10.16.2008

Blue Ribbon Performance



Every now and then, Max's company hosts a shindig for "delegates," a term that evokes images of something exotic and sophisticated, but is actually a fancy way of describing expatriates, who slave away for the company. Last night, we attended such an engagement--a wine tasting and dinner for only North American delegates--at one of the company's privately-owned vineyards.

Even though free food and wine is always cause for celebration, I must admit that I actually hate going to this sort of event. While I am sure the purpose of it is to help expatriates foster friendships with those in similar situations, it feels as though it's more of a dog-and-pony show for the token muckety mucks, who also attend, because it gives them a chance to observe the talent and their spouses and to (possibly) judge how these delegates are performing in their new circumstances.

For this reason, it seems forced and competitive to me. Delegates and their wives from numerous groups and divisions flutter around in their best business casual, smile brightly, and engage in obligatory small talk in the hopes of somehow standing out and being memorable to the vice presidents and board members in their midst. And even though I'd have rather had root canal than be at dinner, my competitive nature inevitably took over. I, too, pranced around around like a good little Stepford wife, making niceties and beaming about life as a company gal. The worst part is that I made for a pretty good show pony.

Ugh.

14 comments:

meno said...

I occassionally have to go to these charades too. In fact, one is next week. I know just how you feel. It's creepy.

Jill said...

We have these all the time... and after 5 years of them, I still can't get used to it.

For this move I bought myself 2 super fun pants and a funky sweater shrug to wear to these "shows". At least I'm going to look good on the outside while I'm anxious to go home on the inside... :)

G in Berlin said...

Perhpd because I don't have these things, I think they sound fun. My husband has "single" functions and it's a lot more boring being at home putting the kids to bed. You have the chance for decent food and making connections that migh be of value to you as you travel. It's a good thing and if you do it well enough, maybe you can enjoy it for what it is: not a personal event, but a corporate one. (I know that ou excel at everything you do- it's just a matter of accepting it and then deciding to enjoy it.)

Charlotte said...

I hear ya: Corporate dog-and-pony shows ... bleh!--especially when you're the pony and not the dog. Perhaps it helps to think of your function as Max's professional PR manager. Not only does that give you the corporate vibe, but it also fills the event with purpose.

Connie said...

blech! I avoid them if at all possible! Being a techie vs. 'real diplomat', I luck out most of the time. Being former military with years of mandatory performances, volunteering, and attendances, under my belt/skin, does not help. I've a friend who is trying to talk us into going to the Marine Ball. I guarantee, it is NOT happening.

Simple Answer said...

Is there a little part of you that says ~ This time? This time I'm going to be wicked? Cuz I hear that voice. My theory? Set the bar low. For the good of the other spouses. Those that care. Anyone can look good next to the woman who just called herself a prostitute and told her husband's boss whatever he just said was pure bullshit. It's my contribution. To sisterhood. And I can live with myself afterward.

utenzi said...

I don't know whether to go with the traditional "giddyup" or with the Bugs Bunny derived "Whoa mule, I said whoa, mule!" I guess it all depends on how competitive you're feeling, Diane. The Yosemite Sam image is funnier.

Me said...

Yeah.

Been there....as an "officer's wife" back in the married days.

UGH.

Shelly said...

In the old days when we went to agriculture/political conferences, I remember being in the hotel room, looking at my hubby right before a cocktail party and saying "I can't go down there, I don't think I have one ounce of 'nice' left in me". Back then I was young and energetic...now I'm older and cranky - I probably wouldn't last five minutes.

Dianne said...

I used to do these too back in the corporate days, ya know when America had an economy

I would just make use of my frustrated actress soul and put on a show

kenju said...

You're not the only one. I had to do that for at least 20 years. I got tipsy once in Hawaii at a company shindig and almost fell asleep at the table at 11pm. When we left the restaurant, the CEO thought it was evidence of our closeness when mr. kenju put both arms around me. Actually, he was holding me upright..
LOL. The clueless guy never knew. Maybe his stupidity is why the company went bankrupt about 5 years later.

Sarah said...

We're in a similar situation to G's - work events are usually only for the employee, no spouses or significant others. Because what you really want to do after spending 8+ hours with those people is...spend more time with them.

Although I must admit, Cliff works with some really cool people and we make the effort every so often to see them on a social basis. And this way, I rarely have the opportunity to stick my foot in my mouth and reveal that I know things I shouldn't.

AmyD said...

Just call this paying your dues. It's not easy getting used to, but as long as you don't let it become the norm, you'll be just fine!

karey m. said...

one of my best friends likened it to a role in a play...she prepared for the event accordingly. picked out an outfit based on the character she would be playing for the night.

she. always. had. a. blast.

and i bet you were an adorable pony. i'd give you a shiny apple.