I’m not one of the world’s best socialisers – I tend to feel uncomfortable in large crowds, as high levels of sensory over-stimulation often leaves me feeling somewhat out of my depth. So the prospect of being expected to participate in the obligatory corporate Christmas night out with work colleagues is generally problematic for me, wherever I happen to be working.
Luckily I missed out on mine this year – I was away on holiday at the time, so avoided the issue altogether. But not so with my husband, and as he’s still off work after an accident four months ago it was a welcome chance for him to catch up with everyone en masse, and so along we both went, unsure of quite what to expect. We’re neither of us big drinkers, and the usual free-for-all piss-ups that these work get-togethers tend to turn into isn’t really our scene at the best of times.
Along with many other workplaces, my husband’s work Christmas night out last Saturday consisted a meal and cabaret at a busy hotel, with twenty-something large round tables laid out in a ballroom-style purpose-built function room, catering efficiently for several different groups all at once – a bit like Butlins with bling. The star attraction was a Grease tribute act – and although the set meal (traditional turkey with all the trimmings) was altogether a little disappointing, the table wine was flowing, and the cabaret was excellent, which more than made up for any deficiencies in the food.
Of course it helps that I absolutely love all things Grease – I have no idea how many times I’ve seen the movie throughout my life, but I never ever tire of it. I remember when it was first released in 1978, and together with a few teenage school friends (all girls) I saw it at our local cinema, falling in love with the Danny and Sandy love-story right from the start. We all owned the soundtrack (either on vinyl, or cassette tape), playing it over and over again so many times we could all sing along, word-perfect, hopelessly devoted.
And so we roll forward 35 years or so to a cold winter’s night in a heaving hotel in Essex, where the resident singer – a big-built man with a strong voice to suit – sang the perfect medley of fifties and sixties songs to set the mood for the main act. The older members of our group – those of us in our forties and fifties – were amongst the first to hit the dance floor for the duration. By the time’ Danny’ and ‘Sandy’ took to the stage, dressed accordingly, we were all limbered up and as lively as the bunch of excited teenagers we once were.
They took us faithfully through the entire soundtrack in order, and it was such fun to sing along with all our favourite tracks, re-living the memories of our lost youth. I honestly haven’t danced so much in years , and was surprised to find that I can still hand-jive and do the twist (of sorts, as long as I don’t get down too far – getting myself back up again isn’t as easy as it used to be). By the end of the evening I felt all hot and sweaty with distinctly glowing cheeks – my very own fifty-something Pink Lady – but was also tingling all over, feeling alive in a way I haven’t felt in years.
A few days on, I find I have aching muscles in places I forgot I even had muscles, and am still singing the songs silently in my head, with a wistful smile on my face. I’d forgotten how much fun it is just to lose yourself in the music; I’d forgotten how much I used to love to dance, just feeling the rhythm and going with the flow. So overall I’m delighted that a work night out that initially I had approached with trepidation turned out to be such a positively enjoyable experience, and one which I might even – horror of horrors – look forward to repeating sometime in the future… 🙂