1) The Place
If you are lucky enough to be inundated with party offers, choosing the right one is a bit like a game of Russian roulette. Nobody seems to be able to cope with being in the same place at the same time. We spend all night chasing that elusive (and perhaps entirely fictional) seductress- ‘the party’. 10pm, squashed on a sofa sipping on flat champagne your fingers begin to itch next to your phone. Do you stick or twist? ‘The party’ doesn’t seem to be here- but maybe she’ll turn up around 11? Heaven forbid if you left now only to be told tomorrow that it had the ‘absolute best time ever’ and you had missed out.
The cardinal rule of NYE is this: don’t spend it racing from place to place or you will end up doing the countdown sprawled across the back seat of the bus. Thoroughly research your options and don’t conform to vague plans of ‘going with the flow’. It never works. Make a plan with the people you care about then work on bringing ‘the party’ to you. This immediately eliminates the excruciating stress of wondering whether you should be somewhere else. Avoid the clichés; Times Square, Trafalgar Square (anyplace that is going to appear on TV essentially) as the tubes will be rammed, it will be freezing cold and you will almost definitely lose something, even if it is only your will to live.
2) The People
Do an honest CT scan of your motives: are you suddenly keen on going to your ‘friend’s brother’s friend’s’ party because you just found out the person you fancy will be there (neglecting the small detail that they will be the only person there that you know)? You want to be surrounded by your friends on NYE, not nervously circling a room full of strangers. This scenario almost always results in a severe bout of ‘nervous drinking’ and the whole evening going down in the archives as ‘that time when you passed out on the bonnet of someone’s car’. If you’re going to get absolutely legless and embarrass yourself, an unfortunate fate that befalls many of us, make sure you’re around your friends. The real ones mind, ones who would stop you trying to do the splits up the wall and not even mind when you make them look for your camera for hours before noticing it’s around your wrist.
There is a potent but totally artificial sense of occasion on New Year’s Eve. That dangerously cavalier ‘if you can’t say it at Christmas when can you say it?’ sense of romance, which had been ebbing away ever since Boxing Day, returns for one final, lethal attack. This is when you whip out your phone with great panache and confidently tap in that strictly verboten number- the ex or the person you fancy. That number you absolutely promised not to ring when you got drunk. However, as the countdown starts you suddenly seem to occupy a magical other dimension where the ‘moment is right’. Suddenly the slurred ‘I love you/ I hate you/ I need you are clattering their merry way straight into the person’s voicemail boxes, irretrievable. There is always someone you shouldn’t be calling at midnight. Better get your friend to take your phone hostage until this thrilling urge releases you from its grip.
4) The Aftermath
After your incredibly successful NYE, having lost your wallet, lost everyone at the countdown and ended up wailing a Bridget Jones-esque rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ down the phone, there are two things you must remember. Number 1: however great everyone’s facebook photos look- the ones from the party you were totally meant to go to captioned ‘best time ever’- have a look at your own photos and remind yourself that yours also look convincingly fantastic. Number 2: we never learn from our NYE mistakes. Next year we will do the same things all over again just like everyone else.
Happy New Year!