Sally Hall: Office party tales may keep the gossip going all year round

The office party can be a dangerous place. PIC: PA
The office party can be a dangerous place. PIC: PA
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It’s the stuff of Christmas office party legend. But in real life, has anyone ever actually photocopied their bottom?

I ask because this is the sort of thing I can imagine myself doing one day – though not on purpose.

It seems perfectly feasible to me somehow that I could be in a strange building attempting to socialise with my peers when a fuse might blow when I’m on my way to the bathroom.

Stumbling in darkness into a room I think is the ladies loos I can picture myself mistaking this essential item of office furniture for a strangely-shaped toilet and pulling my pants down before accidentally pressing ‘copy’ and ‘x100’ at the same time.

Sounds ludicrous, right?

But this is genuinely the sort of thing that happens to me.

Even though I have remained perfectly sober for the whole of December (and I’m not even getting sponsored to stay off the booze!), I made a complete fool of myself at my work office party...as usual.

This year the disgrace arose when I yanked up the zip on my coat with a little too much enthusiasm, imprisoning my brand-new silk chemise top in the zip’s teeth.

Before I really thought it through, I called for help – and suddenly found myself fending off a line of my (male) colleagues, all game to yank my top free.

But the way they were fumbling about down there, it seemed the chemise wasn’t the only thing they were trying to unleash.

Eventually the queue cleared, but my top was more tangled up than ever.

So I found a quiet corner (okay, a sort of stock room, complete with actual door) and whipped off the whole lot – coat, top and all – before wrestling the silk free, standing there shivering in my bra.

The top survived the ordeal – but I’m not sure my professional reputation did.

Still, it could have been worse.

One of my oldest friends used to be a producer on a very famous documentary series hosted by a venerable former newsreader.

As a mental health charity, my workplace isn’t renowned for its out-of-control hedonism. Unlike TV-land, where Christmas parties are legendarily wild.

On the occasion in question, my friend got so drunk with a colleague that the two of them both ended up being very sick.

Luckily, my friend made it to the toilets – or at the very least her handbag.

But her colleague was less nimble, and ended up losing his dinner all over the lap of the venerable former newsreader.

Drunken antics are the most common cringe-inducing activity at office parties, according to a survey of 1,000 office workers carried out last week.

The majority of respondents (62 per cent) said they’d done something they shouldn’t at the Christmas do, all because they eschewed the sausage rolls in favour of multiple plastic cups of tepid white wine.

Even more intriguing, 22 per cent of participants in the RecruitIreland.com survey had started an unsuitable relationship with a colleague at their Christmas soiree – something I’ve never done.

(Although as I worked in women’s magazines for most of my singleton years I wasn’t really stalking the most fertile territory for a secret hook-up.)

I guess there’s a cautionary tale to be told here too – two per cent of people said they had resigned as a result of their actions at a work Christmas party.

Since I was the only sober one present at mine, I’m hoping no one else will recall last week’s chemise-fumbling incident.

As party embarrassments go, it’s hardly a sackable offence. Unlike chundering into the lap of one of the UK’s most well-respected senior broadcasters. Whoops.