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Party Time

Make mine a stiffie.

'Tis the season when it's socially acceptable to act like someone who hit puberty and was given the keys to a brand-new muscle car on the same day. The culmination of this season is the office Christmas party, which rivals revealing government secrets as a foolproof way to ruin a career. You just have to hope that someone makes a bigger fool of himself than you do.

Which isn't likely.

You start out by dressing up, looking better than you have since your senior prom -- and, as at your prom, find yourself hoping that someone has a hotel room, some booze and their parents' permission to stay out past curfew. The prettied-up representatives of the opposite sex at the party are not people you typically see outside of work -- not because you don't like each other, but because your co-workers have real lives and real responsibilities. But they tend to shed those at office parties, which quickly take an orgiastic tilt much like when the caddies show up at the pool in Caddyshack -- except there's no authority figure to rein in the troops. And since no one this year had the foresight to book that room, when we stumbled out of our Christmas party, we stumbled right into Prima, at the Hotel Teatro (1100 14th Street).

Prima is another bar that's too nice for Institute members. Which figures, since the Teatro is Denver's hottest "boutique" hotel. This is the kind of hotel that's hot in South Beach, where it comes equipped with cool lights, pastel paint and artificially enhanced humans carrying concealed weapons. But in Denver, the Teatro's bar emphasizes more Midwestern values, such as serving powerful drinks at premium prices.

And I do mean powerful. I always thought that "loudmouth soup" was a generic term for any spirit drunk to excess, but I'm pretty sure Prima brews its own batch of the stuff. After a few vodka and tonics (at least, that's what we were told we were drinking), the only thing I needed to complete my ensemble of a deafening voice, a drink in either hand and a still perfectly dimpled tie was a lampshade. I spent much of the next day wondering if I could return to the office on Monday.

Among my sins: When I ordered the first round of the night, I failed to secure a glass of wine for the wife of the Mormon Representative, and then didn't realize my error for another fifteen minutes. As a professional, I realized this was unacceptable, and I subsequently attempted to rectify the situation by making sure that she, too, always had two drinks in hand.

Giving. That's what the Christmas season is all about -- unless you are part of a godless conglomerate that has raised the ire of modern-day prophet Bill O'Reilly by not using the word "Christmas." As all of those TV commercials remind us, God intended for us to show how much we love each other by putting lots of cheap, godless, communist Chinese toys under the tree.

And with any luck, a few stiff drinks at Prima will put you under the tree, too.

 
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