“You can see this everywhere you go: young middle-class people whose lives are beginning to disappoint them making too much noise in restaurants and clubs, and wine bars. ‘Look at me! I’m not as boring as you think I am! I know how to have fun!’ Tragic. I’m glad I learned to stay home and sulk.” – Nick Hornby
Here’s a secret: I don’t like parties very much. This isn’t a big secret, as I’m sure most of my friends hate me for it (possibly one of the many reasons why I also only have about 2 of those critters left) but I thought I’d share it since tomorrow is the biggest party of the year: New Year’s Eve. I’m sure we’re all aware of the New Year’s Eve curse, that being that if you plan too much it won’t go to that plan, plus it always manages to be a let down. Last year things did go to plan, but admittedly they were pretty dismal plans: invite 2 friends over, make some fun drinks, that’s it.
I enjoy parties that are held at places close to my own house, preferably where I’ve been before and with people I mostly know. I also don’t like there to be any rowdy young men (read angry 17 year old boys on drugs) or old mate dickheads, or skanks, or parties that have that tense, danger coming energy. I like ones that involve awesome chats, good music that isn’t so loud people seem to buckle under it and with visible exits. I don’t like aresholes in crack houses where I don’t know anyone and all the men have spaced out eyes and the bathroom is permanently occupied by drug users and there are shirtless neighbours attempting to gate crash, and the moment someone suggests people do something crazy I’m outta there quicker than I can put my coat on.
Basically, to anybody who likes to get loud, drunk and crazy I’m a total bore. I can’t help it if my idea of a good time is in a cosy pub having a great conversation with some smart, funny people over some food instead of skulling something potent to maxed out speakers with party people who seem to have a need to yell at each other. Some of us just swing that way. You’ll know us because we use phrases like ‘swing that way’.
Plus, alcohol puts me to sleep. Only takes two drinks and I’m head down snoring – until bed time when I’m suddenly wide awake and suffering a headache. In Australia, alcohol is the center of any party or gathering, and people will generally not listen the first time you say “No thanks,” to their offer of a beer, mate. This isn’t so bad, I don’t normally bend to peer pressure, but I do seem a downer when I turn down their offers. New Years is the biggest drinking night of the year, aside from Australia Day (I assume) and so I tend to try to steer clear of any alcohol fueled parties, and that’s hard because everyone from my 50 year old mother to my younger cousins are on it.
My biggest problem is feeling safe. I do not feel safe around people who have been drinking when I have not. Anxiety makes me run away from the trigger and hide somewhere where I can be comfortable. I’d very much to like to be able to have a party where I can be comfortable and have fun but of course, life doesn’t happen that way. When you’re an anxious sort of person there are no chances for your friends to care what you’re up to when they just want to let loose like normal people. I just want to have a good time that actually involves me having a good time. You can say, ‘well just go to the party and let your hair hang down and you’ll get over it!’ but changing who you are is hard, and mostly requires that alcoho concoction, and well, I don’t want to fall asleep during my metamorphosis from sitting in the corner to party fiend.
I have to admit, though, that when the clock starts ticking past 10 I start to get itchy feet. A feeling of dread fills up my stomach and sweat drips on the back of my neck. Smiles stop and a mad dash to the phone to find something to do begins. Am I too late? Am I missing out on something? Fueled by the desire to not miss out on memories being made without me I push myself up and head somewhere. And then, inevitably, I wish I was back home. Fickle minded, me.
This year, you’ll find me in the kitchen making dinner and drinks for two. It’ll be Monday for New Year here so most people (including my boyfriend) will be working. I’m okay with that, though. It means that after he’s finished he can come home to a feast (of sorts, there won’t be a dead pig as a centre piece or anything) and a movie and we’ll take it from there.