Collage by Cathryn Virginia | Photos by PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson and Nora Carol Photography
As the year draws to an end, it’s a time for mindful contemplation. If you, dear reader, are anything like my friends and me, you’re probably spending the last days of 2022 reflecting on the time gone by and setting firm goals for a more productive, more intentional life in 2023. Just kidding. We’re not doing any of that shit. Instead, approximately 110 percent of my brain and group chat space is dedicated to one, solitary subject: What the fuck are we going to do for New Year’s Eve?
We all know NYE is a high-stakes holiday. It’s the literal last hurrah; one more shot at shots before Dry January; the only night on the calendar where it’s OK to wear sequins! But high stakes are also what makes it so easy to procrastinate on New Year’s Eve plans. It’s a lot of fucking pressure to have fun. If you’re one of the lucky few with the Eve already locked in, congratulations. You’re better than me. I envy you, I resent you, and I definitely don’t understand you. (Unless you’re on some kind of swank international family vacation—in that case, I get you and respect the hustle, but will not be watching your Instagram stories.) For everyone else, though, I believe that last-minute New Year’s Eve plans reveal something deep about the person who scrambles to make them. What you choose to cobble together on December 29 speaks volumes about you: who you are, how you move through the world, and how easy it is for you to get your friends to accept a Venmo request. Peer into my bitchy crystal ball as I divine what you choose to do on December 31 says about you.
Spending New Year’s Eve out on the town is a bold move perfect for someone with a strong constitution and a sweet tooth for molly. You’re prepared to spend a trillion dollars on transport and drinks for an evening of long lines, copious amounts of sweat, and a really fucked-up bathroom situation. In short, you’re brave. You don’t care what you’re shaking ass to, exactly, as long as you’re shaking it and/or vibrating a little from the aforementioned molly. What you do care about is your Instagram followers versus following ratio. You’ve also probably had COVID more than once, and you don’t see what the big deal about shopping at SHEIN is. Godspeed and remember to test your drugs!
Ticketed nightclub event featuring DJs you’ve never heard of
You’re cutting out the noise with a little weekend trip that, because you procrastinated, costs roughly the same per attendee as a round-trip flight to Spain. Fuck, that actually would have been a really good idea! This New Year’s Eve setup is all about you, your friends, and that one partner who’s visibly having a bad time. Someone in this lucky group of vacationers works at a startup that’s currently committing financial crimes. If you’d been more in the loop, at least a few of you would have bought tickets to Fyre Fest. You own a smartwatch and feel disappointed in yourself when you don’t meet your daily step count. If you manage to keep things more Wet Hot American Summer than Cabin Fever by making sure that everyone has a surface to sleep on with some semblance of privacy, I applaud you—and your spending power.
Making decisions is hard, so you’re choosing not to choose by saying yes to any and all invitations that come your way, no matter how geographically or psychologically inconvenient it may be to keep your promises. Which, by the way, you probably won’t, unless you promised to watch the Ball drop on your phone in the back of a stranger’s car. It’s cool, though—there’s something a little glamorous about having somewhere else to be wherever you already are. You like hard living, the kind you do when you’re fucked up on a combination of the scraps from the two or three parties you’ll manage to attend: punch, mulled wine, some guy’s poppers, and 10 mg of Adderal. Just pray that if you’re dragging a partner or a few friends along for your tour de force, they display patience and an aptitude for using Google Maps. If this is your NYE game plan, you’re banned from at least one rideshare app, you tend to read BYOB as optional, and your friends are bored of hearing you talk about your “roster.”
House party roulette
For the record, this is probably what I’m going to do on New Year’s Eve.
That half-empty bottle of Schnapps from the Christmas party you just hosted isn’t going to finish itself, so you’re falling on the sword and letting a few of your buddies get drunk at yours. You’re not looking for a night to remember for the rest of your life—you’re looking for people to get the fuck out and go to a dive bar so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of coked-out stragglers until 6:00 in the morning. Good for you! You had a serious baking phase during quarantine, and you’re going to whip up a delicious nut bread that everyone will make sure to tell you is, like, so yummy while they get crumbs on your carpet. Luckily, you own a vacuum cleaner.
Hosting a pregame and praying for the best
Ah, sweet release! You’ve liberated yourself from the shackles of going out, and you’re at least quasi-fine with the idea of declining to party. To make the night a little special, you and your live-in partner (because, come on) will cook some kind of unusual meat, throw on a movie, or pick up your respective books and read the night away on the couch. Rest assured: There will be multiple unscented candles casting a cozy glow over whatever activity you decide to do.Speaking of reading, you publicly post lists of all the books you read every year. Sometimes you even throw in a mini-review of the top ten. You also know a little too much about loose-leaf tea, and complain about back pain that could be cured with literally 20 seconds of yoga. Ultimately, you’re self-aware enough to know you won’t have fun wandering the night like a festive wraith—so maybe you alone have the energy the rest of us need to bring into this new year.Katie Way is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow her on Twitter.