Year after year, New Year’s Eve comes and goes, and I find myself doing the same old same old every year. I stay in with a couple of people, watch the ball drop on TV, and then go to bed. Don’t get me wrong, this can be a great thing to do, especially for a home body like myself. But this year, I wanted to do something different.
D.C. is not too far from my home in Maryland, so I reached out to a friend of mine who lives in D.C., and asked him what he was up to for NYE. One thing led to another, and he invited me to go to a big, fancy party in downtown D.C. with him and his friends. Side note about this friend: I’ve only talked/hung out with him a hand full of times. I honestly barely knew him. So going into this crazy night, I barely knew one person.
I was nervous, for sure. I didn’t know what to expect at all. I had never been to a party like this, surrounded by people who actually have ~jObS~. I was going to be the baby of the group (the only one still in college), but I was ready for it.
I arrived at my D.C. friend, Cam’s, apartment at about 5:30 p.m. on NYE, 2 dresses and 3 pairs of shoes in hand, along with an over night bag. Well, here goes nothing.
He meets me at my car, and walks me to his front door. He pushes open the door to reveal a large space, filled with a sectioned, tan couch, and black patterned carpet that appears to have never been vacuumed. As we walk in, we are greeted by one of his Swedish roommates, Amar, with dark hair, groomed facial hair, and friendly eyes, along with Amar’s friend, Sara, a beautiful, blonde, tan Swede with a smile forcing its way through her stressed face. They both greet me with “hello!”‘s as Sara shouts out, “I’m so stressed!”
“Why?” I ask her as she runs to the other end of the house.
“I’m afraid there is not enough time to get ready!”
She disappears into a room opposite of where we are standing.
Cam shows me up the staircase, covered in half dirty carpet, half dusty wooden stairs to his room, placed just to the right of the top of the stairs. His room is large, set up like a dorm room, with two full-sized beds and identical nightstands separating them. Both of the beds have obviously not been made for a couple days.
In front of each bed, sitting on little identical tables, are two TVs. The room is filled with boy clothes, lots of shoes, and a table covered in boy nick-knacks (deodorant, cologne, ties, water bottles, etc.)
I lay my belongings down next to Cam’s bed, as he eagerly starts pulling possible suits to wear. Still unsure of which dress to grace the party with, I grab my options and head downstairs for the only other female in the house. The beautiful Swedish blonde should have a valued opinion on which dress I should wear.
I find Sara in a small bathroom right off of the kitchen, bent over into the mirror, applying makeup to her already perfect face. I awkwardly hold up my dresses. “Hey, which one do you think I should wear tonight?”
She turns to me, looks at the dresses, and says, “black. Try it on for me.”
As I turn to walk back up the stairs, she stops me and says, “mascara! Can I borrow?”
“Oh yeah, sure, let me go get mine.”
After getting Sara her desperately needed mascara, I slipped on my black, floor-length, long-sleeved dress I haven’t worn since my senior prom. I buttoned and zipped and clasped the jeweled cuffs, and walked back into Cam’s room to put my clothes down, before I would seek my new Swedish gal pal’s approval.
“Ohhhh, yes, I love that one! You should wear that.” Amar says in a friendly and enthusiastic tone as I walk by him, Cam aggressively steaming his suit, and somehow making it look like a professional sport.
“Yeah, I like it.” Cam says, only glancing up for a second.
I place my clothes in my bag and head down the stairs. I start walking toward Sara’s bathroom as she calls out, “let me see!”
I walk toward the door as she comes out, looks me up and down, and smiles.
“Yes! That’s perfect! You look so good!” She jumps up and down and claps to herself.
I smiled and thanked Sara, as she then made sure I could move and dance in the dress, because, “we will be doing a lot of that tonight”.
I went back up stairs to grab my makeup bag, the boys still contemplating which suit to wear and what tie would look best, and headed to the upstairs bathroom, which again, appeared to have not been cleaned in quite a while. I put mascara and red lipstick on, and then realized I was ready and still had quite a while until the party, so I sat in Cam and Amar’s room and watched them discuss the proper way to tie a tie, and which suit color and fit would be best for the evening.
A little while later, once everyone was dressed and ready, another Swedish girl arrived, her name I cannot remember, dressed head-to-toe in Chanel. Casual, right? She held her Chanel bag as if it were from H&M. (goals)
After mingling and sipping on a few drinks, we made our way to the party. Cam told me I would be meeting a ton of his friends at the party. Still nervous and not knowing what to expect, I decided to push my hesitations out of my head, seeing how my over-thinking of situations tend to make them less fun.
We arrived at the hotel and strolled into the lobby, filled with well-dressed individuals. We made our way through security and coat-check, and walked in the ballroom. Bumping with music, the stage danced with lights and graphics, the room filled with sequin dresses and dark suits.
My first thought when I walked into the room: Is there food? Where is the food? Can I eat the food?
To my delight, there was a full buffet filled with yummy options. Who knew that this NYE party at a Hilton Hotel would have such good pulled pork.
I met many more of Cam’s friends, some Swedish, some American, all very kind and friendly. We all socialized and sipped on drinks from the open bar while the room filled with more and more people.
Everyone around me seemed to radiate with glee and cocktails, it was lovely.
The moment I was standing even remotely alone, a guy would approach me, wanting to talk, dance and flirt. Honestly, I’ve never been approached by so many men in my life. I felt like the Bachelorette. At art school, most of the guys who approach me are gay and telling me my outfit is tacky. This was a delight I was not used to.
One boy in particular was shamelessly flirting with me from the moment we met, exchanging casual banter all night. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I also can’t say I didn’t kiss him at midnight, maybe more than once. I also can’t say I knew his name at that point in the night.
After a night of new friends, lots of dancing, kissing strangers, and a very open bar, Cam, Amar and I made our way back to their house. It was about 3 a.m., and as you’d expect after a night of dancing, we were hungry. Fortunately, we had a super cool Uber driver who let us stop at 7/11 to get snacks (and also pee, I’ve never been so thankful for a gross 7/11 bathroom in my life).
We made it home after our snack stop and got right into pj’s, discussing who kissed who and highlights of the night, as we munched on 7/11 snacks. It didn’t take long for all of us to fall fast asleep. I honestly fell asleep halfway through my Dorito bag.
After a night of trying to sleep with Cam’s snoring (love you Cam, but you snore like a chainsaw), I woke up around 8:30 and immediately brushed my teeth (falling asleep eating Doritos after drinking champagne, not the best for my oral health).
I checked my phone and saw a text from my brother (who is in town with his wife for the new year) telling me that our mom is making a big breakfast in case I didn’t already have breakfast plans. I glanced over at Cam, sprawled out on his bed, still snoring his cute little face off, and thought, yeah, I doubt he has breakfast here.
I changed into jeans and a tee-shirt, slipped my Uggs on, packed my stuff up, said goodbye to a very tired and confused Cam, and made my way home. With barely anyone on the road, I made it home in record time, listening to my favorite Taylor Swift songs in the car (yeah, yeah, you got me, they are all my favorite).
I made it home before breakfast was ready, and got to tell my mom and sister-in-law all about my night. They were so excited and fascinated with the details.
After sharing about my night, we sat down at the dining room table, sun shining through the windows, and ate a very yummy breakfast as a family, each of us sharing about our plans and experiences.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to spent New Years any other way. Was I nervous? Yes. I have a tendency to let my reputation and perceived expectations of myself stand in the way of how I live my life. But that night I let my fears and uncomfortableness and personal expectations go, and I let myself live how I wanted to live. I wasn’t worried about what people would think or say about me, I just had fun. I pushed through my introverted and reserved boundaries.
So my advice for you (come on, you know the drill, I can’t write a post without getting some sort of life lesson out of it): live a little. Stop stressing about the future, worrying about the details, letting a reputation define you. Drink some champagne. Dance all night. Kiss a stranger. But also don’t forget where you came from. Have a fun and wild night out, but make it home for family breakfast.