By Barely Legal
Special to the Legal
I love people-watching — I practically majored in it in college. It is not just the voyeuristic pleasure of spying on people that I enjoy, but it is also the insights into human behavior you can derive from an afternoon sitting on a park bench. I also like to make up little stories about the people I see, but that is for another time.
So, as a people-watcher, firm holiday parties are an absolute delight for me. I stand in a corner, with a drink in my hand, and disappear into the background as my co-workers party the night away.
From my vantage point I can see who arrived early, who is already drunk and who arrived fashionably late (and with whom).
I watch the attorneys chatting up each other, with the younger smart ones strategically placing themselves near enough to the head of their department so that they might get pulled into a conversation.
I also catch the IS guy checking out the HR woman, scanning the crowd for her face, and maneuvering himself so that he might just bump into her as she is on her way back to the bar.
It’s all so lovely in its predictability. But in all my years of studying, one class of co-workers I can’t wrap my head around is of the ones who dance at the holiday party. What possible motive could one have for showing all your colleagues just “how low you can go.”?
In the interest of full disclosure, I love to dance. I took dance lessons as a kid, I have been in dance-offs, and will often dance around my kitchen at night, sometimes even replaying a song so I can get my choreography just right.
However, I have never and will never dance at a firm-sponsored event. Nor do I understand those that do.
First, people dancing always look drunk. Even when they are cold sober, the assumption is that they are drunk because most people couldn’t imagine getting up and dancing in front of their coworkers unless they were intoxicated.
Second, almost all dancing looks dirty (and is meant to lead to dirty things). There is a reason it was banned in that fictional town where Footloose took place.
Which leads us to my next point: Third, by dancing, you are inevitably inviting that creepy partner or mailroom guy or guy who sits in the office down the hall and is always flashing you his wallet with the condom impression worn into the leather to do at best think nasty thoughts about you, at worst join you on the dance floor.
So why do it? What could your possible motivation be?
And don’t tell me it is to have fun, because no one has fun at firm holiday parties.
Barely Legal offers humorous monthly musings on what it's really like to work for a law firm. Hint: It's nothing like it is on TV.