Small talk.

Hands up if you hate small talk with strangers?

Ok, hands down.

I used to loathe the small talk with strangers. Now? Not so much. If you HAVE to have small talk with strangers, you may as well make the most of it. You never know where it might take you.

About 12 years ago,  Mr Woog had a career change.  He went to work as an extreme underling at a fancy financial establishment that had a triple barrelled name. He worked his ring out for the triple barrelled name company,  which prided themselves on being very stuck up and fancy.  We had just gotten engaged and we had both been invited to their “Christmas Ball” which was so very, very fancy the actual invitation came in the mail on thick white card with swirly gold writing.

It was to be my very first taste of corporate partner duty. There was a cocktail party followed by a dinner dance at a venue near Darling Harbour, at a time when Darling Harbour was considered quite the cool place.

Mr Woog inquired whether I had a formal dress to wear.

Did I have a formal dress? What do you call that hot pink thai silk bridesmaid dress hanging up in my cupboard? Tres formal and extremely hot! Not to mention the epitome of style and taste.

The night rolled around and there we were, standing on a pontoon drinking champagne. Mr Woog was very nervous and I felt like I was really standing out in my big hot pink dress. It seemed that a tasteful little black number was more the range at the time. Anyway,  Mr Woog’s Boss and his tastefully-clad-in-a -little- black-dress-wife came over. Mr Woog introduced us and I think I can recall bowing my head at them both.

Like they were royalty.

Then we just sort of stood there for a bit.

Somewhere in the distance a dog barked.

Mr Boss asked me “So what do you do?”

“Oh, I work in publishing.” I told him.

Dog barks….. crickets chirp…..

“So do you enjoy what you do?” His wife questions.

“Oh no. I hate it.” I told her.

Dog barks….. crickets chirp. A baby cries out for it’s mother. A lengthy and awkward silence is broken by me, trying hard to show off how cultured I really was.

“Isn’t it an incredible restoration job that they have done on the Endeavour!” I proclaim “If only those sails could talk…..’

I gazed wistfully gaze at the sails. My wistfulness is broken by Mr Boss who informs me that it was a replica of the Endeavour, not a restoration, and the real Endeavour was believed to be at the bottom of the ocean near America.

I looked at the boat and realised the REAL Endeavour probably did not have NO SMOKING signs all over it. To say I felt like a complete fuckwit was spot on correct.  In my quest to become the perfect corporate partner,  I had changed myself into this most boringly bland (apart from the dress) nodding and smiling fembot.

Approximately two hours later I was up on the dance floor with one other corporate wife (who was incidentally dressed in a peacock green strapless dress), swigging champers from a bottle while Mr Woog continued on with small talk with the bosses. Come the end of the evening, smelling slightly of vomit and cigarettes,  I hugged the boss and his wife and invited them to come to our wedding in the Autumn.  I do not think I asked them,  I think I more insisted that they come. Really, I was not taking no for an answer.

And you know what? They did!

Years later,  Mr Woog left that fancy job and freed up my festive time to attend my own torturous Company Christmas BBQ’s where the snags were burnt and the wine was warm. But these years taught me a lesson. Small talk is boring.

So whenever you find yourself in a situation of awkward banter with strangers, think of a hot pink taffeta bridesmaid dress and stop talking small and start talking big. Oh and champagne always helps. Perhaps just not the whole bottle.

Have you ever made a total dick of yourself at an event?
  • Hmm, let me count the ways.

    I will get back to you but let’s just say my story involves ‘midnight green’ taffeta and an end of year “Ball” a McDonald’s ball no less…

    Laughed and laughed mrs!!

  • Waaaayyy to many times but luckily thanks to champagne I remember nothing .. Haha

    • P.s ignore the spelling .. I blame predictive text . X

  • Totally.. Many times, the worst was when I was drunk enough to be drinking from both MY drink and swigging away at DH’s boss’ drink as well, without realizing. Its always the boss isn’t it?

  • I hope Nikki Parkinson doesn’t remember the first time she met me. Because that was probably my worst attempt at small talk ever (ie no ‘talk’ actually came out of my mouth). Cue major league awkwardness from me, and sheer class as always from Nikki).

  • Ha ha haaaaaa!

  • mumabulous

    Nah – I’ve never made a dick of myself ever. Anyhows a dude I used to work with attended one of these fancy stockbroking functions. It was a Casino Royale themed evening. He had one too many Long Island Ice Teas and some time after mid night he threw up on a card table. The poor guy has been known as “Chuckie” ever since.

  • Carly-Jay Metcalfe

    Did you go back to work? I HAVE to know!!

  • Janine

    Laughed so hard & threw my arms in the air & knocked my drink straight off the table on to the bosses wife…this was 2 weeks ago! The promotions not looking good I tells ya! 😉

  • Bronnie – Maid In Australia

    Funniest comments ever. I remember one New Year’s morning my then husband-to-be took me home via his big-name accounting company office to wait while we waited for a taxi. I was sick in the men’s toilets sink. I don’t know why I didn’t go to the ladies, and I don’t know why I didn’t go through to the loos – and I forgot to inform him of it at the time, because our taxi miraculously arrived. Imagine what happened when the office finally reopened after the break, and everyone wondered who had erm, decorated the men’s loo. I have never owned up until this day.

  • Louise

    bored at a function I challenged a man I barely knew to skull cocktails with me…was never brave enough to go back to collect my coat

  • The best one is not mine…a colleague started a new job with us back when I worked in the tertiary sector and that tradition was to all go out for lunch with the new person on their first day. We went to the pub near campus. She had beetroot risotto and a few wines and proceeded to hurl all over her new colleagues shoes under the table. Classic. Luckily she missed mine as I was at the bar!

  • hahaha

  • Norlin Mustapha

    Aaah…yes…that’s the Christmas event I dread very year! Mr. C’s work function is usually great when I hang around his funny work buddies, but some of their wives and partners act too hoity toity for me. I feel like a fembot around his manager (his wife is worse! Like a bloody ice queen!!) but his big boss is amazing! She’s one of the partners and is one very smart chick…because she actually KNOWS what a blog is and chatted to me about it, leaving Mr. C stumped while we chatted! Ha!

  • Hilarious! Why do we insist on torturing ourselves with small talk? I love this story and am so excited that I now have something seriously funny to think of next time I find myself stuck in the small talk bubble! And yes I seem to be making a regular dick of myself these days at friends children’s 21st birthday parties. My son has warned me that I am to drink NO alcohol at his in a years time…