Gaffney: Why New Year’s Eve never fulfills expectations

Ever since the dawn of time, New Year’s Eve has become a night etched into history – renowned for celebration, camaraderie and cheer. Oh yes, bid goodbye to all the mistakes and embarrassments that you fell victim to this year. They will all be washed away with the dubious consumption of bubbly alcohol. Thus, New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a night of merriment and joy. It has also become a night of unabashed public pressure and social degradation.

In recent times, New Year’s Eve has been portrayed by the media as a Great Gatsby-like extravaganza – complete with glittery outfits and snobby champagne flutes. Everything that is akin with cinematic melodrama should happen on New Year’s Eve. The slow-motion, head-turning arrival into the party. The effortlessly cool banter with old friends. That ethereal midnight kiss.

However, life generally doesn’t work out like this. In fact, life never works out like this. Instead of partying and looking like the beauteous crossbreed of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, we find ourselves falling deeper and deeper into the crevices of our sofa. Typically with a box of stale chocolate in tow.

Whenever I ask my colleagues about New Year’s Eve plans, there seems to be frantic responses trying to come up with worthy plans. “Oh yeah, I may be going to my friend’s party but there’s also a high chance I’ll be forcefully spooning my cat and drying my tears with its fur.”

In short, I began thinking. New Year’s Eve is only one night – supposed to be extra commemorative and special due to it signaling the end of the year – but really there are many different types of New Year’s Eves that we can enjoy/endure. Which brings me to an even more inquisitive conclusion.

Does the ‘perfect’ New Year’s Eve even exist?

The (Good) New Year’s Eve Party

Although this won’t happen as memoir-worthy as you hope, it will still serve its purpose. This is the option is most pleasant due to being conforming to all of the societal standards of New Year’s Eve. More likely than not, the best outcome of this option will be some sensuous photos with friends to prove that yes, you are popular and good-looking! Contrastingly, the worst outcome of this evening will be cradling your toilet bowl in the wee hours of the early morning, wondering why you’d ever subject yourself to such misery.

The (Bad) New Year’s Eve Party

Oh god, you don’t want this one. Anything but this. A night like this is born out of the aforementioned high expectations of a socially acceptable New Year’s Eve. This night does in fact contain all the melodrama that you imagined. Just not the good kind. You’ll probably find yourself fending off deeply-harbored insults from various high school nemeses and either struggling to find alcohol or wading in intoxication so deep you’ll wonder if it’s ever possible to come back into the light of sobriety.

The Virtual Times Square New Year’s Eve

Probably the most common night for the average American as well as the most neutral. This night is probably the least emotionally or physically damaging. It consists of becoming one with your couch pillows and watching as Ryan Seacrest and Disney has-beens desperately sing the night away in New York City until that crystalline ball drops. To be honest, you’ll probably be half-asleep with a bag of chips in hand before the newest twelve-year-old sensation even begins her horrific song.

The Crying-into-your-cat New Year’s Eve

Potentially my favorite option for being so terrible. This night occurs when there is no party to attend and your parents have elected to go to the local wine bar instead of spending time with you. So thus, you crawl into your bed and force your pet to love you, as much as they also probably have plans for the evening. Your resentment mixes in with your lack of self-worth as you pen some generically depressing poems in hopes of highlighting your deep angst towards New Year’s Eve.

So what’s the resolution? Just relax. New Year’s Eve should be spent with a couple of your favorite people – whether that be family or friends or indeed your cat – and sharing a couple laughs over the highs and ever-present lows of 2014. Don’t feel the pressure of Project X partying or listening to Ryan Seacrest. Just relax and share a toast to the New Year. May it hopefully be less humiliating than this one.

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Ciara Gaffney

Ciara Gaffney