Welcome to The 12 Days of Thatz Not Okay, a special holiday edition of a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Check back tomorrow for our next seasonal installment. As always, please send your questions (max: 200 words) to email@example.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
My office holiday parties suck. When groups of us are out at other parties or happy hours it's fun, but the holiday parties are consistently lame. Many of us blame the drink tickets (thanks corporate lawyers!). We each get tickets for 2 free drinks and then it's cash bar. That wouldn't be bad except it's a huge line, pricey drinks and the best bottle they have is Jim Beam. 10 minute wait and 12 bucks for Jim fucking Beam! And they won't let you buy a round for a group of friends (2 drinks max). This year I'm going to bring a flask of really nice whiskey. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Let me be clear: Bringing a flask of holiday cheer to a company party is fine for some people; perhaps even many people. It's just not okay for you, specifically.
Because you don't know how to be cool about it!
If you were cool about it, you would not have written a letter bragging about how you, a totally cool person, are going to—no big deal—sneak a F L A S K of "really nice whiskey" into your work party, which is a **NO FLASK ZONE**. You would not bother asking anyone for permission—Is it OK to be bad? ;)—even (and perhaps especially not) for show. You just would just sneak the whiskey in, sip it discreetly, and enjoy a slightly more relaxed time than you otherwise would have.
But you are not Joe Cool about it. You are Woodstock, chittering away in a bird language no one can understand, flapping your wings and creating a big, panicked spectacle. You are the employee sidling up to the bar and yelling "Just a PLAIN GINGER ALE, please! Not one drop of booze in it! I don't know how I expect to have any fun and loosen up by drinking PLAIN GINGER ALE, but I suppose that's on ME, eh crowd?" You are the boob turning to your boss' boss, the flop sweat glistening on your forehead like midnight Christmas snow, and bellowing, "Sir, allow me to FLASK you a question….What are you...going to go for Christmas?!" You are the nerd singing "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a FLASK in a pear tree!" and dissolving into a fit of giggles outside the men's room.
When you picture yourself at the party, flask of whiskey tucked safely over your heart like a Confederate soldier's bible, you don't see what everyone else will see, which is you, Colin from the third floor, nervously wiping your mouth on your sleeve one hundred times because you're afraid a busboy will notice you've been drinking CONTRABAND DRINKS since 9 p.m. You see this. You see the heads of all the ladies in attendance whipping around as one because a famous bootlegger has just entered the room. Why are all those ladies dressed like flappers, Colin? Because you are drunk. You were so nervous about being caught with the flask that you downed its contents in 30 seconds and now you have alcohol poisoning.
If you were a little cooler, I would tell you that it's totally fine to sneak a little hooch into a company party where alcohol is already being served. You don't want to be the drunkest guy at the party (ideally that will be your boss—unless you work for a child!!!), but there's nothing wrong with being a drunk guy at the party. People like having cheerful, slightly intoxicated people at their celebrations. That's why they serve alcohol at them.
I would remind you that proper flask protocol is to order "one whiskey, neat" and discreetly empty the contents of your flask into that same glass throughout the night in order to make your famous Whiskey Surprise™ (Wow, this drink is so easy to make—surprise!).
I would advise you to tip generously and be extra kind and charming to the staff working the bar (especially if you're in an actual bar), whom you are now robbing of the pleasure of serving you, and also tips.
And I would caution that no one sticks out more at a lame party than a drunk idiot having The Time of His Life. If you are good at parties, you can probably trick other, less inebriated people into having fun too. (Every Jennifer Aniston movie needs a Vince Vaughn.) However, if you are under the impression that bringing a small quantity of legally obtained alcohol into a festive setting is just about the BADDEST thing you can do, I promise that you are less good at parties than you think.
So I won't tell you any of that. Enjoy your two gratis drinks. COLIN.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Art by Jim Cooke.