The season of end-of-year cocktail parties (cold sausage rolls and warm white wine rules) and office let-your-hair-down extravaganzas (brief, unexpected romances and massive embarrassment).
You will put on weight, feel awful and hate yourself if you don’t rise above the cocktail snack. Unless you’re at a high-end bash, they are never worth the kilojoules or the saturated fat. Also, you get pastry crumbs on your face, debris down your front, and caught short when someone says “Hi! How are you!” just as you’ve manoeuvred something huge and chewy into your mouth.
Or someone will breeze in late and fresh and rear back from your samoosa-breath hello kiss. Your best trick: hold your drink in your dominant hand – it’s harder to mindlessly graze with the other hand. And don’t arrive hungry: a wholewheat cheese or peanut butter sandwich just beforehand can save the day.
You will regret getting merrily conspiratorial with people you have to answer to/manage/otherwise work with next week. You will particularly regret it if you reach the stage of fondness. You know the thing about alternating drinks with water...? It does work, especially if the water is fizzy and comes with ice and lemon, which takes longer to drink (and looks like a vodka tonic, so no explanations required). And even when moved to say "I’ve always really, really liked you," don’t.
- If you’re really among friends, of course, sobriety isn’t strictly necessary. But there are very, very few charming drunks. Mostly, we get boring when we’ve tipped over the edge; some of us get aggressive. And mostly, we are very poor judges of how far gone we are: I rounded up some volunteers from the 24.com crew to measure the effect of alcohol, using the standard sobriety tests used by traffic policeman: check out the video. Bless them. We cut out the majority of their headstands and humilations.
- Hangovers are horrible. They’re horrible because, effectively, you’ve poisoned yourself. Everyone needs a hangover cure. I take two Panado and as much water as I can on the way to bed; another round as soon as I wake up (which is, please, substantially before I have to get up) and aim for more sleep, followed by a breakfast that includes grapefruit, eggs and Emmy Lou Harris singing Wrecking Ball. What’s yours? Let me know: we’ll publish, and your fellow Health24 readers will be immensely grateful.
Just. Four. More. Weeks. To. Go.
And then (more or less) it’s the holiday season.
So... hang in there. Don’t drink and drive through the party season. Don’t drug and drive. Don’t text and drive (if a recent British study is to be believed, that’s statistically the most dangerous of the three, because reaction times fall the most).
Until next time,
(Heather Parker, Health24, November 2008)