It goes without saying that I enjoy a good night out – there’s very rarely a weekend that goes by when I’m not troubling the various establishments of Liverpool clad in the kind of vertiginous footwear that your mum would definitely disapprove of (my mum doesn’t, my mum’s cool). Whether it’s clubbing in Chibuku, watching a gig in the Kazimier or just bar hopping round the Ropewalks, there’s so much going on in this city that I find it difficult to have a sensible night in. So I don’t.
So you’d imagine that for me, the current party season is like manna from revelry heaven. Not so. For this time of year brings my most hated of pastimes – forced joviality. Work do’s, family parties and the dreaded big one – New Year’s Eve – all bring with them a sense of expectation that can taint proceedings. So being the helpful girl that I am, in a bid to stave off disappointment this year, I’ve compiled together a handy list of hints and tips on surviving the FUN.
1. Work Parties
Ahhh the traditional soiree where everyone you work with congregates together to celebrate the festive season. A lovely occasion when the dangerous equation of an unappetising buffet plus a free bar equals carnage. There will be hook ups, there will be tears, there will be telling your boss exactly what you think of them and there will be waking up the next morning with The Fear (see number 8). The only advice I can offer here is steer clear of shots (number 4) and you stand a much better chance of making it through the night without becoming the water cooler gossip topic of choice.
2. Family get-togethers
They’re your relatives, yes, but you don’t HAVE to like them. You do, however, have to put on a brave face – and a paper party hat – at least once a year and endure a grilling that the Spanish Inquisition would be proud of. If you’re single the unappetising theme will be “why don’t you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”. In a relationship – is marriage on the cards? Even getting hitched wont stop the nosey parkers – where are the babies/will you be having more? You’ll be asked if you’ve put on weight, whether you’ve grown taller, how’s your job going, have you bought a house yet, how much do you earn, who did you vote for in the X Factor/Jungle/local elections, have you got a pension, where you’re going on holiday.
Bite your tongue, plaster on the smile, be polite and escape as quickly as possible to the nearest pub – this is one occasion when an honest “mind your own beeswax” is not the best policy.
3. New Years Eve
It’s the biggest night of the year!!!! if we’re to believe the fly posters plastered around town. It’s definitely one of the most stressful occasions to organise as the first rule of New Years Eve is that you don’t talk about New Year’s Eve, or at least not directly. Instead you have to drop it casually into a conversation (“so… what you up to for New Years then?”) and hope that you’ve not asked too soon (makes you look like a control freak) or too late (a loser with no mates).
Leave it too late and you’ll end up sipping sherry in your neighbours conservatory, waiting for the Big Ben bongs to kick in and wondering exactly how Jools Holland manages to get such a stellar line up every year (here’s a clue – it’s prerecorded). At least in this scenario you wont have to deal with getting a taxi home (see point 5).
4. Blame it on the beverage
There’s always slightly more killer hangovers this time of year, often blamed on food poisoning from the dodgy looking samosas on the buffet or the chips you inhaled on the way home. It’s time to face facts: it’s the shots. Tequila makes you mental, sambuca is the devils own brew and anything luminous is not something you should ingest. Swerve the shots, save your sanity. Slightly.
5. Taxi trauma
I’m sure there are decent, respectable taxi drivers out there. Lovely guys who have a conscience. Unfortunately none of them work over Christmas. The cherry pickers are out in force, yellow lights are meaningless if they don’t deem you a good enough fare and you’ll often pay four times over the odds just to get home. Beg and plead with your dad/boyfriend/husband/mum/brother/ANYONE to give you a lift home from town – the guilt trip that they give you will be much less painful than being stranded shivering in town at 3am.
It’s an expensive time of year. Having already bought presents for everyone, you then have to fork out cash to socialise with them and after a drink or seven you’ll start getting all Flash Harry and whacking rounds of drinks (including the dreaded shots) on your card. Next thing you know you wake up the next morning with a handbag full of receipts and a vague recollection of dancing on the bar in Mojo. Be sensible, leave the card at home and take a budgeted amount of cash out with you. Don’t forget to stick an emergency tenner in your bra/sock just in case – if nothing else it’s a lovely surprise the next day.
7. A sense of loss
Did you get a new phone for Christmas? Are you all made up with it? Do you want to show it off to all your friends? WELL DON’T. Because chances are you will never see it again. Having lost numerous phones and varying other items on nights out I’ve now learnt my lesson – if you like it, leave it at home. I will always wonder exactly how I managed to lose a pair of shoes though…
8. The Fear
Everyone gets it, everyone thinks theirs is the worst. Chances are that the dread you wake up feeling after the night before is not really worth jacking in your job for. You can either laugh it off or just plead complete ignorance – it’s your call.
9. Mistletoe/the Chimes
Despite what some people might tell you, you don’t have to kiss anyone who brandishes a sorry looking bunch of mistletoe above your head. Nor is it legally binding that the NYE clock ticking over to 12 means you must neck the nearest person. Oh, and lads who hang it from their belt loop: who are you kidding?
10. Social media
Facebook has changed the landscape of socialising forever. It used to be that you could buy one dress and rock it at repeated events but photo tagging put an end to that. And all those unflattering photos that you’d “lose” on the way home from getting developed are now starkly displayed for the world to see. Cheers Zuckerberg, you goon.
There’s little more chilling than waking up to an email informing you that you have been “tagged in 78 photos” so you can either stay on your guard all night, posing like Zoolander, or you can delete your Facebook account. I did the latter; if I don’t see the photographic evidence, it didn’t happen.