Naughty Christmas party (The case of the mental cardigan*)

Pre-Christmas office parties have a certain reputation here in Finland. Booze plays the leading role; it is very efficient in untying the ties. During the season tabloid newspapers offer provoking stories: ’Workplace Christmas parties: how to avoid a fight with your boss’, or ’Find out if your partner cheated on you at his/her Christmas party: 21 clues’. Clothing stores are suddenly full of little black dresses, red lingerie and sequin. Almost as if we were encouraged to lasciviousness and vice, although it is always under the excuse of ‘raising team spirit’.Except at Humanisticum’s Christmas sitsit, where dressing up naughty is recommendable, if not required (although dressing up per se was, fortunately, required). This year the party was organized for the second time, the first was in 2009 with the fabulous drag queen Chiquita performing for us between the meals – in a word, it was a blast. This year’s colour palette in clothing was, as expected, red and black. The heels were of the kanyewestian touch the sky-fashion and hemlines reached to touch something else. Leather was the word of the day, mixed with dramatic gothic lace and tulle. Collars brought their own fetish inspired colour, whether they were traditional rivet collars or conservative nun collars – everyone to their taste! Almost everyone had properly invested in their outfits, although the general appearance was definitely not a ‘little naughty’ anymore, but rather it resembled the cast of a Sexhibition show. Some regional differences were also perceptible: our guest from Jyväskylä apparently thinks that long johns and slippers are as naughty as it gets – wonder what their pyjama parties are like up there. Some people didn’t need special outfits to indicate their naughtiness: ‘years of refining the setämies-look has done the trick’, said one of them, we can call him ‘Dirt’. He is also known for his infatuation with a certain song where quite inappropriate things are done to sheep. Based on the experience two years earlier I expected lots of Village People inspired outfits and a boisterous, jolly mood. But this time it wasn’t the same, and although my friends and I were in tiny dresses we were feeling the mental cardigan quite heavy on us. First of all, the sitsi-code was left unclear to many, probably because there were quite a few freshmen aboard who were overly excited about everything and didn’t feel like listening to the rules, either. This led to a snowball effect towards the end: the young ones were chatting when supposed to be silent and the old ones got frustrated and lost their temper, making the young ones even less interested about singing and listening to others. This lead to utter disorder and lots of irritated sighing (at least in our end of the table). Santa’s visit during the break did nothing to improve the situation, vice versa. It was 30 minutes of yelling and chaos, Santa barking at the guests for inadequate singing skills. Not funny, not witty, not raising the famous team spirit anyway. On top of all, not everyone who had brought a present received one. And that is just plain rude. Sitsit is all about the etiquette; if it is not followed, there is no reason to attend the party (we don’t go there for the food, do we?). Maybe it is a case of us grandmas lamenting the loss of manners on the kids, or, the people there were just behaving really badly. I personally hope for the latter, because sitsit can be really rewarding as a common experience, and I’m not yet ready to admit being too old for it. Besides, when are people ever too old to sing (and drink) in good company? Also, maybe us oldies should be more instructive towards the newcomers next time – go through the etiquette properly and remind those who are making disturbance of the rules. That way a special night is guaranteed to everyone. Fortunately the coming year provides us at least two spectacular sitsit to make up for this one, the SUB anniversary party and the NMES mega-sitsit. And SUB people always know how to behave, right? (And if you don’t, go and check out the sitsi-etiquette on BTSB!)

* A translation term invented by a friend denoting the feeling of mental oldness in company

Interview with Santa Claus

A Seasonal Greeting From Better Than Sliced Bread