AS Christmas menus appear in offices across the country, Britain’s workers are facing up to another festive evening of compulsory enjoyment.
Experts have already warned desperate staff not to even bother devising an excuse, stressing it will suck you in like a black hole full of bastards.
Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “You’ll claim it’s about the free food. But of course it’s not.
“Even the people you like are still technically ‘work friends’ and therefore impossible to sustain a conversation with for over 45 minutes without resorting to forthcoming holidays or the fascinating patterns in the tablecloth.
“One alternative is to neck the Ukrainian Chardonnay and let your simmering resentments manifest themselves in an explosion of profanity and unreasonably harsh truths. But if you get out of this particular boat, you have to be prepared to go all the way.”
He added: “There is the nuclear option of getting yourself arrested the afternoon before, but that’s a one-off. And you can’t get uninvited. Even if you burst someone’s eyeball with a fork the year before, they are going to ask you again.
“Because no-one must be allowed to miss out. On the fun.”
Mid-level sales drone Tom Logan said: “The menu arrived in my inbox today and now it just sits there staring at me like some coiled viper.”
He added: “Surely, in theory, this vile charade is about maintaining staff morale. But I am the staff. And I do not want to go.
“Fuck this shit. Maybe I can just ring up on the night and say my wife’s been eaten by a wolf.”
Marketing executive Emma Bradford said: “Getting arrested isn’t actually too bad. The standard custody menu consists of microwaved lasagne or a scrambled egg roll.
“And they give you an old magazine with all the crosswords already filled in. It’s fine.”