I recently started clerking at a law firm with the hopes of translating this into a permanent position. I have been invited to the annual firm soiree. Can I bring my boyfriend? He doesn't quite fit in the "corporate mold", but he is my beloved and I want him there with me to meet my new colleagues and keep me company. Please advise.
First and foremost, ascertain that you are invited with a guest before you make any plans. Crashing the party, regardless of his charming manners, witty reparte and becoming attire would be a colossal gaffe.
As far as the "non corporate mold" situation....Well, Graces are all for personal style and freedom of expression, but these habits must be tempered by appropriate dress and conduct for the occasion. Scarlett O'Hara aside, you wouldn't go horseback riding in a ball gown, would you? Apply this rule to the corporate setting. If your BF can't doff his Goth Garb and comb his hair for an evening in the interests of your professional advancement, then maybe he should stay home, pop some corn, and have a steaming cup of cocoa and a loving embrace waiting for you when you arrive. No problem, just not his thing. Unless, of course, it is a problem.
If your date looks more like this:
then fitting him into the law firm mold is going to be a constant challenge. But my guess is that your Grant, like most, fits somewhere in between these two.
If you must attend a firm function with a date and it must be him, request that he don an appropriate ensemble, walk the walk and talk the talk--it won't permanently scar him, I promise. (You will most certainly owe him a favor, and I'm sure he'll think of something.....) Fairly or not, the Human Resource Department is looking for insight into you, and the company you keep provides a lot of information.
Know this, my dear Grace: If this is an issue for the two of you, it is not likely to disappear. You may want to rethink the whole relationship if he won't make some small, temporary concessions in the interests of your future prospects, and he may want to rethink the whole relationship if he will be placed in uncomfortable situations on account of your goals and aspirations.
In a perfect world, everyone would be open minded and tolerant. People would be judged on their personalities and actions as opposed to the bull rings protruding from their noses or their inability to make polite small talk. But we live in the real world and I must advise you based on the way it is. And truthfully, Graces, I don't want to see track suits, muscle Ts or disfiguring facial 'adornments' at my dinner parties. So spread the word: look in the mirror, scan your date and get it right.