If you've made it to the stage in your life where you can read and use the computer without your parents' permission, you should have worked out that New Year's Eve is total shit. No other day of the year is so consistently lame, stressful, or depressing — except maybe the day after your birthday. Also, if you actually think you're going to commit to your resolutions then you don't deserve to lose weight/run five kilometers/quit smoking/be more mindful, or whatever it is that troubled you about yourself in 2014. With all that in mind let's take a few moments to really drop our expectations as low as they'll go, and reflect on some of the shittier NYEs we've ever had.
AN AWKWARD START TO THE YEAR
My worst New Year's was in year 11. I was still pretty new to parties and was really focusing on keeping down my Woodstock while remaining upright (physically if not morally). I'd gone to the obligatory party with my best friend, who since childhood was always far better at social situations than me. At 16 she was now a fully developed, charming, and a very desired teen babe. This was best illustrated by her equally cool boyfriend who had come with us. He was a super nice dude and together they were what the movies made you think teen couples are like. I on the other hand was still letting my mum buy me jeans from Kmart. The party itself was obviously terrible but I was a kid so thought it was a Ne-Yo video come to life. I didn't mind that I didn't know anyone, or that all the boys were dirtbag skate rats because as mentioned, I was 16. I had two more Woodstocks in my backpack. Life was good.
It was a few minutes from midnight when I realised I hadn't seen my BFF for a while. I wanted to ring in the new year with her, but also didn't want to be accosted by a stranger without her protection. I was in a small group of nice, but still very cool older kids, and trying to act casual and not seem nervous about not having my wingwoman around. At the time, the height of nonchalance for me was to casually lean against a wall. So as the countdown started I did this, except it wasn't a wall, it was a window, that broke, because I fell through it.
At this stage it was embarrassing, but not the worst moment of my life. Then I looked up, I'd fallen through a bedroom window where my best friend was busy blowing her boyfriend. A lot of people leaned through after me to see if I was okay, and witnessed the insanely surreal combination of my pal screaming, her boyfriend jizzing, and everyone screaming HAPPY NEW YEAR!, all at the same time.
A few years ago my then boyfriend and I booked a beach house on the Gold Coast with three other couples. It was going to be the best trip ever, until my boyfriend dumped me on December 29. I was heartbroken and didn't want to go on the trip, but the other couples assured me it would still be fun and not awkward. Eventually I let myself be convinced that I wouldn't be a seventh wheel.
I arrived at the beach house a little later than the others, and was surprised at the cool reception I received. It later came out that they'd been chatting about the breakup over the previous couple of days and decided it was my fault. Also they probably, understandably, had second thoughts about inviting a single, miserable pal, to a couples' retreat.
They spent the next three nights, including New Year's Eve, in their rooms having very loud sex. The only time I saw any one during the whole trip was when they emerging occasionally for meals to watch fireworks, or find more condoms before going back to sex each other again.
As a final bit of awkwardness I was bunking with one of the couples, so I spent the whole weekend on the couch watching TV, crying over the breakup, feeling alienated by the other couples, and unable to go to my room because someone was having sex on or near my bed.
NEW YEAR'S SEARCH PARTY
When I was 15 some buds and I lied about spending New Year's on a yacht with a friend's family. Instead, we somehow convinced an adult to drop us off down the coast without asking too many questions. Looking back the weirdest part of this story is that at 15, my parents believed I knew someone with a yacht. Anyway, we didn't have any plans or anywhere to stay, but we were like, pfft who cares, because we had about 20 pineapple Cruisers.
After a bit of roaming we headed to the beach where, being New Year's Eve, we found a massive bonfire with heaps of people hanging out on couches getting wasted. By then we were pretty drunk and I immediately made out with several dudes who didn't know they were kissing someone in year nine. After a while I started chatting to a 19-year-old, we was super ripped and like a gymnast or something. To my teenage self, he was pretty much all my hormones in a tank top.
We chatted, did cartwheels, and he picked me up and pretended to run into the ocean. It was amazing. Eventually we walked about 100 meters away from the group and spent the next hour or so making out.
Obviously being a drunk teenager I didn't think to tell my friends where I was, but by this point they'd noticed I was missing and started asking around. From the outside the story was I'd been talking to some older dude who was last seen throwing me in the ocean. Everyone went ballistic.
I couldn't hear much down the beach because I was pretty distracted, and it was New Year's so a bit of screaming seemed normal. The whole party, now frantic, started wading out into the ocean to find me. Finally someone spotted a rock a little way out that was shaped like a body and called the cops. If you've never been cock-blocked by the police and a bunch of crying friends who thought you were dead, you haven't lived.
STINKIN' NEW YEAR
One New Year's a few years back we went to a house party at a friend's place. It started out pretty tame, but being a New Year's party it escalated quickly. By midnight it was super crowded and there was hardly room to move, we were all jammed into the back yard and there was a fair amount of pushing and shoving. As more people piled in for the countdown I was pushed further and further back until I was almost at the rear fence.
As the countdown started, there was a surge of bodies as everyone threw up their hands to scream "Happy New Year". Somewhere in the middle of this I got a sizable bump and stepped back to steady myself. As my foot touched the ground I felt the unfamiliar, but also strangely and instantly recognisable sensation of stepping in shit barefoot.
Obviously I was immediately grossed out, but worse was the realisation that I haven't seen a dog or cat all night. Rather what I'd noticed was the long line for the toilet as the small house became host to a larger and larger party as midnight crept around.
It seems that at some point people, riding high on poo-inducing party pills, figured that if pissing in the yard was an option, why not just commit and start shitting in the yard. Looking down as my soiled foot, I realised that the first moments of the new year would be spent washing another human's feces from between my toes.
WORKING ON NEW YEAR'S
The New Year's Eve following my eighteenth birthday I was working in the factory of a huge New Zealand milk company. It was just a job I picked up and left between semester breaks, but the shifts were 12-hours so it wasn't exactly an easy student job. I worked two mornings, two nights, and then had four days off. It was usually okay, except when New Year's Eve fell on my last night shift before the extended weekend. I tried to get out of it so I could enjoy the evening with my friends, but that was obviously impossible.
Being a factory there was absolutely no drinking allowed, so I treated myself to a ginger beer as compensation. It probably wasn't worth the effort anyway, as moments before midnight I hit my forehead on the bottom of a hopper, giving myself a nice head-wound, and in hindsight maybe a concussion.
Seeing I was halfway through my shift, and there was nobody they could call in who would be sober, I was deemed fit enough to continue working. A little after midnight, as my first notable act of the new year, I crashed a forklift into an air duct. I don't remember the details too well on account of the head injury, but I do remember it was a very big deal. The next few hours were spent desperately trying to fix the damage and find a maintenance person two hours into the new year.
It was 4.30AM before things had settled down enough for me to finally be able to go home. When I made it back my housemates were sitting on the couch soberly watching music videos. So at least there was comfort in the fact New Year's is always shit, whether you've sustained head trauma or not.
Illustrations by Carla Uriarte