Etiquette guru June Dally-Watkins is an unlikely heroine of mine. Her lists of recommended behaviours for all situations have followed me from job to job, from house to house and from relationship to relationship. That’s not to say her advice has worked on me in any way whatsoever -“ there’s no finishing school on earth that could smooth out my scruffy edges. I just admire her dedication to the fine arts of manners, decorum and other subjects, like what sort of hat to wear on one’s head during an apr?ski dinner party.

Imagine my delight when June appeared on the Today show this week discussing what to do and not to do at office Christmas parties. In the world according to June, punters are advised to DO wear something respectable. DON’T drink too much. DO remember that one day, be it the next Monday or the next year, you will have to return to your job. DO carry a napkin. If you DON’T carry a napkin, you’ll drop the food all over your clothes.

I would love to have June along to one of the Star’s Christmas gigs. She would really tidy up the mess that is our staff after-work together time. Perhaps if June was around last year she might have advised me not to tackle the general manager while frolicking in the surf. She might have advised me that an appropriate response to his return tackle, which ended in nasty, unfiltered contact between shoulder bone and eye socket, was not to try to pull his bathers down.

In fact, this is officially an invitation. June, please come along and make our staff Christmas party nice again. Your suggestions about the need for appropriate attire (no plunging necklines, for example) would come in handy to all of the Star dudes who are insisting that those very small Speedos worn by Sydney’s gay men are appropriate work-function wear. And your advice on drinking: Beyond two glasses of wine [a person’s] personality changes and they lose control would be extremely useful. Completely ignored, but useful -“ especially when brought up in an I told you so way by the non-drinkers of the office when the dust has settled on another end-of-year barbecue.

That’s not to say Sydney Star Observer is just some dirty pack of Speedo-obsessed drunken sluts or anything -“ nothing (well, actually, there are plenty of things that) could be further from the truth. While we may not be carrying napkins to avoid spilling food on our lovely clothes I’m sure someone will remember to bring the sunscreen. And topics of conversation will no doubt range from ball-shaving to the benefits or otherwise of hairy chests to which dumb-looking hot dudes are working at which bar right now. Actually, come to think of it, it might not really be June’s scene after all.

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