Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Old Acquaintance

Lest you believe we thought the holidays were over after Christmas.

The New Year is a holiday with an interesting metaphor behind it.  As we celebrate the birth of a new year we simultaneously mourn the passing of another.  When midnight strikes on December 31st, everything 2010 could have been will fade into the realm of never was, but everything 2011 might be will become possible.  This funeral and birth bring the hopes and dreams of everything we now have 365 days to accomplish to the forefront of our minds.  We make resolutions on the grave of the old year, swearing we will do better this time around.  The year is a living thing to us, representing not a measure of time but an avatar of hope, one which we are, sometimes desperately, counting on to come through for us.

For the purposes of this commentary, I will stay away from assessing the usual suspects of resolutions; changes in body and mind, success in love and business, taking chances you promised to take the year before.  I would like to believe that this year everyone will put forth the effort to get what it is they want from life. So, I will refrain from discussing the more serious nature of self-improvement and taking action in the new year and instead focus on the day itself, and the proper, gentlemanly behavior one should exhibit upon ringing it in.

Please note: College students should feel free to disregard the following.

Getting Friends Together

So, it is New Years Eve and you want to celebrate.  Capital!  But you can't celebrate the New Year alone, that's a sad testament to how the old one treated you.  And probably a few before it.  To that end, you need friends to celebrate with!  Wait, there's a decision to make here.  Do you throw your own party or seek out one being propagated by others?  Keep in mind that if you decide to host your own event, there will be many other soirees competing for attendance.  Here is a quick right and wrong example of how to invite people over to yours in light of this fact.

The Right Way:

Hello friends!  I certainly understand that you likely have many parties to attend this New Years Eve, but I do hope you'll make time for mine!  Spirits and snacks will be served, and all are welcome to partake.  See you then!

The Wrong Way:

Come to the best fucking party this year is going to see!!!  The other parties like the one Roger is throwing are lame bullshit and will suck, I know because Roger is a douchebag who fucking steals girls YOU KNWE FOR THREE YEARS I WANTED TO ASK HER OUT ROGER.  I DONT EVEN WANT THAT SLUT NOW AND I DON't WANT TO SEE THE FUCKING VIDEO QUIT ASKING.   So fuck Roger, come to my place and get hammered.  Bring your own booze.  Peace!

So as you can see, spelling and punctuation are an important part of getting people to think about stopping in to celebrate with you.  When people see you've taken the time to attend to details, they will be more apt to choose your party as the place they want to be.  Which brings us to . . .

The Celebration

Now that we have our friends together, either at your place or at a friend's house, we have hours to kill in the time before we watch the ball come down in New York City, marking another successful voyage by the Earth around its closest star.  As a party host, the Gentleman puts out a spread his guests can be happy with.  Snacks should be varied and plentiful, and include the standard dips and garnishes a party guest expects.  There is no need to break out the fine china or order caviar; provide within your means and chances are everything will go smoothly.  What will matter the most is your conduct.

Like I said earlier, New Years is a special balance of time, an observance of both birth and death.  Both usually involve the imbibing of alcohol, and this is no exception.  So whether at your own place or celebrating with someone else, there are certain lines which should not be crossed.

Moderation is key.  Participate in a toast at midnight, and perhaps nurse a drink during some casual conversation regarding the weather or local sporting teams, particularly the inferiority of rival clubs.  By the end of the evening you should be pleasantly warmed, but neither tipsy nor drunk.  Maintain your dignity.  Remember, you are both observing a birth and attending a funeral.  Make a positive impression.  Here are some key guidelines to observe;

1) Most people will be there with their significant other.  As such, advances are most likely unwelcome, no matter how sure you are that they were totally checking you out.

2) In the event you are certain a fellow party-goer IS romantically unattached, do not assume that your level of attraction to the opposite sex correlates with how much alcohol you consume.  By the same token, please try to bear in mind what that person looked like before you started drinking in the first place.

3)  If liquor is provided, it belongs to everybody and should be distributed evenly.  Look around the party.  If you are three times as drunk as everybody else, you have wronged two people there.  If you are three times as drunk as everybody else combined, you may want to consider arranging transport to a hospital.  Before doing so, do ensure that you have all the clothes you came in with, and that you're still at the right party.

4) Generally speaking, no amount of nudity is considered acceptable.

5) Never, ever throw up on anything that has a soul.


The time comes for the ethereal transition from one year to the next.  No one can really describe it, but there is a definitive feeling, perhaps a subconscious realization of the fresh start we face, as soon as the clock hits midnight.  People toast, loved ones share a kiss, and we begin anew.  This is a critical time, as there are customs to observe and any gentleman will be mindful of them.

If you are in attendance by yourself, it is traditional to take part in the New Years toast, which will be given by the host.  If you are not the host, do not assume it is your right to include your own toast or talk over the host as they are delivering it.  Even if the content is lackluster and you just know everyone is secretly groaning inside and hoping someone speaks up to liven this thing up with a toast about excessive consumption and sexual promiscuity, I ask you to refrain.  On that subject, if by some chance you are asked to provide the toast, keep the company in attendance in mind when considering how many references to specific examples you intend to cite.

On the subject of the customary kiss.  This is to be performed exactly at midnight with your significant other.  Like with most things, there are careful rules to abide by when the clock tolls 12.  First, and most importantly, make sure the person you're with actually is your loved one.  Details like this are crucial towards making a positive impression on other party guests, and in most cases your actual partner will not look kindly on such an error on your part.  Second, a New Years kiss is given a wider berth than most public displays of affection insofar as being extended or passionate without being inappropriate.  This only extends so far, however.  Please refer to rule #4 under the section on celebrating.

The New Year

So the people are assembled, the midnight hour has come and gone, and you are now at a party whose reason for being ceased to be.  If guests are enjoying themselves, chances are they will linger for awhile longer.  This creates several possible scenarios depending on if you are host or guest.  If it is the latter, it is your responsibility to judge what is a reasonable time to bid your polite farewell.  When you decide the time is right, give your respects to your friends, provide a final Happy New Year, and leave under your own power.  A successful egress lacks both slurring, staggering, and, if at all possible, racial epithets.

Stay no longer than you feel welcome.  In the event you have passed out, it is courteous to have made arrangements in advance to have someone collect you in case of such an instance.  If this was induced by liquor rather than exhaustion at the late hour, please keep Rule #5 of celebrating in mind, and be mindful that this extends to family heirlooms which may be haunted. 

Now as the host, it is your duty to make sure that people enjoy themselves while still being mindful of your responsibilities in cleaning your home and going to sleep at a reasonable hour.  Should you find guests not receiving your subtle clues about the hour growing late, it is within your purview to simply let people know it is time to go.  Should you hope to host such an event again, please do not include swearing, threats, or, if at all possible, racial epithets.

Once the party has ended, revel in the knowledge that everyone has had a good time, and you have both ended one year and begun another on the right foot.  Surrounded by friends, filled with good cheer, and happy.  Above all else, be happy, because no matter what happened in the previous the year, you are now off to a fresh start, and anything can happen.

Enjoy your revelry, and remember auld lang syne.

Happy New Year.

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