

      I also want to ask a genuine question, along the lines of the questions Alison’s answered about fictional workplaces and all before, but I can’t figure out how to phrase it.

      (For reference, the story is in the Choices Stories You Play app, “Save the Date”. Choose your own adventure in app form. So a little more complicated to formulate the question than for a piece of media you just watch.)

      1. Calamity Janine*

        oh gosh 9 to 5 would be brilliant. it’s been awhile since i last watched it but i can absolutely see Judy (had to look her name up lmao) writing in frantically to Ask A Manager. “HELP: ACCIDENTALLY KIDNAPPED BOSS?????”

  25. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    My mom had a coworker who had a crush on her but was too shy to talk to her. So this 30-something guy threw orange peels from his lunch at her, like a 12-year-,old, so he’d have to go over and apologize to her. Not long after, they had a work outing at an amusement park, and he took the jacket she was carrying, checked it, and kept the ticket. She told me she felt like a hostage! But somehow, throughout the course of that day, she decided he wasn’t so bad. Six months later they were engaged. I have a picture of my parents together at that outing, and it must have been later in the day, because they look VERY happy together. Not a Christmas party story, but a reminder that sometimes those annoying awkward guys turn into lifetime keepers.

  26. Oh Dear*

    I completely forgot about this story! The magic trick at the beginning was kind of cute. I myself am a socially awkward person so I understand in some ways. But oh dear… as this story progressed it just got worse and worse. At the end of the Day I’m glad she met some (other) nice people, glad she made it home safe, and glad she could share this funny story with us. As for the Magic trick man, I feel sympathetic in that struggles with understanding social norms/etiquette. I hope that gets better for him.

  27. Candi*

    Yes, yes! I asked for this one on a thread discussing what stories from the archives we’d like to see! Thank you, Alison!

  28. KWu*

    This writer is just such a great storyteller. All those additional little details and turns of phrase really bump it up.

  29. CatPerson*

    Every time I read this wonderful story I wait for the punchline that never comes:

    “Reader, we got married.”

  30. Ellis Hubris*

    I was present for this incredible story told in the comments.

    I really hope there are two of them.

  31. Free Meerkats*

    “I did not reveal my identity.”

    Why not? Imagine the mileage your friend could have gotten out of, “Hey! I know the Piano Player Girl!!!” She would become an instant legend at work.

    1. anonymous73*

      This. I would have totally admitted that it was me. Nothing wrong with owning your embarrassing stories. Then you can clear up any rumors that were created since he worked there and she didn’t.

  32. Cheddar Cheese*

    I love this story so much! It’s so well-written. I’ve always wanted to see it illustrated by Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half).

  33. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

    I think they’re rebutting comments that have been made in the past and celebrating the fact that they’re not being made now!

  34. L.H. Puttgrass*

    I really want to make a poll for this.

    “When is the right time in a relationship to bring out the magic tricks?

    A. First date
    B. Second date
    C. Third date
    D. Neverth date
    E. Only after you’re married and have had kids old enough to be embarrassed by them.”

    1. Calamity Janine*

      the true answer is F: immediately after the first time you make love, and everyone is enjoying the post-coital glow.

      look, what’s that behind your ear –

    2. CoveredinBees*

      I think that it can be charming if kept to one quick thing, they ask first, and there are no magic puns. Any date that turns into a performance sounds exhausting.

  35. Chaordic One*

    This is a Christmas classic and although it’s short it ranks right up there with Sidaras’ “Santaland Diaries.” The OP deserves a place on “The Moth Radio Hour” or Ira Glass’ “This American Life.”

    I’m surprised the OP didn’t call her date “Fergus.” I do wonder about such clueless people in general and I wonder what might have happened to him. Still teaching? Did he ever find a girlfriend?

  36. CoveredinBees*

    It’s ironic how she didn’t want to make him look bad in front of his principal and he went ahead and did it all on his own.

  37. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

    Letter Writer, you are an absolute legend. Your writing style is absolutely wonderful. Your letter is like the hero of a Tom Robbins and/or Erma Bombeck novel went on a cringy Christmas party date. You are an angel bringing Christmas cheer to the sisterhood and all of humankind. This is one of my all-time favourite AAM letters.

  38. Lucy Skywalker*

    “a magical relationship between two people destined to be together.”

    Dude, if you say that on the first date, that’s one way to guarantee that you’re destined NOT to be together!

  39. MissDisplaced*

    I wanted to feel even a tiny bit sorry for this guy because it’s hard to ask someone out, people get all nervous and stupid, and dating can be so awkward. But NOPE!

    I could put down some things here as being a very awkward person unused to dating (maybe). But being rude to wait staff or not tipping shows this guy’s true colors and view of the world.

  40. Veryanon*

    I’m not sure if I love “for obvious, gin-based, reasons” or “hashtag relationship goals” better. Maybe it’s a tie! This story is my second favorite, right after “I will confront you by Wednesday of this week.”

  41. Love the Hashtags*

    The hashtag relationship goals is my favorite part. Trying to quietly laugh has tears rolling down my face. I hope nobody walks by my desk soon.

  42. yala*

    This is my favorite Christmas post of all time.

    It’s got everything. A weird, clingy guy who won’t even let a woman choose her own drink, kind strangers, booze, and nice authority figures stepping in to make sure OP got home safely.

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