Welcome to “Is It Ever Okay,” Bon Appétit’s questionable etiquette column. Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I bring my significant other to the company blowout? —Significant Sergio
Nah, thanks. This is your one chance to blow off a year’s worth of coffee-breath-flavored steam with your trenchmates. Partners add an awkward couples cruise dynamic, not to mention they seem to unnecessarily highlight who has their conventional societal whatnot together and who is a wild and free bohemian.
When can I commandeer the playlist? I’m an experienced DJ—it went over really well at my cousin’s bat mitzvah. —Bold Bart
You need to have people on your side before you storm the DJ booth. Do you have the undying support of at least five others? Okay. But if they shake their heads saying, “No, man, I love these Kidz Bop versions of early 2000s R&B songs,” then let the music in your head suffice.
Can you avoid the boss altogether? Or at some point, do you need to go up to them and make small talk? —Actually Adam Rapoport
How often do you get face time with your boss? If this is an opportunity to remind them that you’re human, not a number-crunching never-sick robot, you’d better seize it. But the boss doesn’t want to be cornered at the crudités table while you lay out the plans for a new project you’ve been plotting in the shower. Schedule a real meeting for that and use this encounter to find out if the boss is human too, not a number-obsessed corporate-controlled robot.
What’s the dress code situation? I want to get crazy! —Fully Clothed Frankie
Two years ago contributing food editor Rick Martinez wore a stunning navy velvet tux jacket to the BA holiday party, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. Dressing up is a nice (maybe even fun!) thing to do and a sign of respect and festivity, but no one is going to care if you show up in the same outfit you wore to work that day. However, if you feel like this is the prime time to break out that flesh-colored spandex jumpsuit with the pearlescent sequins that turn you into a giant betta fish, rock on. Like a velvet tux, I’ll never forget it either.
Is it cool if I leave the party early? Or not go at all... for four years in a row? —Deterred Didi
Don’t skip it. It’s humanizing and cathartic—and your only window to pry into your coworkers’ personal lives without seeming creepy. But it’s such a good idea to leave early I’d recommend WE ALL do it! That way you get free mini spanakopita and look like a team player but avoid any regrettable third-drink mistakes and get a full eight hours’ sleep.
So you drank too much at the holiday party. How do you handle the next day? —Hungover Harriet
You come in and show yourself! “I’m never doing shots again,” you’ll moan to your bleary-eyed colleagues, knowing you definitely will the second that tiny glass is in your clutches. Misery loves company. Bring a bag of egg-and-cheese sandwiches and a case of coconut water. Misery loves those too.
Is it ever okay to do shots with your coworkers? —Straight-Shooting Susan
I plan on living out the rest of my days on this planet without ever doing shots again. And I suggest you do the same. Have you ever woken up the next day and thought, I’m so glad I did shots last night! I feel amazing! I’m going for a run! It’s pure pain. And tequila didn’t do all that work to be treated like this! No shots!
What snacks can I eat with my hands versus utensils? —Touchy Toby
The cocktail party appetizer eating guide:
• Mini spanakopita
• Shao mai
• Deviled eggs
• Pigs in a blanket
• Bacon-wrapped dates
How do I leverage my boss’s inebriation to get a raise? —Anonymous Alex
THIS NEVER WORKS.
That’s all for now, but if you have petty etiquette questions, recipe requests, or just want to tell me you think I’m unfunny and WRONG, so wrong, about everything, please email email@example.com.
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit