#TGIF: My first after-work-drinks

Ordering the Oreo cocktail maybe wasn’t the best move to make. I instantly got called out: “well now everyone knows you’re the youngest Lennie”, and “we’re out with a child here”, followed by “I now feel so old please leave the table”. We were out to celebrate two birthdays, both colleagues reaching numbers that although were still in the twenties, were a little scary to me. I felt young, but at no point did I regret my drink choice. While everyone sipped their boring beers and wines, making fun of my life choices (“is there even any alcohol in that milkshake?”), I was relishing the sweet drink in my hand. Joyously, it came with a side of Oreo and a bit hit of liquor (yes, there was a lot of alcohol actually, and yes I dunked the Oreo!).

It was an interesting night, that’s for sure, but terrifically fun. Somehow, I ended up being the voice for our haphazard entourage of 15 ladies, including a mother to be (water only), a bride to be (he put a ring on it yesterday), two birthday girls (yay!) and all the numerous others (sorry untitled colleagues). I had to order all the food, flag the waiter down on a fully-booked night, and translate the slurs, all over the All Blacks vs Argentina match blaring in the background. Apparently I can have quite a commanding voice. To top it off, the big-boss-top-dog-company-founder turned up as a surprise, the only lad amongst the lasses. He shuffled us all around so he could have the best view of the big screens (he could see five, from what was my previous seat!).

The food was great and plentiful, and we chowed down on the bar classics: wood-fired pizza, buffalo wings, sticky ribs, salt and pepper calamari and chunky fries, but also balanced it out with some higher-end choices: the seafood platter, mussel pot, seared tuna salad, smoked salmon. It was a sharing-is-caring way of dining, which I felt brought us all together, but totally freaked out the servers: “yup, just in the middle thanks…” would be answered with a simple grimace as they tried to make room on the tiny, overflowing tables. Bottles of wine were being uncorked and bottles of Antipodes filled the gaps, as our boss likes to balance out his wine with sparkling water when he's driving home. Shortly after the final whistle blew, concluding the game and sealing the All Black's victory, he bid adieu and may have picked up our tab on his way out, #likeaboss.

And with food (and alcohol) comes friends, as we all bonded beyond work and started learning more about one another. More than drinks were being spilled, with fun facts, juicy goss and just good chat throughout the table. Being new to the company, I felt like I had officially settled into not only the team, but the social circle, phew! My colleagues were less intimidating, less old, less “people I work with” and more “people I like” and simply, “friends”. Barriers continued breaking as we evolved with the night, becoming wilder as the hours went on. Take a pic, slap on “dance like nobody’s watching” and we’d be your next meme.

And then the clock struck 1am, the Oreo-induced sugar-rush wore off, and we plunged face-forward into the pit of tiredness (I imagine this is how an Oreo feels when being dunked). Hey, we had been going strong from 5pm! As my colleague and I walked back to our almost-neighbouring apartments, we were extremely glad we didn’t have to work the next day. Experiencing a group hangover would be something (very) short of wonderful, but hilarious, that’s for sure. Maybe next time?

What are your Friday night experiences like? Do you go out every week, have drinks in-house, or is it an occasion thing like my work? And, have you experienced a group work hangover?