I looked up the definition of a party pooper today and it said: ‘One who declines to participate with enthusiasm, especially in the recreational activities of a group’.
I read this and thought, ‘That’s me!’.
These days, I’m more of a two-glasses-of-vino-and-home-at-a-sensible-hour kind of girl. When the clock strikes midnight on a night out, I’m usually thinking, ‘Hmm… Let me see. Now I COULD start downing shots of tequila, dance on the bar and set my hair on fire (hello Anna!) or in half an hour, I could be tucked up in my cosy bed blissfully reading the Guardian magazine.
I wasn’t always a party pooper; I’ve truly partied with the best of them (hello Ibiza 2002 – 2005) but as the dreaded 30s loomed, I began to suffer from The Curse Of The Two-Day Hangover.
I have friends that can happily sink several gallons of wine, stumble in at 4am, and rise at 8 for a brisk morning jog (hello Abi!). If that were me, I’d be bed-ridden for most of the day, feebly sipping water with a shaky hand, while a pneumatic drill buries itself in my skull. And then the day after that, I still feel like I’ve been run over by a steam roller, complete with heart palpitations and basically the feeling of wanting to die. Dramatic? Never.
The last time I got more than a little tipsy (hen party January 2011), I was so ill the next day that I actually uttered the words, ‘Husband, you might need to call an ambulance’. I am so fearful of this happening again, that I’ve begun to eschew alcohol altogether. If someone insists on buying me a shot, I’m forced to throw it over my shoulder or surreptitiously seek out the nearest plant pot.
The best part of being a party pooper is that you can still go out, have a great night, get to bed at a reasonable hour, and then be productive the following day. And if I really want to put the ‘poop’ in pooper, I might even decide to (cue shock from Sambuca-loving pals) DRIVE myself to a party, thus sparing me the hell of the nighttime taxi queue, with the added advantage of being able to depart whenever I desire. It’s great.
But boozy party animals don’t see it like that. Come midnight, you can’t simply stroll up and say, ‘I’ve had a great night but it’s time for me to be going now. So long!’ and contentedly trot off home.
Oh no, drunk people won’t let you just LEAVE. Despite assurances to the contrary, they are convinced that your early departure means you haven’t had a good night. They hug you (repeatedly) and then take you hostage, foisting more drinks on you and hollering, ‘BUT THE NIGHT’S NOT EVEN GOT GOING YET!’
Based on this, I’ve developed a fear of saying goodbye to people. I now have to head in the direction of the toilets – feigning nonchalance – and then just quietly slip off into the night, in order to avoid The Farewell Fuss.
Announcing your goodbyes to a large group of people should especially be avoided at all costs. Once you’ve started the hugging and kissing process, it often takes so long that by the time you’ve hugged the last person, the first drunk person has forgotten about your planned departure, so the whole long-winded process starts again. I’ve known departees at a party take a whole hour just to say goodbye.
Party poopers often seek out other party poopers. Come midnight, I usually start trying to suss out who else’s enthusiasm for the evening is beginning to wane. Classic signs are sneakily ordering a glass of water, taking furtive glances at their watch, and making vague murmurings of ‘having to get up to do some DIY in the morning’.
If I can get another party pooper on my side, it makes my escape plan a lot easier. But the problem with Stealth Party Poopers is that, even though they secretly might be dreaming of their cosy bed, they feel bound to the night through a sense of duty to the host and – naturally – not wanting to be deemed a party pooper. They would rather gamely stick the evening out than risk the pooper label.
It takes a brave party pooper to announce: ‘This has been a fantastic evening but, for me, the night has reached its natural end. Thank you so much everybody – my carriage awaits… Bon soir!’
But I’m not that brave.
I’d much rather just climb out of the toilet window and make a run for it.