I’ve never been “bah, humbug” about Christmas, but I definitely am about New Year’s Eve. It’s my least favorite “party holiday” of the year. I’d honestly just as soon stay home. Below are reasons why.
PROFANITY ALERT: I just can’t do this one justice without dropping the f-bomb, s-bomb and other choice words a few times. If you have a problem with that, please skip this post.
1) It’s amateur night. You get people out on New Year’s Eve who go out maybe three times a year. They don’t know how to act when they’re out in public.
For one thing, they don’t know their limits when it comes to drinking. Most of us professional drinkers/Downtown regulars can recognize when we’ve had enough, and hit the off switch (I had to do this Wed night, and thanks Jessie and Brooke for the ride home). Amateurs don’t have enough experience to know what their limit is, which is why Downtown sidewalks and floors tend to get decorated with puke on NYE. You also see a lot of situations where an entire group’s good time gets ruined because one person gets soused and everyone else has to spend all evening taking care of him/her.
Then you get people who spend the rest of the year getting shit on – yelled at/put down by their boss/wife/whomever – and they use NYE as a day to blow off some steam. They come out with three objectives – to “talk some shit,” “kick some ass,” and “get some pussy,” although they rarely fulfill the third objective. These people are responsible for about 98% of New Year’s Eve bar fights. Visit 201 Poplar about 5 AM on January 1 and you’ll find lots of them.
2) Traffic is ridiculous. It’s not just that people come Downtown in droves for the Beale Street celebration, the Peabody party, and the other big events that happen. It’s that they act fucking stupid behind the wheel. Weaving in and out of traffic, getting out of their cards and dancing while waiting on red lights to change (and even after they do turn green), setting off firecrackers out their windows, turning left out of the right lane, driving on the pedestrian Main Street Mall, etc.
3) Parking prices are ridiculous. Lots in the prime part of Downtown around Second/Peabody Place/Beale raise their prices to the sky. A lot that would normally charge $5 to park will generally charge $15 to $20 on NYE. And you better make sure you’re paying a real parking attendant and not a bum.
4) Having to pay high cover charges to go in the same bars I normally pay $0 to get into, only to enjoy them less on NYE. I can’t blame the bars for charging cover. If they don’t they’ll be overrun. Hell, they can charge $10-15 and still be overrun. So more power to them. It’s just that I don’t particularly feel like paying it, when I can wait 24 hours to come in, on January 1 evening when it’s relatively dead, and have a better time.
5) The fact that I can’t enjoy New Year’s Eve in the hangouts I love the most. More than any other bar Downtown, I consider the Saucer my living room. However, on NYE it will be overrun by people outlined in #1 above. Last night one of the new bartenders asked Bicycle Bobby and me if she’d see us on New Year’s Eve, and we had to explain why not. I found that the word “douchebags” got used over and over again in the explanation. Same will happen at Silly Goose… it will be overrun by people who just happen to pass by and see the huge liquor selection, people who think it’s still Swig, etc. Bardog will be overrun too, because it’s been “discovered” by the East Memphis crowd. The one locals’ bar Downtown that may be somewhat immune to amateur night is Calhoun’s, because it’s not in the core, and because its clientele tends to be nearly 100% regulars.
6) The fact that I can’t party with a lot of my friends, because they’ll be working. Just about everyone who works in the service industry will be at work on NYE. Normally I enjoy popping into the Silly Goose at 10 at night or after, because I know I’ll see a lot of restaurant and bar people who either got off early or who have the night off. Not so on NYE. No one will get off early or have the night off, except the very very few who lucked out and drew lunch shift on the 31st.
7) People get so uptight about everything having to be absolutely perfect as the clock strikes 12, so they can remember what they were doing at the start of the new year. Everyone has to pose for the perfect picture, even if it’s artificially perfect and most of the people in the pic are pissed off at being ordered around to get in it and shut up and smile and look happy. It’s just an arbitrary tick of the clock, an arbitrary turn of the calendar page that people attach way too much significance to. By 10 AM on January 4, no one remembers what happened on NYE anyway.
8. Dressing up. Let me make a few things clear. I don’t dress like a slob when I go out on NYE – I don’t throw on the PBR hoodie and flip-flops, for example. If it’s entirely my decision to do so, I don’t mind dressing very nicely. If I’m going somewhere that requires it – like a formal ball, although I tend to avoid those every other day of the year as well as NYE – I have no problem dressing the part.
What irks me is, “some of the girls want to dress up, so everybody has to dress up.” I could give a flying crap what some of the girls want me to do. Again, it’s just an arbitrary tick of the clock to me. I don’t get all dressed up to celebrate 7:37 PM on June 24 for no other reason than it being that date and time; what makes midnight on January 1 any different? When I see anything about “attire” or “dress code” mentioned for private NYE house parties, my finger tends to gravitate toward the “not attending” button before I even read the rest of the invitation.
9) It’s fucking cold outside. I hate winter. The outdoor parties, like the big celebration on Beale, don’t appeal to me at all… too busy shivering and thinking how cold I am to have a good time. Even if the parties I attend are indoors, there’s still the matter of walking from place to place. As mentioned above, parking is hard (and expensive) to come by on NYE, as are cabs, so there’s usually lots of walking.
10) By noon on January 1, I’m ready to go out, but all the bars are closed so their staff can recover from the night before. I can’t blame the bars for doing this. It usually takes hours to clean up post-NYE. If they get out of there by 5 AM they’re lucky. Still, it sucks for us who are ready to go out midday, but are forced to wait until 5 PM when everything starts to open back up. I remember a few years ago, when NYE fell on a Saturday, and Sleep Out Louie’s didn’t open at all for Sunday Fun Day. There were a lot of unhappy locals that day.
So let’s get NYE over with and get things back to normal when the new year rolls around. I’ve heard about a couple of options happening NYE night, but really, if I stay home playing poker, I won’t be disappointed.