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All the Terrible Decisions You’re Going to Make on New Year’s Eve

Here's how the most stressful night of the year is going to go.

by Annie Lord; photos by Emily Bowler
31 December 2019, 9:15am

Nights out on New Year’s Eve are indicative of the person you will become in the following 12 months. You will give up lager, no longer the type of person who misses their after-work HIIT class because someone whispers, “Pint?” You will stop wasting money on tuna baguettes from Pret and save up for a house deposit. In 2020, you will take the New York City skyline poster down from your wall and actually go to New York.

The trouble is that you’ll wake up on the 1st of January, exactly the same as you’ve always been. That’s what makes us so hysterical on New Year’s Eve – every fuck-up tarnishes the heady promise of “new year, new you.” So, as 2019 draws to a close, let’s document exactly how this New Year’s Eve Behaviour will play out so you can, perhaps this time, hold it together. How’s that for a resolution?

Your Drug Dealer Is Ignoring You

He looped you into a group text warning that if you wanted drugs, you’d need to pick them up before the 27th because it’s New Year’s and it will be busy. You flicked his message away like it was an ASOS discount email. But now it’s 7PM and he said he would be here five hours ago. You sit next to a pile of £20 notes, too scared to shower in case he comes. You become the dealer’s reply guy. “Hey, just checking you saw this :).” “No pressure, was just wondering the situation is.” “Let me know if you’re still coming. Thanks!”

He doesn’t turn up. What are you going to do, leave a poor TripAdvisor review? No, you will do nothing. “I can have fun without chemicals,” you tell yourself. “I’m vegan now, anyway.” What you forget is that you don’t actually like any of your friends.

You’ve Missed the Pre-Drinks

It’s the most important night out of the year, but that’s OK, you won’t have missed much – most likely a 90s R&B Spotify playlist and people asking each other for filters. Just find one pocket and leave them there!!

Where Is the Bus Driver Going??

Roads have been blocked. Traffic is eating up the concrete of the city. But it’s only when you’ve finished the last of your G&T can and soberness cleaves around the purple ridges of your brain, that you realise you’ve driven down this street before. Passengers are enjoying eye contact on public transport for the first time in years. You arrive at the pub an hour and 20 minutes late.

You Join the Queue for the Bar Because It’s New Year and You Are Being a Good Sport

In an attempt to increase efficiency, the pub has introduced a drinks token system. As well as queuing for a drink, you now also have to queue for tokens. Streamers are half-heartedly pinned to the ceiling, presumably to justify tonight’s ten quid entry fee. The whole room is suffocating under the weight of the same banal conversation: “Can I take this chair?” If we had stayed at home, we would all have easy access to back support.

A Friends Says He Can Get You into a Club Down the Road Because He “Knows People”

The bouncer doesn’t even trouble himself with raising his eyes from the concrete pavement. “Not a chance in hell, mate.”

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WhatsApping Everyone You Know to Find a House Party

You try everyone. That girl from school you used to call “Baked Bean” because she was round and orange. The one who recently moved to London to work in finance. The Hinge date you ghosted because he showed you a really long video of himself performing spoken word. Someone saved in your phone as “Big Mikey.”

You’re fast realising you have no friends. You’re actually a really shitty person. Why do you still talk about your ex-boyfriend even though you know no-one wants to dissect the last text message he sent? Why, the last time you invited people over for dinner, did you ask them to scrape their leftovers back into the serving bowl so you could have it for lunch at work tomorrow?

Eventually, Suze gets in contact with a school friend who says everyone can come to her house. You make a vow to yourself: Next year I’m going to make friends. I will become a social butterfly. Maybe I should go to comedy improv classes?

You Get an Uber to the Party

Your friends do not split the fare with you. But you forget about the 50 percent surcharge as soon as the Uber driver starts playing Kiss FM and a song comes on that you forgot existed: Girls Aloud’s “Sound of the Underground.” The music is blasting, you watch the chicken shop facades, the pink sequinned mini dresses, the bright white jeans of a group of estate agents stream past outside. Your head is out the window – are you Lorde? Is this a Nicolas Winding Refn film? At this moment, you are no longer friends, but gals.

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You Walk into the Party and Realise the Terrible Mistake You Have Made

Someone says, “You can leave your shoes on” like it’s something of a transgression. There’s a beer pong table. There are jelly shots. People play Ring of Fire and when it gets to the “categories” round, they giggle when everyone has to name a sex toy. Someone mentions anal beads. “Alexa! Play Macklemore!” You think about that family friend you’re weirdly competitive with and wonder where they are. They’re definitely having more fun than you right now.

Where Is the Food??

I love a Dorito. I love a Dorito even more when it’s doused in red pepper hummus or sour cream and chive, because a Dorito is essentially an edible spoon and its salty bite pairs perfectly with a smooth and tasty dip. What I don’t love is parties where these snacks are not present.

The Gin Is Kicking in a Bit

Laura is actually quite sweet and seeing pictures of her parents' black Labrador, Barney isn’t that bad. You form a monopoly on the speakers and because everyone here is so placid, no one kicks up a fuss. They’ve queued “Shape of You” but you skip right past like it wasn't even there.

Someone’s Older Brother Arrives

He definitely messages 18-year-olds on Instagram saying “yorite gorgeous” and owns a Superdry coat. But this guy gives you a key of some drugs, and for that, he is great. You thank him with the earnestness of a boss thanking a student on their last day of work experience. “Honestly, thanks so much mate. Really appreciate it. If there’s anything I can sort you out with, just let me know. Honestly, don’t hesitate to ask. You’re a good bloke.”

You Bring Up Semi-Traumatic Events That Have Occurred in Your Life

  • Dead relative
  • Mental health issues
  • David Bowie's death

Choose one of the following to rant about. You seek the heady rush of closeness that comes from exchanging secrets. In the morning, recalling this conversation will make you nauseous.

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Someone Loses Their Phone

You pick up a sofa cushion and put it back down again and feel satisfied knowing that you did your bit.

Fuck, It’s the Countdown and You Need to Find Someone to Snog

Most of the men here look exactly the same. They’re all called John, James, Will, Joe or Pete; they all have grade two stubble, are wearing a white Nike t-shirt, black jeans and Adidas Gazelles, work in recruitment and look younger than they should. It makes it difficult to remember which of them have girlfriends. TEN… You sip from your glass to have something to do with your hands. NINE… You think about your ex kissing someone and it makes you feel sick. EIGHT… A guy locks eyes with you but you remember he chundered earlier in the evening. SEVEN… There’s no alcohol left in your cup for you to pretend to drink. SIX… You roll a cig to do something with your hands but can’t smoke it inside because Beth’s asthmatic. FIVE… You lock eyes with someone you briefly spoke to outside the toilet. FOUR… You both look away, mutually acknowledging that neither of you wants to snog each other. THREE… You don’t want to snog him but are actually quite offended he doesn’t want to snog you? Thing is, you’re actually objectively better looking than him. TWO… He is PizzaExpress in man form, he would be blessed to touch you. ONE… You rest your head on your friend’s shoulder as she kisses her boyfriend. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” You will never find love.

The Inevitable Text to Your Ex

The tone you think you have gone for: Relaxed, nonchalant acknowledgement of the complexities of life that prevent two people from being together. You aim to pay tribute to the part that person played in your personal growth. That it all meant something. What you actually do: “Hey u shd come her cauidad I’,m fitter than watevau sket you’re gonna get withsj”.

A Conversation with Someone You Don’t Like About How You Don’t Normally Speak But, Actually, You Have This Really Profound Respect for One Another

You hate Mark but it’s New Year and drug guy has given you a couple more bumps and you are gasping for human connection. “You know what, I know we haven’t always got on, but I have always had huge respect for you.” You both promise to go for a drink. “Right I’m going to text you on Monday, I’ll send you a text now actually, mate.” You don’t go for a drink. Instead, you both politely ignore the message. Then two years later, you wretch with anxiety when you have to message Mark about a festival ticket he’s selling and there, in the message box, is your last exchange. The drink that never was – concrete proof of your lukewarm distaste for one another.

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You Become One of Those Freaks Who Keeps Trying to Persuade People Not to Leave

You and the rest of the stragglers sit in a circle, pretending that you’re having a good time. The music is coming out of a Dell laptop because the neighbours complained and Beth is a civil servant so we can’t be loud in case she gets a criminal record. Some guy thinks playing The Streets is a good idea. Now it’s an indie band his cousin is in. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, he puts on The Frey’s cover of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” from Radio 1 Live Lounge. It’s time to leave.

Maybe 2021 will be less shit.

@annielord8

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