I don’t party much anymore. I’m getting old and I hate feeling like crap the next day. I don’t like the sore throat you get from trying to talk over the loud music and I can certainly do without the heartburn from overindulging in food and drink that wakes me up during the night and keeps me feeling miserable all the next day. I am not a good dancer – so I don’t dance unless I get really drunk (or if you marry me, but I try not to let either of those things happen too often). The only thing I’m good at doing when I’m at a party is being a wallflower. I can warm a chair like nobody’s business; I can toast up a storm and socialize ‘til the cows come home.
I am being exceptionally social this year and have accepted invitations to three different Christmas parties. I have been to two of them already and the last one is coming up on Friday. The one I went to last week is particularly memorable, but unfortunately not for any of the right reasons.
The party last week is the one I look forward to every year. It is with a group of people that I love and admire and it is usually the party that I enjoy the most. This year’s party started out great – the restaurant was lovely, everyone was dressed nicely, the wine was flowing and the holiday spirit was in the air. When we chose our spots at the tables I sat with two friends – one of them I hadn’t seen in a while and I was looking forward to catching up with her. Soon after we sat down I got a tap on my shoulder and an elderly gentleman asked if it was OK if he sat next to me. There was nobody sitting there so I told him it would be fine. I had seen him around a few times, but had never really spoken to him before. The first thing he told me when he sat down was that it was the first time he was invited to this party.
My friends and I started talking, but every couple of minutes the old guy would touch my hand and drag my attention away from the conversation so that he could talk to me. He turned out to be quite the chatter box. It was actually getting kind of tiresome. He sat around bragging about how his girlfriend was 20 years younger than he was and telling me all kinds of other stuff that I don’t care about while he polished off a bottle of wine by himself. Every time he paused to drink I would turn back to my friends and rejoin their conversation…and a minute later he would be hauling me away from them to tell me some stupidity or other.
What I couldn’t fail to notice, was that as he got more and more drunk he was moving higher up my arm. He was no longer touching my hand to get my attention, now he was grabbing my arm and (very subliminally) rubbing my boob while doing it. Now it was getting out of hand. Now he was starting to really piss me off.
So I told him nicely that I was trying to have a conversation with my friends and that I would appreciate if he would let me talk with them undisturbed for a while. And guess what he did? He leaned in, all drunk-like, grabbed my arm (boob) and told me he was sorry, that he didn’t mean to disturb me – that he was just an old man who liked pretty girls, that his attentions didn’t mean anything because he had a girlfriend who was 20 years younger, that his friends always asked him how many times he made love per week but that he was too shy to say, and it just went on and on and on.
So I got up and walked over to where another group of friends were sitting and joined in on their conversation. And two minutes later the old fart was beside me, grabbing my arm (boob) and shoving his face in my hair to tell me that he didn’t mean to bother me and that he didn’t mean any harm and to come back and sit down and he was pulling on my arm and now he was really drunk. It was so annoying!
So I took off to the lady’s room to hide and to collect my thoughts. The meal had been served but we were still waiting for dessert, so I decided to leave right after dessert. The old guy would soon be finishing his second bottle of wine and I knew that the situation wasn’t going to get any better.
When I got back to my spot at the table the old guy wasn’t there. My friend asked me if he was bothering me and I said yes, that he was really getting on my nerves and that he wouldn’t leave me alone. My friend and I talked for a little bit but before I knew it, like a recurring nightmare, he was back and grabbing my arm (boob). I ignored him and continued to talk to my friend. He grabbed harder and shook my arm to get my attention. I turned around and said to him that he had to stop it – that he was really annoying me and making me uncomfortable. I told him to go join someone else’s conversation and to leave me alone now – enough was enough.
And that’s when he became really obnoxious.
He pulled me in close and drooled in my hair as he shoved his mouth to my ear to tell me something along the lines of “Oh you think you’re so special don’t you. You think I’m too old eh? – You think I like you? You think I want to be with you?” At this point he almost lost his balance and came close to falling off his chair. When he recovered he continued. “You don’t know anything about me. You don’t know who I am; you don’t know where I’ve been. Look at me!” he yelled in my ear. He pulled away and I turned and looked at him with as much distain as I could muster. Next thing I knew he was blubbering that he was sorry and that he didn’t mean it and he didn’t…I couldn’t take it. When he looked away to refill his glass with wine I pulled away from him, stood up and grabbed my coat off the back of my chair. My friend looked up and asked where I was going and I said “home”. She reminded me that we hadn’t had dessert yet and said don’t go home, we’ll just move away from him and sit somewhere else. And I said no - he had ruined my night and I wanted to get as far away from there as I could. My friend was disappointed and so was I.
I quickly said a few goodbyes, and thanked the people who invited me for the lovely evening. Then I beat the shit out of my car the whole way home. I was so angry that my favourite party had been ruined, that that miserable old drunken fool had prevented me from having a good time and that I had let him.
When I got home and my husband asked me what was wrong I told him. He was surprised that I hadn’t done anything to help myself. He reminded me that I had the big end of the stick, and that all I had to do was tell the organizers of the party that someone was bothering me and let them take care of it.
It had never crossed my mind – I just wanted to get out of there and get away from him. And besides even if I did tell the organizers, what were they going to do? He was their friend so I really don’t think they would have kicked him out or told him to go home. It would only have upset them and ruined their evening too. If they tried to tell him not to bother me it would surely just have made things worse. If I had used the big end of the stick to tell them it would have been equivalent to thanking them for the invitation by slapping them in the face.
Next year I will not go to the party if he is going to be there. My husband says I am just handing the old man the big end of the stick. The problem with obnoxious alcoholics is that you don’t need to give them the stick - they will selfishly tear the stick out of your hands and then proceed to chase you around with it, verbally and physically abusing you until they wear you out. And the next day? While you are agonizing over it and feeling sorry for yourself, they probably don’t remember a thing.