New Year’s Eve is upon us. Oy.
As my last few posts have hinted, I love everything about the holidays. I love the appreciation of food and friendship on Thanksgiving. I love the magic and memories made at Christmas. I love alliteration. But New Year’s? Well, it just sucks.
Not the actual new year. That part I’m all about. I relish wishing strangers, “Happy New Year!” Initially it throws them and there’s this half-second of awkward silence, but they all recover with an even more enthusiastic echo of my sentiment. It’s the little things. And cracking open my brand new planner come January 1 is Christmas morning all over again; I have 365 new gifts just waiting for me. Totally cheesy, to be sure, but also totally true.
New Year’s Eve is brutal, though. Everyone – everyone – wants to know what you’re doing that night. 200 Cigarettes hit the nail on the head. Everybody goes into panic attack mode on December 31. What are you going to wear? Where are you going to go? Who are you going to kiss? I’ve explored the options over the years. I’ve done the house party thing. I’ve done the bar thing. I went ice-skating one year and clinked champagne glasses at one of LA’s trendier restaurants – they all try to be some kind of trendy – another year. I even did the Times Square ball drop as we entered the year 2000. And though I’ve enjoyed myself at each of these outings, I’m always fantasizing about being in bed as of 12:01am.
At least in Chicago you had an arsenal of excuses if you wanted to stay home: “It’s snowing outside,” or “It’s zero degrees outside.” Something along those lines. The one time Mother Nature is your friend during a Chicago winter. People buy those excuses. They understand. After all, who wants to combat single digit temps while keeping their eyes akimbo for ice puddles all night long? Lest you forget, I would also like to remind you that the ladies are encouraged to wear attire not at all appropriate in this type of climate. Like that’s fair. I can tell you from experience that the chances of catching hypothermia from open toe heels on New Year’s Eve in Chicago are very real. And good luck trying to catch a cab.
Alas, it never snows in LA, so the excuses are somewhat harder to come by. I may be exhausted and slightly larger from a month and a half of holiday parties, but time to suck it up. Literally. Take a deep breath and force that little black dress on one last time. You have to, right? Because there’s this air of superstition that hangs over New Year’s Eve; if you have a lame night it will surely translate into an even lamer year. If you don’t have a date, forget trying to find your soul mate anytime soon. If you stay home, kiss your social life goodbye for the next year. My last New Year’s Eve was spent taking care of a dear friend who had forgotten that she and alcohol don’t mix well. New Year’s Day? It started with saltines and ended with an urgent request for me to pull over on Sunset Boulevard so that my brand-new car would avoid being christened with the remnants of cheese ball and tequila. So was the rest of my 2010 pukey as well? Not at all. I may have had one or two dry heaving moments, but all in all, it was a very good year.
A beautiful wedding doesn’t always translate into a beautiful marriage. Likewise, what you do on New Year’s Eve doesn’t decide your fate for the coming year. If you want to spend the night with hundreds of strangers in a crowded club, I say go for it. If the person you most want to spend the evening with is yourself, that’s okay, too. Whatever it is that you decide to do, be safe and have fun. Most importantly, remember that once the clock hits midnight you have in front of you an entire year to mold and make into anything you want. That is reason to celebrate.