Pop quiz time! Diana is vaxxed and masked and ready to go. Help her prepare for the return of the dreaded spousal corporate work party. Please show your work. 

  • If Diana hasn’t been exercising since February 2020 and she was already carrying some baby weight from having given birth one-hundred and eighty (180) months ago, how many pairs of Spanx will it take for her to fit into her last remaining cocktail dress?[1] How does your answer change if you know that Diana’s been hitting the box of thin mints she found hidden in the back of the freezer pretty hard?
  • If Diana’s husband, Dave, has six (6) direct reports, what is the average number of minutes each will talk to Diana after learning she’s a mother of two whose response to ‘what do you do’ is to stammer a bit about her decade-stale legal career and to crack a weak joke about the return of her duties as her children’s uber driver? Please factor for the time each report will take balancing the utility of playing nice with the boss’s wife against the fear that Diana’s apparent lack of ambition might rub off on them. How much faster will they flee if you know that Diana is a GenXer and the direct reports are Millennials?[2]
  • If Diana’s had a cocktail and fully answers the question ‘so what do you do’ by adding “writer” to her ramblings, how long will the uncomfortable pause be when the follow-up question ‘have I read anything you’ve written’ is asked? How many years before Diana learns to lie and say “insurance adjuster” or “wig salesman” or “mime,” anything but writer, to avoid questions about her obvious lack of notoriety and/or the state of her as-of-yet unfinished novel?[3]
  • What is the ratio—number of drinks per hour—that Diana can imbibe such that she is able to reclaim a modicum of self-worth, yet notthrow up on the dance floor?

Please calculate for two different scenarios:

  1. Diana sticks with Prosecco like she promised Dave,[4] and
  2. Diana gets nostalgic and starts knocking back White Russians.[5]

Note: Diana’s actual weight is not available as a data point. (See question 1)

  • When Duran Duran’s Rio comes on, how hard will Diana hit the dance floor? How fast will she be transported to a rose-colored version of her otherwise shitty childhood, misremembering that once upon a time all she worried about was picking which band member to marry, Nick Rhodes or John Taylor,[6] that once her life held promise and verve, that once she was relevant and cool, or at least, still had the chance to be?
    How loud will she sing along, proclaiming to Dave, to his direct reports, to the ice sculpture of the company logo, that her name is Rio and she dances on the motherfucking sand?

Answer Key:

[1] You’ve already misjudged Diana. This question didn’t occur to her until thirty (30) minutes before she and her husband, Dave, are supposed to leave. She only owns two pairs of Spanx and one pair of control top panty hose with a run in them. These will have to do.

[2] False. There’s no such time faster than instantly.

[3] “All the years” and “infinity +1” are both acceptable answers. 100 extra credit points if your answer assumed that Diana might finish her novel at some point. Thank you, that was kind.

[4] No need to answer this one; it won’t happen.

[5] There are no right answers here, only wrong ones.

[6] Obviously, John Taylor.