Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ Then, in slow motion, I saw the owner of the agency, the most infamous woman in the history of modern advertising, turn and walk straight for me. Here is what apparently happened next: I told her that I loved her. "
It was my first office job out of college, and I didn’t understand the political implications of “The Christmas Party.” There I was, a socially stunted kid from Binghamton, mingling with the executive talent who had created “I love New York,” and many of the most successful product and airline campaigns of the late 1960’s and ‘70’s. I stood with the other assistants, insecure and awkward, while musicians played and waiters, dressed like fancy penguins, passed out expensive champagne and horde oeuvres. This was a movie in which my upbringing had convinced me I did not belong. I drank the champagne, glass after glass, and it went down like bubbly fruit juice. Then, in slow motion, I saw the owner of the agency, the most infamous woman in the history of modern advertising, turn and walk straight for me. Here is what apparently happened next: I told her that I loved her. I stood on top of a reception desk and gave a speech, while coworkers frantically tried to phone someone to come and get me. I tried to pet anyone wearing a fur coat on my crooked walk home through the upper east side. I stopped once to get into a limousine, which I insisted was my ride. I woke up the next morning on my bathroom floor, convinced I was going to be fired, feeling as though I had betrayed the only advice my father had ever given me: “Get a job with good benefits.” Horrified, I returned to work, where the owner offered me a job as one of her personal assistants, responsible for flying back and forth between New York and her house in Mustique. She saw me as full of life. I said “no.”