Monday, December 31, 2012

Not-so-Great Expectations - Thoughts on NYE

I like to go out.

If you know me (and if you're reading this, chances are that you know me pretty well), you will know that I go out pretty frequently.  Maybe a little too frequently for a man of my age, but that's another post entirely.  For our purposes here, it is important to establish that I do, in fact, go out, with friends, to bars, have drinks, and have a good time.

I just don't like to go out on New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve kinda sucks.  And it does so on a number of different levels.

Level 1: Inexplicable Societal Pressure

I have no idea how this happened (any social anthropologists in the house?), but for some reason society dictates that you are supposed to go out and tear it up at the end of the calendar year.  However, this can't just be a run-of-the-mill, bomb drink and tequila-fueled drinking binge.  No, New Year's Eve (NYE) absolutely must achieve a level of fabulosity at least 2 notches above a normal night out.  This means that throughout the night, instead of having schlubby, drunk strangers spilling Miller Lite all over your T-shirt and jeans, you will instead have well-dressed strangers spilling Moet&Chandon all over the same suit and shoes that you need to wear to your next job interview.  At the stroke of midnight, you are also required to find someone with whom to share a toast of champagne, and a storybook kiss in order to properly ring in the hopes and optimism of a fresh 365.

I just don't get this.  I've never gotten this.  Even now, at a point in time where I have actually acquired a bit of a taste for fancy cocktails, own more than one suit, and am married to a lovely girl who I am 99.9999% sure will kiss me at midnight (risk of early pass-out notwithstanding), I still resent the idea that if I am not checking off every box on this unspoken checklist that I am not having a proper NYE.

Level 2: The Amateur Night Effect

NYE ranks right up there with Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day as the worst days of the year for rookie, or out-of-form boozehounds who can't pace themselves properly.  Hey, we've all been there, and I am perfectly willing to indulge, and even assist, one or two such lost souls on any other given evening.  But the sheer number of these poor, overwhelmed, thin-livered, shot-drainers on NYE introduces a powder keg element to the evening that can only end either in blood or vomit (and very often, both).

It's all the more tragic, because so many of these erstwhile NYE partiers approach the night with the expectation that it will be one of their big highlights of 2012, and instead simply winds up as yet another blackout story - this time with a more expensive purse to puke in.

Level 3: The Price Gouging

There is nothing worse than going to one of your regular spots on NYE - your favourite neighbourhood bistro, or your go-to sushi joint - and seeing that they have replaced their regular menu with an uninspired prix-fixe offering featuring a generic, chicken-based thing that the kitchen can crank out quickly, steaks that will invariably be overdone and served cold, and a trite, albeit proven, dessert that will do just enough to make you think you had an OK meal... until you get the check.

And then you will nod your head and think to yourself, "oh yeah, it's New Year's Eve... #@^%&!"

I understand this.  Supply and demand.  Because of the amateur night effect (see above), demand for tables is higher, supply is constant, ergo, prices go up.

Just because I understand it, doesn't mean I don't hate it.

Level 4: The Power of Self-Deception

Show of hands: How many of you go through this same process every year, remark on how much you dislike NYE, and yet, 364 days later, are somehow able to talk yourself into doing it all over again?

Come on, let's see them...

Be honest now...


Yeah... thought as much.

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