Friday, August 31, 2012

The Curse of the Office Pool Party

We all have people in our lives that we consider “clothes on” people.  These are the people we try not to think about in any other way but fully clothed.  We’re sure at some point in their lives they’ve probably been naked, but we don’t want to know about it, and we certainly don’t want to think about it.  Mental imagery can be a scary thing sometimes, and most will go to great lengths to block certain people in their minds from wandering across that bridge and over to the land of the “clothes off” people.

People are tricky though, and will try their best to confuse you, and throw you off your guard.  Using specially made fabrics, designs, patterns, push-up this, squeeze in that, make up and other methods, people spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to make themselves presentable, or should I say desirable, to the outside world, all for the sake of getting that coveted invitation to the “clothes off” party inside your brain.  They know the velvet ropes are up.  They know this is a by invitation only party, and while they may try to play it cool as though it doesn’t really matter, make no mistake about it, they want in.  Ultimately though, you’re the bouncer.  You have control of who you let in, who makes the cut, and who doesn’t.

One of the primary scenarios however, responsible for creating intense cranial conflict, is the office pool party.  While maybe not technically “clothes off”, most bathing suits give you more than enough information with which to fill in the blanks.  You work with these people five days a week, and often spend more time with them than you do with your own family.  These are “clothes on” people in the strongest sense of the term, people you need to look in the eye, give direction to, take feedback from, and make decisions with.  They aren’t even people really; they are just faceless positions within the company, each with their own distinct role and purpose.  Everyone knows that blurring those lines with co-workers can be a big mistake, so for the good of the company and your position within it, it’s in everyone’s best interest for the “clothes on” people to stay on their side of your brain.  But all that changes once the first nipple makes an appearance.

More often then not, the first nipple sighting will be that of the male variety, followed by its twin, as they do come in pairs after all.  Previously unthought-of nipples normally covered in a dress shirt and tie all of a sudden find themselves centre stage at the office pool party.  Female nipples are a little more elusive, typically covered up with a thin layer of swimsuit, but all it takes is a momentary cool breeze, and bingo bango, there they are!!  Bodies that had once been known only to be located somewhere deep beneath layers of cotton and wool are suddenly exposed, leaving very little to the imagination. 

As you wade through those first awkward moments, you try to keep your glances discreet, but as though Geraldo just opened up a vault, secrets are exposed and mysteries are solved as your eyes are drawn to various nooks, crannies, and crevasses, some of which are extremely pleasant, some of which are extremely not.  Your mind struggles to keep some degree of order to the line of those more visually pleasing co-workers that will be granted entrance into the “clothes off” party inside your brain.  “Hmm, I had no idea Sheri’s breasts were so perky.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.”  “Well hellooooo Melanie’s ass!!”  Am I staring?  I think I’m staring.  I better look away.

But then Account Manager Betty in her ill-fitting 1980’s bathing suit bends over to pick up her towel, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t make yourself unsee that!!  The more you try to forget, the more it burns a permanent image into your brain!!  Inside you’re screaming “Noooooooooooo!!!!!!” as the floodgates open, and party-crashers are everywhere!!!!  “Ahhhhhhhhh, Bob’s wearing a Speedo!!!!”  “Oh sweet Jesus please make Betty Lou pull her legs together!!!!”  “What the??!!!  Is that a tramp stamp tattoo on Cindy’s back??!!!  You little slut!!”  “Wow, that sure is a big mole on Ramone’s thigh!!”  “Ohhhhhh my, Melissa forgot to shave!”  “Why is Timmy swimming with his sweater on?  Awww fuck, that’s not a sweater!!  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!” 

You rub your eyes to no avail.  The “clothes off” side of your brain once reserved for only the select few, suddenly fills with unwanted guests, as you learn far more than you ever wanted to know about your co-workers.  While the pool party eventually comes to an end, the “clothes off” party in your brain does not.  You saw what you saw, and that can’t be denied.  Those mental images stay with you, forcing you to revisit the good, the bad, and the ugly, for all eternity. 

There is no medicine to make it go away, no magic spell to put you at ease.  It’s with you always, the curse of the office pool party. 

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