the best office holiday party date story of all time

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

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.

{ 253 comments… read them below }

          1. MusicWithRocksIn*

            I see Nicholas Hoult. Maybe because I just finished The Great, but it is very clear in my mind’s eye.

      1. Federal Worker Drone*

        This (entire story) will never NOT be funny.

        On the bright side, it seems the other teachers really liked her. LOL

    1. Kelli*

      Thanks to this story; I say this and make the hashtag sign with my fingers at my husband all the time.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! I totally love the coworkers looking out for LW. They don’t know her, but they can see exactly what is happening and they’ve got her back. I love that so much.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Right? That is the best part. I bet the guy was awkward as a coworker too and maybe they’d been in similar awkward situations with him so they 100% empathized with her.

        1. Selina Luna*

          That would be my guess. This story had me wondering two things: where are these magical schools with Christmas parties that include booze and take place at country clubs? and what are the chances that this guy’s coworkers actually enjoy his company? No one likes an unexpected magician.

            1. H3llifIknow*

              I mentally read that phrase in the tone of “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” from Monty Python.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Oh, you know it. I can just see this guy bumblepuppying all over the teacher’s lounge showing off his latest card trick to every single person who’s just come in to get coffee.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        So much this. Great job coworkers for realizing that the two people had Very Different Ideas about what the plan for the night is, and then looking out for the young lady who was caught off guard.

        1. Ama*

          I always wonder what he might have told his coworkers in advance about OP and if any of them suspected in advance that this might happen or if they all just caught on very quickly.

      3. TootsNYC*

        and the department head and wife jumping in to drive her home, just to get her away from that guy. I’m sure they didn’t have the slightest clue where she actually lived; they just knew that they could MAKE it (and the Taco Bell) be on their way home.

        I bet that’s a great school to work at.

        1. blue rose*

          As I understand from my reading, the department chair is a wife, who has a husband who so far as we know, isn’t a department chair at OP’s date’s workplace.

    1. Professional Cat Lady*

      Gather round children, and huddle close while Alison tells us the tale of ~**The Most Magical Christmas Date Ever**~
      *hands you cocoa*

      1. Not the only ones*

        Wait… my family aren’t the only ones who *must* listen to Alice’s Restaurant every Thanksgiving?

        1. Inkognyto*

          The TV Show WKRP’s for Thanksgiving called “Turkey’s Away” has been a requirement in my family for years. My spouse and I watch it on YT every year to laugh.

          If you haven’t seen go on, I’ll wait. You will not regret the time.

          1. Trixie Belden was my hero*


            As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!!!!!

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Hey – wild turkeys can, and the amount of noise they make has to be heard to be believed.

              The store ones that are farm raised – yeah those don’t fly at all.

          2. New Jack Karyn*

            I put on that episode AND “Alice’s Restaurant” every year on Thanksgiving.

            Not at the exact same time.

    2. Helewise*

      Me too! There aren’t many stories that can genuinely make me laugh-cry, especially more than once, but this is on the very short list!

  1. Panicked*

    I may be a bit of a nervous nelly, but I would definitely not be okay getting someone intoxicated and then get in a car with someone who obviously has different feelings than that person. Thank goodness for the principal, but I’m kind of side-eying the other people at that party.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      That’s a good point; the part of me that wants to give benefit of the doubt initially thought that no one noticed they were about to leave, but when you collectively make that much of an impact on the party’s vibe, surely your exit should be noticeable???

    2. SpaceySteph*

      Yeah, I agree with this– several of those women should have offered her a ride if nothing else. I remember going on a specifically bad date (first strike is that I wanted to meet him there but he insisted on driving me) and within 30 mins of starting the date it was clear it wasn’t going any farther than the one date, but I was then stuck finishing dinner and then having him drive me back home. I wasn’t drunk and nothing untoward happened, but I distinctly remember the feeling of unease I had when I realized I was stuck on this bad date without a car.

      I never again let a man drive me until we were really coupled up.

      1. Jiminy Cricket*

        Nah, in my head, these women fought over the right to drive this drunken angel home and eventually had to draw straws. The department chair won, but that’s why it took her a while to get out to the coat check.

        1. LCH*

          i agree. at some point, everyone she had been talking too realized, oh crap, we must save her! because how on earth did they know her apartment was on the way home? they didn’t, it was a cover story!

          1. The dark months*

            Exactly! Plus it was the department head using her powers for good because sad magic boy was less likely to argue with his superior.

      2. RadioactiveCats*

        I don’t know, the “followup” by LW running into someone who had been at that party (or knew of it as legend) indicated “boyfriend” and that would mean nobody would be necessarily concerned about her safety.

        1. Misty_Meaner*

          A bad date doesn’t necessarily mean “an unsafe one”. I don’t think the people there were fearful that this coworker of theirs was going to suddenly get violent with the LW; I don’t think I would have, although I’d have felt very sorry for her having to leave with him. They were saving her from an awkward ride home, an awkward goodbye, and more magic tricks, IMHO. The guy was socially deficient, but there’s no indication that he was a danger so many of the colleagues may simply not have thought they NEEDED to “save” her. I think we’ve ALL (male and female) had that horrible, awkwardly quiet ride home from a date gone wrong.

        2. GlitsyGus*

          eh, I think “date” just morphed into “girlfriend” over multiple retellings. After a couple of years and a couple passes through the telephone game that would be a pretty expected change.

    3. Snarl Furillo*

      The department chair did not just “appear” and the unlucky date’s apartment was not on their way home. There was 100% a staff-wide, coordinated operation to keep OP from going home with Sad Christmas Carl.

      1. Observer*

        Absolutely. And that’s why it was the department head – who was not even at that table. Because they realized that *she* was plastered, and *he* was not going to take hint from any of his colleagues. But, he’s not going to argue with the *Department Head.*

        And if there is any doubt whatsoever that this was the right call, note that he STILL didn’t get it! He called her again and wanted her to go out with him!

      2. Jake*

        Exactly. The chair was just the one who did it because who in their right mind would argue with his department chair!

          1. Misty_Meaner*

            I think that’s a little harsh. He tried too hard. He’s definitely socially awkward. But, he is a teacher! He’s clearly not some deranged psychopath and I doubt he was going to suddenly turn violent on the LW. She didn’t need “saving” from “him” so much as from “more awful magic tricks and weirdness.”

            1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

              Um, just because someone isn’t a psychopath, doesn’t mean they will for sure not do something unwanted. She was hammered and he was acting like it was some horrible betrayal that she didn’t want to see his magic tricks. No one is suggesting he would haul off and hit her in the face…but trying to kiss her, a kiss which would be 100% clearly unwanted, would not be out of the question. Or if she fell asleep on the drive home think it was appropriate to take her back to his apartment to “sleep it off”.

              The co-workers and supervisor didn’t just save her from him, but him from himself. They stopped him from continuing to miss read a situation with even worse consequences. There are worse things than being the awkward Christmas party date and that is being the dude who sexually assaulted the girl he brought to the Christmas party because she was drunk and he still thought he should try and make a move on the drive home.

      3. kiki*

        Yes. Honestly, that year’s most effective team bonding event was probably coordinating everyone to seamlessly save the letter writer from Carl. That is why the story has become a legend at the school– the situation as LW told it was very funny, but I imagine all the conversations happening between coworkers to make sure LW made it home safely and Carl-less were probably just as hilarious. I’m imagining everyone like spies talking into walkie talkies and running around the party coordinating thing so help appeared at just the right time.

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        Yeah, this was an entire second-act Hallmark Special montage of hand signals, ducking out of sight, and frantic texting.

    4. Monkey Princess*

      My guess is that the department chair and his wife WERE the result of the team effort to make sure that she didn’t have to go home with her date.

          1. H3llifIknow*

            Yep. Which surprises me because the AAM group of commenters is usually pretty aware of gender bias and the frequent assumption that the Dept Chair MUST be a man in the comments is unusual.

            1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

              I wonder though if it is more that people assume that Carl would only listen to another man insisting he would get LW home safely. Carl seems pretty hell bent on ignoring what women want, or being salty when they ask him to stop doing things like magic tricks.

              1. blue rose*

                I don’t really buy that. Your read makes more sense if the department chair/their spouse were not referenced with specific genders, but explicitly spelled out in the post are the words “her husband.” So for the commenters in question, in the time it took to scroll down the page to comment after reading the post, something in their brains converted “department chair and her husband” into “department chair and his wife.”

                Which, yeah, I’m in agreement with H3llifIknow. Surprised that multiple people assumed the big cheese was a man, even in contradiction of the text of the post. Not what I’d expect of the usual AAM crowd.

    5. Roland*

      Why the side eye? They probably made sure as a group someone would drive OP. They don’t all need to offer individually.

    1. Daisy-dog*

      I re-read it last week (I’m impatient) and still re-read it fully again today with a feeling of delight & glee.

      1. stacers*

        Same! It’s a true modern Christmas tale, with strangers looking out for her well-being and safety, and having compassion. Move over, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ there’s a new tale to tell.

  2. Veryanon*

    “For obvious, gin-based reasons” is a phrase I hope to work into my regular rotation at some point.

    1. Constance Lloyd*

      I can’t remember how, but I have managed to use this phrase in conversation with my grandmother. She makes a beautiful quilt and a mean gimlet.

          1. Constance Lloyd*

            She’s so cool. We have a family campout every year, and this summer she’d just had a sinus procedure and was on a new medication. My mom was making margaritas, but grandma wanted to wait until she could talk to my doctor cousin to make sure she was safe to drink. My cousin arrived with his wife and children and grandma immediately pulled him aside, saying “I have some questions about this new medicine I’m on.” My six and a half foot tall nerdy Viking of a cousin immediately slipped into doctor mode, couching down to my five foot nothing grandma’s level. He nodded serenely as she detailed her procedure and the medication she’d just started, before rounding the explanation with a resounding, “So what I need to know is whether or not I can have any booze!” Instant laughter erupted from my cousin, who promptly brought my grandma a margarita for each hand so she wouldn’t have to get up for a refill.

  3. Alara*

    If I recall correctly, someone wrote fan fiction using this story as the plot. If anybody has a link, I remember the story being just as funny.

    1. Hermione Danger*

      I believe there are TWO pieces of fanfic based on this story. I feel like I’ve read more than one.

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        I know I’ve read at least two, both set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They may have been linked from a prior posting of this story.

        That said, if there are additional fanfics based on this story I’d love to know about them.

      1. Festively Dressed Earl*

        Is having your own tag on AO3 a sign that you’ve made it? I kinda feel like it should be.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      One of the MCU/Agents of SHIELD fanfics is “You’re Where You Should Be All the Time” by Laura Kaye (link to follow in next comment).

      There’s also a Once Upon a Time fanfic (I’ve read it before but don’t have the link handy).

      There may also be a Star Wars fanfic? Haven’t read that one and don’t have a link so can’t confirm.

        1. This_is_Todays_Name*

          OMG that was AWESOME. I am “supposed to be working” and I HAD to read it all the way thru!

        1. Madame Arcati*

          Me too – I’m not into MCU or anything similar and I never read fanfic but I just love this story!

          1. AAM Fic Fan*

            Same – getting directed to that story from the comments here a couple years ago was how I got started reading fanfiction in the first place – it’s so good!

      1. I Have RBF*

        I want to thank the people who put the AO3 links to those fanfics here in the comments. I love reading them.

    3. GlitterHaven*

      It’s worth rereading the original every time it gets posted here because every time there’s a new fanfic in the comments, and they’re all brilliant.

    4. Ant*

      I actually just sent this link to my friend with the caption “this would make such a funny fic prompt”! I’m so tempted, now!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I always wondered how much longer Mr Piano Magic lasted as a teacher at this school. He is the true legend, but not in a good way.

      1. Syfy Geek*

        I think he became the coworker who told everybody that a coworker was his wife. And she didn’t find out about it until she came back to work after being out? Fuzzy on the details.

      2. Hlao-roo*

        I have a (somewhat) answer for you! The OP shared a few more details on an open thread:

        Did he lose his job or otherwise suffer professional ramifications? I have the impression he was actually a great teacher, and he stayed at that school until he married a lovely woman–who presumably likes music and magic and who has a terrific, high powered career–and became a stay-at-home dad.

        Link to the full comment (which answers a few more questions) in a reply.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            Awesome, thank you!!!! This is the answer to the question I never thought to ask until yesterday! Stay at home dad seems like a great career for him; wonder if his kids like magic tricks?

        1. Indigo a la mode*

          Omg. Thank you for this gift.

          “Is this your worst date? Once a guy put his dentures directly on the table in order to argue more comfortably with me about whether Rush is the best band ever. I was unaware he wore dentures until that very moment. Rush is not the best band ever.”

          Everything she writes is hilarious.

        2. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          I think the best part is she clarifies that he is ridiculously good looking. Every so often some dude makes the argument that “If a hot guy did this, it wouldn’t be creepy!” to defend their actions and paint women who find them creepy as shallow. Nope, apparently Awkward Magic Surprise Date! is not endearing no matter how attractive the person deploying it is. It is just uncomfortable.

  4. Cal*

    Just looking at the post before reading I am shocked that it isn’t longer! It is so well-written and conveys so much happening!

  5. ariel*

    I have somehow missed this previously but it is now my hashtag life goals to cackle at it every year. Bless you, OP, and the actual magic of sisterhood and human kindness!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Or . . . who was that guy who made the news for playing the piano trying to get his girlfriend to take him back?

  6. EC*

    I want to know what it was like for all the colleagues who had to go back to work with this dude after seeing him act like a complete ass. If your boss has to rescue your date from you, how can you possibly keep working there? At the very least, I bet none of them wanted to set their daughters up with him after that night.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah, but at the same time he’s playing the piano over the event sound track – I really doubt he was aware enough socially to realize he needed to be embarrassed.

      And you have to wonder if the others at her table sent the Dept Chair because he was married, and they thought with how drunk they just realized this girl was, that the married Dept Chair would be lots less threatening to her but at the same time imposing enough to have “Mr Piano Magic” back off and not insist on driving the drunk date home.

        1. Observer*

          Yeah, but much the same vibe. The authority of the department head + plus a guy on the one hand, but the guy is married on the other.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        Some people just have such chutzpah that they seem to be immune to cringe. I sort of assume these are the same people who have their portrait printed on a cake that is sent to the job they’re applying to and would then actually be able to show up and work for the recipient of said cake — they think they’re having gumption, not massively embarrassing themselves with their violation of social norms.

      2. alas rainy again*

        Nah, I believe they picked a married driver because it is a good practice to take two to drive home one drunk person: one driver and one wrangler. Although it might have been that they picked a driver with authority (the department chair) that happened to be married

    2. sparkle emoji*

      I wonder if they already had inklings about him being odd. I’d think one doesn’t go from a normal, unremarkable coworker to an obnoxious, passive-aggressive piano man, but I guess only the colleagues can answer.

    3. Observer*

      If your boss has to rescue your date from you, how can you possibly keep working there?

      Well, this guy is a perfect example of something that comes up here on a regular basis. Someone can be both utterly clueless and a real problem jerk at the same time, and he’s a classic demonstration. He’s a major class jerk. But he’s also *clearly* in *incompetent* jerk. Totally clueless. It’s weird enough that he thinks she’s going to be interested in his magic tricks.

      But, he obviously does not realize the his department head was *rescuing* his date! Or that *she* realized that they are rescuing her. Because he actually called her a week later and asked her out again!

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yeah – the calling for a second date on top of the passive-aggressive piano serenade is why I think Mr Piano Magic really wasn’t very socially aware.

  7. Laure001*

    There is a Clint Barton /Phil Coulson fanfic on Archive of our own officially based on this story. Search for the Ask a manager tag.

    1. Lurker Cat*

      I did not know that there was an Ask a manager tag on AO3 but my life is enriched by this knowledge

      1. Hlao-roo*

        The title is “You’re Where You Should Be All the Time” by Laura Kaye. I don’t think this one has an Ask A Manager tag on A03, just a link back to AAM in the notes.

    2. Beth*

      Ther are at least two fics based on this, but they aren’t tagged consistently. IMHO, the Coulson fic is the better of the two.

      I LOVE the fact that there’s AAM fanfic.

  8. Dust Bunny*

    Reading this is going on the short list of must-have Christmas entertainment alongside Emmet Otter and new toys for the cats.

  9. Jennifer Strange*

    He came back several minutes later with a mudslide because girls love mudslides, because they’re chocolate and girls love chocolate.

    This part always makes me laugh because between me (F) and my husband, I wouldn’t touch a mudslide and my husband would probably guzzle one down happily.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I love chocolate – but mudslides are just way, way too sweet for me as well.

      Give me a rum and coke or a half and half.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’m one of those people who can’t stand the taste of most liquors and need to basically have a melted candy bar for a drink, and even I couldn’t get through a mudslide.

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I threw up on my 21st birthday and I blame the mudslide. (I mean, sure, we can also factor in various forms of boozeahol that ensued, but starting the night with a sugar bomb like that really set me up to fail.)

    2. Seashell*

      I would probably drink a mudslide, but if I was in the mood for red wine & asked for red wine, I would expect red wine. Given how cheap this guy was, I wonder if the mudslide involved fewer drink tickets or something.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        I’d expect that a cocktail would cost more than a red wine. I suspect that part of his thought process was “She probably didn’t want to ask for the more expensive thing, but of course I’ll spring for it.”

        There was an update in which the LW says that he did listen when told by elders that he was not acting right; he ended up happily married and became a SAHD.

    3. Too Long Til Retirement*

      SAME. When my husband and I order drinks, the server usually gives us the wrong ones. My husband likes the sweet drinks, I like mine strong and smokey.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Are you me? My husband tends to go for sweeter drinks, while I can knock back a dirty martini or bourbon like nothing.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        All the women in my family drink whiskey, but many of us can’t stand beer. You cannot assume what someone’s drink of choice will be, and you don’t know what someone else has a taste for.

        And a mudslide seems just an odd pre-dinner drink to me.

        1. Zephy*

          And a mudslide seems just an odd pre-dinner drink to me.

          This is where I land – that’s dessert, bud, what are you DOING.

    4. Cadmium*

      This is exactly why I’m so happy that the department head stepped in and offered her a ride home. The date thought that HE knew what she wanted (a mudslide) better than SHE did when she specifically voiced her wants (a glass of wine). He had his idea of who she “should be” and ignored who she actually was, and that’s a dangerous person to be around.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        At least two:

        “You’re Where You Should Be All the Time” by Laura Kaye–an Agents of SHIELD fic

        “hashtag holiday party” by shireness–a Once Upon a Time fic

        I left links in a different subthread above.

    1. MisterForkbeard*

      Now I’m picturing Gale mournfully and aggressively playing the piano while staring at shadowheart and… it works and I’m highly amused.

      1. Teehee*

        I am so happy to see my dual interests of AAM and BG3 have combined in this perfect thread. Yes, yes this is Gale, surely.

  10. Deanna*

    The image of a man playing “You’re So Vain” on a piano while trying to give the puppy dog eyes look to this lady while she’s getting hammered makes me laugh every time I imagine it.

  11. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Everyone who dates guys has dated this guy at some point. Not this type of guy, but this specific guy. He’s got a variety of wigs and fake noses, moves from place to place, and tries this date on different people several times a day in the mistaken belief that someone will eventually fall for it.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      He apparently plays several instruments too …mine came from a folk festival.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Cynthia Heimel described her dating life as “several decades of forming my face into a bright rictus of appreciation while various men serenaded me.”

    2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

      If it wasn’t for the piano playing I’d wonder if this was my cousin’s son. He’s not a bad young guy but just so sheltered and naive, mostly due to the fact my cousin is a flat earth/JFK Jr is alive type (he’s not, thankfully) that he really just does not know. Once he posted a picture on Facebook of a “first date” he had with some young lady and it was all about how “god sent her to him” and it was the cringiest thing I ever read. It was taken down shortly after and there definitely wasn’t a second date. Hopefully some life experience and getting away from his mother will help him, and I also hope Magic Guy puts the tricks away and learns for this as well.

      1. bamcheeks*

        I totally thought “he’s not, thankfully” referred to JKF being alive, and wondered what he’d done to upset you so much.

      2. Critical Rolls*

        Ah, that took me back to high school, and my first ever date, which was SO awkward and not fun… and my shock when the guy had a great time and wanted to go out again.

    3. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I guarantee that I have not. I’ve had some doozies, but this model might not have been available to early GenX.

      (My bad dates usually end up less funny)

    4. Reba*

      I didn’t know it when this story first ran, but I now know that the magic trick bit is a PUA (pick up artist) community tactic…. from back in the early 2000s! So this practice along with its regrettable ideology is probably more widespread than we might think.

  12. Always Tired*

    I like to think the table mates realized they got her a little TOO drunk, so asked the next safe car leaving to grab OP rather than let her get in a car with her date.

    Also, the years have a way of distorting stories, especially if he went around the school talking about “his girlfriend” and muddying the waters, which I would bet real money he did.

    1. sparkle emoji*

      Agreed especially on the second part. From what the LW describes it seems like it should have been clear to onlookers that this was not a girlfriend.

    2. Jake*

      I don’t think you need to like to think that. I think it’s pretty clear that the reason they made it to the coat check is that the table mates sprinted to the department chair immediately to request help.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        That was always my thoughts as well. Tablemates were either getting help or up when leaving happened. Fortunately the married boss saved the day.

  13. FashionablyEvil*

    Aaaaah, I love this story! I always send it to people around this time of year. The sense of humor and comic timing is just *chef’s kiss.*

  14. Momma Bear*

    My favorite lines in that story are, “My memory is a bit fuzzy, for obvious, gin-based reasons.” and “Maybe there’re two of us? I hope there’re two of us.”

    I knew immediately what story it was. It’s a fan favorite, too. I’d love an update if she’s ever brave enough. Like where is she now – obviously not with him.

    1. nothanks*

      Would second loving an update! What if there have been other more hilarious dates in years past this one? The people need to know.

    2. Pucci*

      If you look at the Friday Free-for-all that appeared the Friday after this was originally posted, she gives an update

      1. Hlao-roo*

        The Friday free-for-all with the update is titled “open thread – December 6-7, 2019” and she posted under the name “July” (to make searching easier). I also dropped a link to the update comment in a different subthread on this page, it’ll just take a bit to go through moderation.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Oh yay!!! I was not able to find the update without these details. I’m so happy she’s living her best life!!

    3. Former Mailroom Clerk*

      There was an update in an open thread a few days later. I’ll post the link in a reply.

  15. Snoozing not schmoozing*

    I can’t remember if I replied to this story in an earlier appearance, so this may be a rerun. My parents worked together in a factory in the early 1940s. Dad was a farm guy who’d moved to the city for a job, and let’s just say his social skills weren’t up to par. His idea of getting to know my mother involved throwing orange peels (from his lunch) at her, so he’d have an excuse to go apologize to her. Smooth ice-breaker, not so much. Mom understandably thought he was weird. Not long after, there was a company picnic that involved an excursion boat to an island that had an amusement park. This was a northern U.S. city, with chilly mornings in early summer, so she wore a jacket. Once it was warm enough to remove the jacket, Dad (who was sort of stalking her) came over, took her jacket, and said he’d check it for her. Of course he kept the ticket, so she had to spend the day with him if she wanted to see her jacket again. I’m not sure what happened during the course of that day, but they got engaged three months later, married the next year, and were happily married for 60 years, until his death. I first learned about this not-a-date when Mom gave me a box of photos, and I asked if this picture, with their arms around each other, was from their honeymoon or just when they were dating. She burst out laughing and said, “That wasn’t a date!” and then told me the story. He seems to have changed her opinion of him at that work picnic!

  16. Indolent Libertine*

    NOW it’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

    Also, I live in hope that someday, someone will claim “obvious gin-based reasons” as their AAM commenting handle.

  17. HRinTheCity*

    This story will never get old and is a Christmas classic. i love the end with the hope that there are two people.

  18. Marlee Ann*

    Maybe because I am sort of tipsy after a sort of end of year work event I read this with great delight and laughed out loud and longer than I thought I would. What a mood lift! I am deeply missing the like button though for commentary! :)

  19. buddleia*

    This IS a great story. It’s cringe, but not creepy cringe, more like delightful cringe, if there’s such a thing? Everything was weird and wacky, but in a safe and bizarre way. These two parts are my favourite:

    “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.”

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


  20. Jake*

    This is probably my favorite AAM post. The guy was clueless, not malicious. The coworkers were helpful and nice. The department head came to the rescue. Everything just worked out great.

  21. Chirpy*

    I really love this story. Truly, the most…magical…party! Just maybe not in the way the guy intended, haha.

  22. Michelle Smith*

    I hope this woman is living the life of happiness and great relationships that she deserves. What a story!!

    1. Katiekins*

      Very amusing! I love the line about how Rey would invariably write about this later on a r/relationship thread.

  23. CubeFarmer*

    Mmm. I love this story every year, and the ending is just…chef’s kiss. LW is legendary in that institution.

    Also, my reading this year allows me to give even more props to department chair and her husband. I am pretty sure they drove LW home so that there was no risk of her creepy date assaulting her in his car.

  24. Ms. Coffee*

    Oh gosh, I so feel her pain. I briefly dated this horrible guy who seemed to lack basic social awareness. I have been the drunken date nobody knew who sort of befriended random people to get through an evening. Fortunately he never played a piano or attempted magic tricks. But I’ve enjoyed the company of kind strangers attempting to save me from a really bad date. (I even ran into one kind stranger a while later and she was happy to hear I was not dating that loser any longer!)

    I wish nothing but good dates to this girl from now on!

  25. Roy G. Biv*

    Is Hallmark developing this into a script? or whoever is the anti-Hallmark? I would watch this movie. Definitely.

  26. Roguestella*

    I’m mostly impressed that you didn’t accidentally give it away when you heard the story from your friend!

  27. Dark Macadamia*

    I adore this story, and there were so many details I’d forgotten since last year. This time around I lost it at “hashtag relationship goals”

  28. IrishCatLover*

    I love this story so much and think of it fondly in the lead up to the holidays!
    Thank you for sharing it today and making me smile on a not-so-great day :)

  29. Carlie*

    Me reading the post title: “please be the magician please be the magician please be the magician please be the magician”
    Such a classic!

  30. Health Insurance N*

    I’ve read this story a few times now and it just never gets old or any less entertaining.

  31. Annie*

    The story itself is funny, but then people telling her the story…of her date…is what takes this over the top hilarious!!

  32. Wow, really?*

    I feel for this lady, but she has a way with words! I would have noped out early with an “I don’t feel well. I need to go home right now.”

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