Dear New Year’s Eve,
Here’s the thing. You have got to be the most disappointing night of the year, bar none. And I go into you with such low expectations!
This is what we want New Year’s Eve to look like, theoretically. When we are ten or so. By the time you’re in your mid-20s, past experience with New Year’s has beaten you so far down you don’t even dream that it will be like this:
You arrive at the masquerade ball in a glittering dress, cut down to there and up to here, hair a cascade of curls, beaded mask not able to disguise the smolder of your eyes. A handsome waiter glides past you with a tray of champagne, which you lightly lift as you look about. A chandelier dazzles from the soaring cathedral ceilings of the ballroom as the band strikes up (you know how to dance). You whirl from the arms of one stranger to another as the champagne flows freely and the celebration brings in a new year full of promise. (All your girlfriends are there and you regularly swap meaningful eye contact about the men in the room and rush off to the bathroom, where you find your hair is still perfect and not a touch of sweat mars your perfect brow.) At midnight, the man who has returned again and again to take you in his arms and glide you across the floor returns. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He slips off your mask as the countdown begins, and kisses you softly, then madly, as bottles pop and voices rise in Auld Lang Syne.
You forget where you are and make out on the dance floor. Then boogie. Then make out some more, drink straight out of a champagne bottle, wake up with a wicked hangover and some questionable decisions behind you.
I’m all about it. Let’s do it. Anybody have a dress, band, man, ballroom, a couple hundred extras (duh the room has to be full or it doesn’t work), and some perfect hair I can borrow?
This is what New Year’s usually looks like:
No one will commit to all meet up in one place because everyone’s holding out for something bigger and better. Going downtown is too expensive and taxis are a pain in the ass to get and it’s dangerous to drive around on New Year’s. No one wants to do just do the “same old thing”. Or bar crawl. If you bar crawl or party hop, you’re just likely to miss the most fun forty-five minutes of any given party, which, to be honest, is about all most parties get. Finally, you block at a place “to start”. You appease everybody by assuring them that after you all meet up, you can all move on to someplace “more fun”. Half the people bail anyway, deciding the night will either be a bust and deciding to stay home with the cat or deciding at the last minute to go to “that asshole’s party I don’t even like but at least there will be a lot of people and booze there.” The other half show up and spend a solid amount of the time complaining that they want to go/be somewhere else. No one can agree on where. You all give up and walk down to the nearest dive bar. There are some people there, but not enough to satisfy that one friend who is always convinced the next bar will be better. Besides, s/he says, the music sucks here. You all walk down the street to the next bar. You get convinced to go downtown, against your better judgment. It takes an hour for the taxi to get the bar. It’s 11:30. It takes 20 minutes to get downtown, where you discover it’s going to be $30 to get into the party that doesn’t even look that awesome. You all argue about it and decide to pay, because it’s too late to get yourselves anywhere else. But it’s cash only. You’re in the 7-11 across the street getting cash back when it turns midnight. The sketchy guy behind the counter wiggles his eyebrows at you and you gag a little bit. Happy New Year’s, you mumble, as you hurry out the door. You hug your girlfriends. You wait three hours for a taxi and finally call your younger brother to come get you. He’s wasted and making out with his girlfriend. You’re sober enough to drive but you don’t have a car, because this was not how it was supposed to go.
Anyway, tonight I will go to my sister’s, where I will try to convince everyone to just stay there and not try to go downtown at the last minute to some party somebody heard something about. I will agree to walk ten minutes to the neighborhood bar which is having a no-cover old-school dance party. If even that is a bust I will eat more homemade carmel corn and play scattergories. And it will be fun.
And at midnight I will pop a popper. Which is really all I ask of New Year’s at this point.
Though, if anyone wants to plan a massive masquerade ball for next year…tell me now so I can start raising my hopes from the very low mundane place they now call home on New Year’s Eve. It wouldn’t do to go to a masquerade in my sweatpants.
HAPPY NEW YEAR’S, Y’ALL!