The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

So it’s New Year’s Eve. Time to get all dolled up, the bet­ter to stuff your face with still more turkey and ham and cheap cham­pers—as if al­ready you’d not had enough the past weekend. You paste on the wa­ter vul­ner­a­ble, know­ing only too well your face will be tear-streaked be­fore half the night has passed. To think you frit­tered away over $200 at a sweat-box sa­lon for a hairdo des­tined to turn into a bird’s nest be­fore dawn. And let’s not even start off on that one-size­too-small out­fit that’s got your lungs scream­ing for air. At least you’ll have tucked away in your clutch a comfy pair of san­dals. Hey, no­body is so crazy as to con­sider spend­ing a whole night in heels that make even your head spin af­ter three or four hours on your feet. Ah, yes, the tor­tur­ous rit­u­als of New Year’s Eve, a night sure to end for the ma­jor­ity in tears—if only over the loss of a cher­ished, re­cently ac­quired by what­ever means IPhone. The es­pe­cially lucky might suf­fer only a shat­tered screen but then what’s so lucky about that when it’s still good rea­son to cry like a baba . . . al­beit a boozy baba?

As I say, this ridicu­lous and in­sanely ex­pen­sive ad­dic­tion that so many have re­peat­edly re­solved not to re­peat is a master when it comes to dis­guis­ing it­self as a good time. Con­sider the fol­low­ing: What­ever your cho­sen venue, the pa­tron to bar­tender ra­tio is typ­i­cally twenty-five to one. If you’re not pop­ping bot­tles, still the open bar re­sem­bles a no­holds-barred fight in the mid­dle of Jeremie Street. Al­ready drunk peo­ple shout­ing at the top of their drunken voices for the bar­man’s at­ten­tion; food lines rem­i­nis­cent of Wings of Love clear­ance sales. Mean­while you’re hang­ing on to that reg­u­lar ad­mis­sion ticket that en­ti­tles you to an oc­ca­sional rum and Coke that’s mainly wa­ter. New Year’s Eve is fi­nally a mind-blow­ing cel­e­bra­tion, guar­an­teed to leave em­ployed and un­em­ployed de­pressed and more broke on the first day of the New Year!

Christ­mas shop­ping and Christ­mas par­ties cleaned out your bank or credit union ac­count. You promised your­self you’d try to be re­spon­si­ble this time around but, as usual, that prom­ise went the way of sev­eral be­fore it. Say­ing no proves yet again to be beyond your pow­ers. And now you’re about to break still an­other prom­ise to your­self: to go easy this New Year’s Eve. Yeah, right.

Let’s talk about that other mag­i­cal rit­ual: the NYE kiss. What a job the com­mer­cial houses have done on us, mak­ing every­one be­lieve that when the clock strikes twelve ev­ery ugly duck­ling with a head full of liquor will sud­denly turn from Cin­derella’s step­sis­ters into Princess What­ever—in the arms of some­one who won’t turn out to be the Prince of Wails. In prepa­ra­tion for this promised trans­for­ma­tion, sin­gles scram­ble all over in search of some­one will­ing to suck on a mix of spicy food and stale al­co­hol—the mag­i­cal mid­night kiss. An­other hope doomed to be dashed!

But take heart, dear fel­low trav­eller. When­ever you get out of bed, there star­ing you in the face is your op­por­tu­nity for a fresh start; It need not be a spe­cial time of year. So what is it that makes New Year’s Day so ab­so­lutely spe­cial? Chances are you’ll be chomp­ing down on some un­recog­nis­able left­overs per­chance to get rid of your han­gover from the pre­vi­ous night. Re­mem­ber? Or you’ll be watch­ing an HBO marathon in­stead of mak­ing it to the gym. Why bother start­ing fresh on 1 Jan­uary? Al­ready you’ve bro­ken at least three New Year res­o­lu­tions . . . Yup, a big NYE usu­ally means a ter­ri­ble headache on the first day of Jan­uary, puke residue on your hard-earned $400 dol­lar dress and bath­room tiles, and blurry images of what hussy hor­rors may or may not have oc­curred be­tween you and your sud­denly not so sig­nif­i­cant other.

Dam­mit, we know sev­eral bet­ter ways to start our year— any year. So why do we in­sist on go­ing down this par­tic­u­lar road, year af­ter year, that’s guar­an­teed to leave us feel­ing aban­doned, de­pressed, hung up and more of­ten than not dead broke? We have an­other op­por­tu­nity this weekend not to drink our­selves un­der the ta­ble or some­thing worse, and to get up in the morn­ing ea­ger to con­front what­ever it is 2017 might have in store for us. (We can dream, right?) In any event, YOLO— Happy New Year!

We en­joy a dif­fer­ent kind of New Year ball in Saint Lu­cia but the con­se­quences are sim­i­lar to those that ac­com­pany the low­er­ing of the ball in New York and in cel­e­bra­tions else­where.

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