Diary of a fashion intern: The inappropriate gift
Since it’s my first Christmas interning I wasn’t too sure what the protocol would be when it came to buying gifts for colleagues – do I buy wine for everyone, or just my boss? Thankfully one of the girls in the office informed me that we do secret santa. The budget ranged from €10 to €20, a pretty humble sum. After my ”lunch hour” – I use inverted commas because the lunch hour is actually about 25 minutes – I was presented with a faux fur Stella McCartney elevated hat turned upside down and filled with tiny pieces of folded paper. ”Here are the names of everyone in the office, pick one and don’t tell anyone who you got” exclaimed the editor, with much trepidation I dig deep, navigating pieces of folded up paper I pull out one that feels right in my fingers. My stomach sinks as I unfold the edges to reveal my bosses name. I confide in one of my colleagues, a rather bitchy young man fresh out of college, he informs me that our boss absolutely loves gag gifts. He explains that last year one of the girls got the boss a calendar of ‘hunky naked men with everything on display’, he then went on to tell me that after Christmas the lady that bestowed the ‘hunky men’ calendar to the boss got a promotion. With my battered debit card in hand I headed to the nearest sex shop after work to pick up the perfect gag gift. I sheepishly slipped into a hidden adult shop – what greeted my innocent eyes was a plethora of nipple clamps, latex catsuits and intimidating looking sex toys. Since I was visibly a sex shop novice, one of the kindly shop assistants asked me if I needed help – I explained to her I’m getting a gift for my boss, she fixes me a perplexed look, disappears behind a dominatrix mannequin and produces a box of penis shaped chocolates. The Belgian chocolate penises were in my price range and seemed pretty office appropriate – so I got them. As an office we decided it would be best to exchange gifts a few days prior to the actual Christmas party. I placed my gift, which was wrapped in Tiffany blue paper, under the tree with a smug sense of self satisfaction. Before we broke for lunch, we’re all called to the tree to pick up our gifts. I spot an envelope on the ground, complete with a footprint stain on it, with my name scrawled across it. I open it up and find enclosed a €10 voucher for Boots. The guy from accounting comes over and says ‘Don’t spend it all in the one shop” I think to myself ”Where else do you think I’m going to spend it you idiot. Wow, a whole ten euro – you could’ve just gotten me a box of smokes”. But Instead I just fake laugh and tell him I plan on buying some tampons, to which he awkwardly acknowledges and then leaves. The boss swans over, studies the bottom of the tree and picks up the gift I got her. ”Oh such gorgeous paper” she exclaims as she tentatively opens the present, ”I must know where this paper is from, it is absolutely fabulous”. Her eyes widen and with a flustered cough poses the question ”Who on earth thinks this appropriate?”. The bitchy guy outs me as the gifter and fixes me a menacing look that says ”you played right into my bitchy plan you naive fool’. The boss turns to me and says ”I’m on a diet, I can’t have sugar, where on earth did you get this wrapping paper, I must have it!’.