My very first office Christmas party was in 1987, and since then I have attended them fairly regularly, if I've had a job. The next one was at General Staff College, which I remember for having refused to dance with a colonel. I've been sorry for it ever since. He was after all one of the only three men that I have ever been physically attracted to, and it seems to have been the only time when it was to some extent mutual.

The Christmas parties of my present place of work have often been held in the Kaisaniemi restaurant. It is a suitably historic place for us, founded in 1827. University students gave it the peculiar Swedish name of Kajsaniemi for the owner Kajsa Wahllund, at a time when everything Finnish was popular among intellectuals, who didn't go so far as to speak it, however.

  • In 1998 the party in Kaisaniemi was average, but some of us had a follow-up party in Copacabana, now replaced by the Ice Bar. Unexpectedly I danced, although it is a well-known fact that "I don't dance". It was one of the few times I've danced that I can remember without much embarrassment. Dancing has always been connected in my mind with feelings of shame, ever since I danced twist as a small child on my own in our living room, attracting amused attention.
  • The party of 2002 was exceptionally in Hvitträsk. It was a Very Good Party, best of all times. There was dancing downstairs, upstairs community singing. After a quick look at the empty dance floor I returned upstairs. And the rest of the evening and night we sang, moving from Christmas carols to Tiger Shark and other evergreens. The restaurant keeper must have been unhappy, because half the customers were too busy singing to drink. I didn't even finish my one glass of red wine.
  • This year we were in Kaisaniemi again. I almost wish I hadn't gone, but then, what would I have to write about? To begin with, he programme was off schedule. Then there was a band, called Sehr Gut, which they were not. They started with a "serenade" to the ladies, changing the object of the text to plural, so that they actually sang to 'my dick' instead of 'my darlings'. Was it meant to be a joke? If so, it is too old to be funny. Or were they so stupid that they thought we wouldn't understand? Either way, I found it offensive. They played poorly, and probably would have preferred a completely different style of music. Then we had Mikko Perkoila, only mildly funny at best, as a surprise performer, but he is at least a professional. My company wasn't too good either, some were rather aggressively drunk, others just boring. In spite of that I danced a bit, and stayed almost till the end. I even continued with them to Juttutupa. One of my dancing partners would have followed me home but fortunately didn't insist. Still, now I must update my "list" of men who have wanted to have sex with me to three. I was home by 2 a.m., and at work at 7:50 this morning as usual.

Which is worse, a bad party, or no party at all, like we had last year?