I was wearing a romper that didn't give me a camel toe, and a pair of heels that gave me legs for days. I shouldn't have worn it to work, but fuck it. It was my assistant's going away party that night and work was hell.
We were drowning under the current workload as it was, and without my assistant I knew it would only get worse. I owed it to myself to look hot. Tequila would be the drink of choice that night.
We went to a Mexican restaurant in Midtown where they use grain alcohol in their margaritas. It was August and about 100 degrees. Everyone was extra thirsty. I downed my first one in minutes since they were served in six-ounce plastic cups. They packed a punch.
Everyone was there. The best-looking vendors, anyway, since my assistant was a total knockout. She wasn't just young and blonde and all curves, but she had the spunky personality to go with it. So naturally all of the male suits turned out for her bon voyage.
I was sitting across from one particularly handsome vendor in a well-cut suit, and I was asking him how he could take it. The heat. In a suit. He was so young and eager that he kept his professional attitude throughout the entire evening, laughing at my comments like they were actually funny. Ha. Ha. Business.
We were talking about work, net revenue, next quarter, and I was sipping on my second margarita. My head was getting fuzzy quicker than I expected, but it was a welcome change from the anxiety fueled 12+ hour days.
Our boss couldn't make it to the party. He was a man who had no time for the young and self-absorbed, but he somehow tolerated me. Women had no real place in his social life.
I finished my second margarita and went to the bathroom. I had one of those moments where you make sexy faces in the mirror when you're really feeling yourself. It's embarrassing, but we all do it. Sometimes I even speak to myself out loud, giving myself gentle, drunken affirmations.
And I had every reason to affirm my own awesomeness that night. I ran one of the biggest accounts in the company, and I was soon to do so without any help. Plus I looked hot. In those days I had a habit of taking selfies in bathroom stalls with my lips puckered. You know you've had too much when you're taking sexy drunken toilet photos.
I got back to the table, which kept growing in size. There is something about a crowd that brings out the extrovert in me. Alcohol also may have had something to do with it. I ordered a third margarita. I was a hit! Everyone was looking at my legs. Then everything went black.
I woke up, still drunk and still wearing the romper. Confused. Head hurts. I don't remember anything. How did I get home? Where is all my shit? Fuck, I'm going to be late for work.
I entered the office as casually as possible. It took me longer than usual to collect myself that morning since my belongings were dumped out all over my apartment. I couldn't remember much, and I was disappointed in myself for not being able to hang after three drinks.
I got to my desk and my assistant was there, because in advertising they have a weird tradition of making you show up completely hungover on your last day. She immediately ran up to me and hugged me, telling me she was so happy I got home. Me too, I thought. Me too.
She asked if I remembered what I did. Never a good sign. I tell her no. Apparently I really was a hit. Flirting with the young suited vendors, dancing in my stacked heels, and at one point even dunking French fries into my own hand full of ketchup. Classy.
I thought the ketchup was the worst of it, but then my boss strolled in. He is always late, but always wishes me a good morning. That day he did not. I figured it was because he could smell the alcohol seeping out of my pores.
He didn't speak to me for an hour, and then asked how I was feeling.
"Are you OK?"
"Yeah, I mean I'm feeling a little rough but not too bad. Thanks for asking."
"No. are you OK?"
"You sent me a pretty aggressive email last night."
My heart sinks. I remember nothing.
"You don't remember? Come over to my desk. Let's read it together."
It was the longest 20-foot walk of my life. I sit down, very aware of the smell of tequila still lingering. Heart beating quickly, I start reading.
Subject Line: No
This is bullshit!!! I work so hard and you barely pay me anything. You make me work insane hours and i get paid nothing! I am so sick of it. I am so sick of these hours. Just fucking fire me. You guys know I am an asset an you don't even care. It just makes me sick. I'm bare assed.
Sent from my iPhone
Holy shit. I'm frozen. I don't know what to say.
On the one hand I was proud of myself for finally saying what had been on my mind for months, seeking revenge on those long hours. But this was not the way to go about it.
Still slightly drunk, I let out an awkward laugh. Did I say BARE ASSED??? I can picture a drunk version of myself trying to come up with a strong closing statement. I meant to say I was embarrassed. It was supposed to sound dignified. But no. My phone auto-corrected to bare assed.
Little glimmers of memory start to come back to me. I remember the cab ride. I remember dumping everything out of my bag. I remember the driver being frustrated by yet another asshole who drunkenly spills everything in her handbag, making him wait on his payment. I remember the cab ride from Midtown to Brooklyn was expensive. Expenses made me think of work, and work was to blame for all of this! I mean I wouldn't have had to pay for this cab ride if it was not for this work function, right? So who was to blame for this experience? My boss. Because that's how blackout logic works.
I thought I was going to get fired, but I didn't. After my awkward laugh and profuse apologies, he never mentioned another word of it. In the twisted world of the ad game, he actually treated me with more respect than ever before.
Auto-correct might have saved my job. Maybe I would have been fired if I closed the email with embarrassed. But regardless of the outcome, it will still a hard lesson learned. There is no amount of booze, parties or perks that can justify working your life away in an industry that doesn’t pay.
It’s important to speak your mind when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of. Just don’t do it after a night of drinking grain alcohol, unless you’re prepared to bare some ass.