“The acute paranoia and dread in the sober hours of the following day become a common feature of your mid-twenties. The gap between who you were on a Saturday night, commandeering an entire pub garden by shouting obnoxiously about how you’ve always felt you had at least three prime-time sitcom scripts in you, and who you are on a Sunday afternoon, thinking about death and worrying if the postman likes you or not, becomes too capacious.” – Dolly Alderton, Everything I Know About Love.
There’s nothing better than a night out. I particularly love the beginning; the build-up, the music, my best friends and I putting our make-up on and moaning about how little we like our outfits. I love the unspoken babysitting rota that’s put into place so that the non-smoker of the group isn’t left alone at the table. I love passing toilet roll to strangers under cubicle doors, and drunkenly telling girls in the bathroom that they deserve better than their shitty boyfriend that they’ve left at home. I love the post-night-out cheese, chips and gravy. I love it when someone runs over to me when No Scrubs by TLC plays, shouting “you love this song!”. I love the 2am stagger back to the taxi-rank, dodging stray, gusset-up thongs and abandoned kebabs in the middle of the street.
But (and I know that this isn’t a profound hot-take on the twenty-something lifestyle), I do not love the next morning’s hangover.
I hate the life-sucking little bastards, to the point where I now struggle to watch anyone in a film or TV show go through one without getting fired up about the fact that we were lied to from day one. How have they gotten away with leading us to believe that all a hangover involves is someone saying “Shhhh!” as they massage their temples?
Why do screenwriters choose to ignore the anxiety-induced panic of going through everything that happened the night before, the two day hangover, and the dry mouth? As teenagers, when did we ever see a film that showed the little bit of sick that rises up your throat when you think about your 2am argument you had with a random stranger? Why doesn’t anyone have to deal with the spinning? (Good lord, why did no one ever warn me about the spinning?)
The worst hangover I’ve ever had was just over a year ago, after my leaving-do at TGI Fridays in Leeds. To this day, some of my closest friends still work for the company, and there is an agreement amongst us all that “no one parties like a Fridays staff party”. From beer pong in Roxy’s Ball Room, to cans of Hooch in Neon Cactus on Call Lane, people were buying me so many drinks that, when we walked from bar to bar, I felt like I was flying around the city centre. I remember sitting on the floor of a toilet cubicle with my friend and thinking “this is it. This is the drunkest that I have ever been”.
I spent the night drunkenly stealing cocktail glasses from every bar we went in to, but once my housemates and I got home, I completely forgot about my thieving antics and threw my bag on the floor of bedroom. Smashing six glasses all over my carpet, I was very lucky that my housemates heard the racket from downstairs, spent the next half an hour scrambling across the floor with me, laughing uncontrollably, and picking up tiny shards of glass. As I tucked myself into bed, it dawned on me that I had to be on a train home to visit my family in just three hours, which I had planned before I had organised my (very last minute) leaving-do. I had a quick power nap, woke up still drunk, and stuffed anything in sight into my rucksack. I can’t remember how I got myself on to a train, but I woke up an hour later, blissfully unaware of where I was, before coming round and realising that we were pulling in to Manchester Piccadilly for my change. I felt like death, and struggled not to vomit when I looked beside me to see a man tucking in to a McDonalds cheeseburger with ketchup dribbling down his face.
As I walked to my platform, I sniffed the front of my dress (which I was still wearing from the night before) and very quickly realised that it was slightly damp with what smelled Red Stripe, and gave myself a stern telling off. What a fucking mess. I was absolutely gobsmacked when my Dad picked me up from Wigan North Western and didn’t tell me how foul I smelled. For the rest of the day, all I could manage to do was sip half of a sugary tea, eat a couple of salt and vinegar crisps, and watch three seasons of 999: What’s Your Emergency? I haven’t drunk Hooch or played beer pong since.
Still, whatever state I manage to get myself in on nights out, Drunk Morgan is a gem. She looks after Future, Hungover Morgan so well; there is no act of self love better than getting home at 3am and managing to do a full skincare routine, brush your teeth, force a pint of water down yourself, and then pour a new one, placing it next to two paracetamol by your bed for the next morning. Somehow, rolling over in bed and what I did for Future Me, even in a paralytic state, suppresses the post-drinking paranoia, at least a little bit.
On the run up to a Christmas in lockdown, after a difficult year, it is no surprise that people are predicting that the amount of alcohol people consume will skyrocket over the coming months. So this is your annual reminder to look after yourselves and to drink responsibly, but also to have fun.
2020 has been nothing short of horrendous, especially for us students and those starting out in full-time work for the first time, so revel in every last bit of drunken mischief, hiccuping and giggling that you can. Cause havoc, and enjoy the gossiping, the repeated stories, the slurring, the drunken hugging, the brutal honesty of 2am, and yes – even the hangover and the anxiety of the next day. All of these things might be from the comfort of your own living room this year, but there’s no reason that we can’t enjoy ourselves in spite of it all!
Words by Morgan Hartley.
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