Ariana is 29 years old, attractive career woman – or rather, she retains the last vestiges of her youthful beauty. OK, Ariana was never a stunner, never a first-rate head-turner. But with her slender body, her long, thick black hair and a mischievous face that suggested a profound appetite for naughtiness, she was sexy.
I use the past tense for a reason. In the two years we have worked together, I have observed a definite depreciation in her looks. In part, this is due to her love of binge drinking. Alcohol remains endemic in many industries in London, not least ours, where entertaining clients is a central part of the job.
Ariana attacked that duty with gusto, and the empty calories she loaded into her system over many drunken nights meant that she ended up carrying considerably more weight than when she started. Not enough to make her obese, but enough to render her formerly shapely legs matronly, and to give her once-angular features a doughy appearance. These unfortunate adjustments amended my rating of her from “would definitely bang” to “would probably bang, provided it were easy and there were no other options available.”
But Ariana was much-loved at work for her madcap ways and the amusing stories that her frequent inebriation provided. For her last day in the office, another (female) colleague prepared a PowerPoint presentation displaying some of her “finest” moments. The slides were largely composed of photographs taken from Ariana’s Facebook page. Many of them featured close-ups of her increasingly bloated, drunken face as she careened from one crazy night out to the next. One slide was dedicated to her love of drinking whiskey. Another to her penchant for red wine. A third focused on the short skirts she liked to wear.
More slides revealed her “yolo” exploits in the various five-star hotels in New York and Berlin the company had put her up in for business events. Her talent for attracting beta orbiters was referenced; and the fact that she had been banged by a male colleague was revealed on a slide celebrating her “horndog” nature. My assembled colleagues hooted and guffawed at these images, while Ariana looked on, held in the embrace of another girl, close to tears at her impending departure.
Tellingly, not one of the slides referred to her professional capabilities. To be fair, her skills were complimented by two of her managers in their summing-up. Apparently, Ariana had proved herself to be a linchpin of her team, and she had been personally responsible for managing multi-million pound accounts. Personally, I am skeptical. I worked on projects with her a few times: she was rubbish.