Well, the day has arrived and I am getting ready for yet another uncomfortable office party. I begin my makeup and things are already going downhill.
The problem is that I have developed an awful pimple in the most unfortunate region of my face. I name it Cindy, because it is in the same spot where Cindy Crawford’s famous mole resides. (I always name things. Is that weird? Practical Joe once had a festering wound on his lower back, which I named Eugene. Since he couldn’t reach it, I had to “dress” it every morning whilst trying not to throw up. Disgusting. Will spare you the details.)
I try a dab of eyeliner hoping to turn Cindy into something chic, but instead of looking glamorous, she ends up looking like a very advanced cancerous growth.
“We’re going to be late,” PJ barks at me from downstairs. I become flustered and start painting my face like a mad woman. Soon (45 minutes later) we are out the door.
Practical Joe, myself, and Cindy arrive at the party just in time. We sit down at our table and the awkward small talk begins. I have a little chat with the person next to me, a heavy-set woman who appears to be wrapped in yards of tulle. (I’m not good at identifying fabrics, so it could have been something else. In any case, she looked like a cream puff.)
The conversation quickly fizzles out after the obvious topics are covered (Name? Job? Where from?) Wanting to seem friendly, I begin wracking my brain for more conversation starters. A compliment maybe? I can’t compliment her dress without sounding like an actor on public television, so I go with the nails. They are acrylic with purple tips. Not my style, but she sort of pulls it off. She thanks me and again, the conversation fizzles.
I give up.
For the rest of the dinner, I am the listener. I smile and nod when people talk to me, while secretly wondering if they are noticing Cindy.
Finally, the dancing begins, which is our cue to leave. But right then, I notice that PJ has been cornered by a man with the tiniest head you’ve ever seen. (Seriously. I just about snapped a picture for you with my cell phone, but decided I’d rather not be sued.)
I try to join them in the conversation, but cannot make out what Tiny Head is saying. The music is too loud. Tiny Head starts talking to me, but all I can hear is: “My wife – stuck in the middle with you – Hawaii – clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…”
Cindy and I smile and nod.
I watch Tiny Head talk and during the pauses, I notice a peculiar look come over his face. It is as though he is smiling, because he is keeping a juicy secret. It's a look that makes him somewhat attractive. Maybe even... sexy? Funny how the oddest looking people can be made good looking from their personalities.
An hour later, we say goodbye to Tiny Head and are out the door.
“That was brutal,” I say to PJ.
“Tell me about it,” he says.
For the rest of the car ride home, we talk about Tiny Head and how he’d make a brilliant actor for Alice in Wonderland or Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ Heads.
Then it occurs to me that he's probably saying similar things about me and Cindy.
Oh well. I suppose all's fair in love and office parties.