As a kid, New Year’s Eve fascinated me. It was a night when grown-ups dressed up, drank fancy cocktails and danced across ballroom floors. Granted, my parents only went out a time or two, but I had seen the movies. Most adults had the times of their lives and I couldn’t wait to join them. We kids would fight to stay up late, bang pots and pans and light the illicit firework or two, but it just wasn’t the same.
Once I hit drinking age, I spent several New Year’s Eves at college bars or block parties where I could finally join the excitement. I rarely found much. Most the celebrations were overcrowded nightmares of sweaty throngs and queasy drinkers. Hardly the tuxedo-clad soirées I had imagined as a lad. There wasn’t even a big band, for pity’s sake.
After many disappointing events, I finally figured out why I didn’t care for New Year’s celebrations: They are filled with people who say “WOOO!” I don’t like being in places where people say “WOOO!” The revelers never seem to be having fun, but are desperate to convince everyone around them that they’re having fun.
Like many lost weekends in Las Vegas, most NYE revelers are trying to force themselves to have a good time and failing. And what are we even celebrating? An arbitrary hour on an arbitrary calendar first accepted in the U.S. in 1752. There aren’t even presents.
Wednesday night, I’ll enjoy another quiet evening in, maybe playing a few board games with the family and watching queasy drinkers shout “WOOO!” on my TV. I’ll enjoy a dram of a fine single-malt and shake my head at the poor saps racing home on the freeway at 1:30 a.m. Many readers will roll their eyes at stodgy introverts like myself and enjoy far more exciting celebrations.
But what do you think: Is New Year’s Eve overrated or do you have an evening planned that will change my mind?
A version of this article was published last New Year’s Eve.