Thursday, February 19, 2009

cocktails at the office

sabrina. the 1954 billy wilder film in which audrey hepburn warms humphrey bogart's ticker-tape heart. this is one of my go-to movies when i'm feeling sad, when it's a rainy day, when i feel like romance is gone from the world. it's simply enchanting.

one of my favorite lines in the movie is when sabrina is in a paris cooking school. she is moping about william holden's character david larrabee, who she has been in love with her whole life. they are learning the souffle, and sabrina's comes out "much too low" because she has not turned on the oven. the man cooking next to her comments, "a woman happily in love, she burns the souffle. a woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven".

what really surprises me in this movie is linus larrabee's office, which has a mini-kitchen and a full bar. the patriarch of the larrabee family regularly mixes martinis for board meetings. was this a common practice in the 40s and 50s? when did drinking at work become taboo? i had the chance to travel to austria during grad school to study business, and i learned it is written into some union contracts that beer should be served in the lunchroom. i'm not saying i want to guzzle a margarita while doling out prescriptions, but i am curious about the shift in drinking from the boardroom to after-hours "networking".
sub question: how many drinks can reasonably be consumed at a work function? is it ok to be "that guy" at the office get together, crooning with the karaoke machine, shirt and tie in shambles? how does that alter coworkers' perceptions?


Broadway Carl said...

It's never okay to be "that guy" unless you're self employed.

When the wifey and I were on our honeymoon in Italy, I was shocked to find that there were more bottles of single wine servings at the highway rest stops than soda. They EXPECT you to drink wine with your meal... on the friggin' highway!
I don't know when the U.S. of A. became so squeamish about things... maybe we always were?

Veggie Option said...

I've found that Europeans have a far healthier attitude to drinking. Sure there are boozehounds in every country, but thank goodness it isn't considered a "sin" or "firing offence" to have a glass of wine or a beer with lunch in England or on the continent.

Americans weren't always so anti-alcohol during the workday, but I don't know when the shift in attitude happened.