“No New Year’s Eve party? I’m delighted!”
Our Fabulous ColuMNIst sHarEs tHE rEal sECrEt to a HaPPy NEW yEar
says allison Pearson
One of life’s best-kept secrets is that New Year’s Eve is hell. shhh! I know you’re not supposed to say so. I know you’re meant to pretend you’re going somewhere fabulous in a feather boa and it will be fun, fun, fun, darling, instead of sitting in front of the tV watching fireworks in sydney and scotsmen doing mysterious things with coal.
but, honestly, I hate New year’s Eve. all that enforced jollity, the shouty counting down to midnight, the pretence that the passing of time is a happy thing when actually it’s a bit sad; the gulping down of cheap fizz, which you know will turn your poor head into a clanging steelworks by the morning. Even singing Auld Lang Syne, pretending you understand the words, crossing hands and waggling your elbows up and down like a funky chicken with people you’ve only just met, and hope never to see again.
the New year’s Eve party has one obvious drawback. at a normal party, you can make your excuses around
11 – “Mustn’t miss our train!” “Got to get back for the dog!” – but at New year you’re trapped until at least 12.20am. the good booze will have run out long ago, as will the canapés, so, in mounting desperation, you find yourself glugging lukewarm garage Chardonnay out of a plastic cup and finishing up the twiglets dust with a licked finger. Maybe that’s just me.
If you’re the designated driver, then God help you. there you are, frighteningly sober in a churning sea of revellers, most of them overemotional because they realise another year has passed and they’re still roughly the same weight, they want a divorce and this night, of all the 365 nights, is supposed to be “the best party ever”. so how come they feel bored and lonely? It’s too much for one little night to bear, it really is.
as if all of the above weren’t bad enough, chances are you will have consumed more carbs in December than in the other 11 months put together. Mince pies, roast potatoes, leftovers dipped in mayo (can’t let them go to waste, can you? terribly bad for the environment). thanks to this lack of self-control, when the time comes to put on your gorgeous New year’s Eve lace frock, the effect may be less angelina Jolie, more Miss Piggy. Hell hath no fury like a woman 7lb overweight who is trying to do up a side zip at 8.06pm on 31 December. believe me, I have been that frantic female.
one New year, I invested in some industrial-strength control pants specifically to redistribute the Christmas flab. the effect was miraculous. My spare tyre was forced up several inches to create a sensational cleavage, leaving behind a pleasingly dainty waist. thoughts that I could give the hourglass Kim Kardashian a run for her money lasted until Himself had to drive me to a&E with what I assumed was a heart attack. a harassed junior doctor pointed out rather wearily that acute, excruciating indigestion is a well-known side-effect of wearing a corset. I ended up toasting the arrival of 2008 with a bucket of antacid. Never again.
It’s FoMo – fear of missing out – that makes New year’s Eve so stressful.
When you’re young, the idea of spending 31 December quietly at home with family or friends is horrifying. long ago, I remember being in trafalgar square with my then boyfriend. We were carried along on a swirling sea of strangers counting down the seconds to 1982. It was exhilarating and I loved it. but time feels different – infinite – when you’re in your twenties with your whole life ahead of you.
Now, in my fifties, I take a different approach. the past 12 months have been tough with more than their fair share of ups and downs, of illness and heartbreak. there were times, I’ll admit, when I wondered how I was going to get through it. as 2018 swings on its hinges,
I will walk through the door into next year with a small group of people that I love, people who were there for me as I am for them. that’s one of the best things about ageing. you can’t have old friends when you’re young, can you?
I no longer suffer from FoMo, thank goodness. If Himself and I are not invited to a New year’s Eve party, I’m delighted. at least it means I don’t have to come up with an excuse for turning it down. “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier’,” the poet tennyson said. Very true. I will be crossing that threshold in comfy leisurewear not spanx, relaxing with loved ones instead of partying with strangers and nary a feather boa in sight. Now, that’s what I call a Happy New year. w&h
That’s one of the best things about ageing. You can’t have old friends when you’re young, can you?