Analysis: The Business-Social Pitfalls of The Summer Pool Party
Now that we’re officially in the dead of summer, there is ample opportunity for your team or firm to have barbecues, happy hours on the patio and if you’re really lucky, a pool party. Barbecues and happy hours are fairly simple events to master. Don’t eat too much; don’t drink too much. Overindulging in either will no doubt lead to some sort of embarrassing scenario that brands you a pig or a souse. particularly flattering.
The pool party on the other hand, presents a different dilemma entirely. Of course that will still be refreshments served and you should do your best to not wolf down hot dogs like Joey Chestnut or shotgunning beers. This will only lead to cramps in the deep end of the pool and perhaps an accidental drowning. Again, these are mortifying situations that should be avoided.
One problem that you may run into is that your gracious host may have children that are of an age where clothes are considered optional. A recent investigation has found this is acceptable depending on the child’s age, so try not to pull a Larry David later back at the office after you get an eyeful.
The second issue of importance is that of the swimming suit. On the one hand, it’s silly to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a swimming pool on a hot summer afternoon, so you best bring it if the opportunity presents itself. For those of you tempted to pull the “I can’t swim” card, I have a suggestion: LEARN. FAST. Nobody likes a party pooper and your story of nearly drowning in four inches of water in the backyard pool as a child isn’t fooling anyone.
As for the suit itself, herein lies the biggest challenge. For gents, it’s simple – stick with board shorts. You may have legs like a god but if you strut around this fiesta by a pool in Speedo you will be mocked (most likely behind your back) and rightfully so. Similarly, if you’ve reached the age where you’re comfortable with your body despite how the rest of the universe feels, this is downright offensive. People are eating for crying out loud.
The situation for the ladies, as is typical, it’s more complicated. On the one hand, bikinis haven’t considered been risqué since that crusty old partner was in short pants. However there still is contingent of society that frowns on the two-piece. From The Careerist:
One woman partner at an Am Law 100 firm in New York thinks it’s a no-win situation for most women: “I don’t think anything good comes from parading in a bathing suit in front of one’s colleagues, and certainly would question the wisdom of wearing a bikini in a business social context–no matter how young or fit one may be.” But if you must wear a swimsuit, she says, she’d opt for “a modest racing suit and a cover-up right to the water’s edge.”
Lawyers, like accountants, are a conservative lot so you could easily replace “Am Law 100” with “Big 4” and you’d have the perspective of a stuffy New York CPA. Thankfully, our friends in the west are not so prudish:
An entertainment lawyer in L.A. thinks it’s silly to be so self-conscious: “If I was 29 and had a rocking bod, I wouldn’t hesitate [about wearing a revealing suit]!” She doubts that looking “too good” is ever a career killer. “I think it depends on how you look in a bathing suit,” she says. “If you look good, go for it; if not, cover up.”
So how’s that for some honesty? It’s already been established that men in the accounting profession are pigs so there’s very little to lose if ladies decide to rock the bikini. The guys are judging you regardless. Why? Because they’re assholes. Accordingly, I stand firmly with our entertainment lawyer. Know your body and suit up accordingly.
You may have differing opinions on the matter which you’re invited to discuss them below and do share any pool party anecdotes that strike you as appropriate.