Yellow Quote PostIt’s that time of the year again when friends and family enjoy getting together to make fools of themselves, and it’s no different in the workplace with The Office Christmas Party.

The Office Christmas Party is something we look forward to every year. I mean how else are we meant to encourage serious doubts about our reputations without overdoing the tequila at the office? Then there’s the Plus-One issue. Do you bring your partner? Whether or not you’re “out” yet, it’s up to you how you represent yourself at work, and many of us like to keep our private lives private. So that little phrase “Partners Welcome” on the invite can inspire as much terror into your heart as Renee Zellweger’s new face. So what to do?

Being “out” to the team you work directly with is one thing, but since I’ve yet to send an “I Love Labia” memo to the other 200 people at the company, it just doesn’t seem appropriate to surprise them with it. My workplace is pretty conservative, so turning up at the office party with a (whisper it) *lesbian* would be quite the statement.

Now it’s not just lesbians who worry. I am currently the “beard” for at least three of my gay male friends, so this is quite a busy month. Attending parties as a fake girlfriend in a smart dress and pretending to compliment other women’s horrible jewellery isn’t all that hard when you have a free drink in your hand, so bring on the business talk… I’m in! But when it comes to my own Office Christmas Party, I’m a bit stuck.

Let’s face it, some people just haven’t caught up with the LGBT movement yet and, as I’m not the thought-police, I don’t want my homosexuality making my bosses and their uppity wives uncomfortable. I like to do that with excessive drinking and dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld, not by cuddling up to another woman while my colleagues put two-and-two together. It’s not their fault they carry prejudice. Leave them to it, I say! Because although I advocate activism and living a True Life in almost all other aspects of my life, the older generation (I work with a lot of them) need a bit of time to adjust. So shoving my sexuality down the throat of Gerald from Accounts is only going to upset him.

People at an Office Christmas Party

It’s the same with all “plus one” events, the other obvious example being weddings. And with weddings mainly held in churches, this makes some of the more uninformed and prejudiced members of our social circles think twice about inviting us along. I mean come on… A lesbian in a church?! It’s unheard of! So I remain uninvited, for fear that their tacit encouragement of my sinful lesbian ways may make the church burst into flames the moment I enter it.

And sadly, this is not fiction. Having been absent from both of my childhood friend’s weddings, the only reason I can deduce for my lack of invitation would be the fact that my twin sister and I are very gay. We actually got the “save the dates” for one wedding before we had come out, only to have the invitations revoked by the bride along with some bullshit excuse about numbers.

Twinny and I retaliated by spending the wedding present money on tequila (ah, the deflector nectar). But we both agreed: Being gay is a huge part of what makes us, well, us! And so we’d rather be slurring at each other over a beer about it than at a wedding trying to pretend to be someone we’re not.

I suppose my point is this: We may be one of the last generations who have to even worry about this. The “Plus One Peril” may not exist in years to come as homophobia becomes a thing of the past, and so that extra seat next to yours can be filled with whomever you like! But as it stands, this time of year can be filled with festive fears about having to deal with the homophobic relics at your workplace who haven’t quite figured out that their ramblings about a wholesome, traditional lifestyle make about as much sense as Jaden Smith’s Twitter feed.

As for me, my pitiful single-dom makes the whole subject moot. But as far as those of you in relationships go, enjoy! This time of year is to be celebrated with loved ones, no matter who you love. So next year, if I’m lucky enough to have found my very own plus one, I’ll be taking her proudly to the party, dressed head to toe in rainbow colours! Sorry, Gerald.