Contrary to popular belief, this is not the time of the year to celebrate the birth of our lord and saviour. No. It is in-fact the time of the year to split your time right down the middle, a perfect 50/50 of being drunk and being hungover (Of course, such precise time-management doesn't come easy, so I'd perhaps allow a 2% discrepancy each way). You will spend the evening of the 24th to the morning of the 1st, feeling as if you're living under water. Everything will be moving slower, thicker somehow; Then there will finally come that time when your head manages to break the surface (A worse analogy of a hangover, there has never been).
But when you're saved from this drowning (yeah I'm carrying it on) you won't be sat in a lifeboat with a foil blanket round your shoulders, you'll be in your house in an even worse limbo and I'm here to tell you that there's hope. There's hope! You can and you will get through this. You will! You're just gonna' need...
Do not make any real attempt to 'start' your day. This is key. Make sure you aren't even in the same building as people who say things like 'I really need to get up and do something' or 'I just feel like I've wasted the day'. Heretics. There is nothing wasted about a day spent doing nothing. Noted, this is coming from a man who's just spent a good twenty minutes trying to find an inspirational quote on Tumblr about how cathartic this can be, and doesn't even consider that time wasted.
Your bed should be a pit-stop throughout the day. Whenever that 'well, what do I do now?' moment occurs when you're staring into your still empty fridge and can't be bothered to bend down and check your still empty freezer - just get right back in your nest with the next two essentials. It is warm there. It is soft. Cosy. Safe, so long as you do not make the eye-watering mistake of wafting the duvet.
I don't consider myself particularly beholden to technology. I maintain a staunch personal belief that I only own an iPhone because it was 'just easier' than getting another Sony Ericsson k800i. Not so. I own an iPhone because I've been sufficiently 'done over' by a steady blend of peer pressure and advertising. A cocktail of constant ridicule every time I have to text back 'Sorry, what was that emoji... I only received :h' and sleek, stylish branding. A cocktail with the crushed ice of wondering what all the fuss is about and a miniature umbrella of unyielding desire to belong (That's the Creative Writing student in me).
Yet despite this I woke up today, hungover, and the first thought I could isolate was 'Where's my phone?'. After some groaning and tossing and turning it was discovered in my pillow case, out of battery. Flat as a festive pancake. I had to get out of Essential Number One to plug it in and sit drumming my fingers till my baby came back to life. And until she came back to life I had no idea what time it was. No idea what I'd said/done the night before. No idea what social media faux pas I'd made in the hours previous. I felt quite lost, quite alone. And so please, I implore you, over the Christmas period make sure that your phone is always on hand and on charge so that you don't have to go through this solitary hell of not knowing it is in fact 14:52, you commented on a picture of someone you're only Facebook Friends with because of their bust - about their bust, you now have dinner plans and have RSVP'd as 'Attending' all four of the News Years Eve parties you've been invited to and were pointedly ignoring.
Or just 'a' laptop. Hey man, ownership is just an illusion dude, man. Hey. So if you were unfortunate enough not to be able to buy a nice little Acer on the cheap in the aftermath of the London Riots, borrow one. Source one. Ask for one for Christmas. Plan ahead. You and your bed belong together today, but you and the Internet belong together forever. You are not going to feel good about yourself today without the Internet. The Internet reminds us that there are people worse off than ourselves, which in turn makes our situation a little more bearable. And I don't mean people in the third world. I mean people who've funded Christian Slater movies and subsequently lost everything. People who have ever fallen over, into water, or concrete. People whose rage was such that they were reduced to leaving scathing reviews on particularly shoddy Amazon products/sellers, or Blackpool's Norbreck Castle hotel (a real dump by all accounts).
'I've never owned pyjamas' This is a lie that is uttered by most males at least once in their in-denial lives. It's a lie on par with 'I don't have baths' and 'I've never cried over the death of a pet, whether in my own life or a film'. Of course we did and we do, but we're face-saving creatures. Of course we don't expect you to believe that we've been sleeping in boxers/naked since birth. We haven't. We too know the delights of being in another world of comfortable, whilst having pockets. The problem is that pyjamas have unfortunate connotations of being twee, and wrongly so.
Pyjama bottoms have gotten me through some of the tougher times in my life. They're my rock. Time is not a great healer, your advice was fruitless and there is no 'better place' - but just hold on one second whilst I hoick my pyjama trousers up! Now and only now am I prepared to concede that life goes on. And that's a positive outlook that we're all going to need over the next hungover week or so.
Sweatpants are another viable option but not one that I care to encourage with so much gusto. So get to Topman if you think they're a more acceptable option boys. Get them on your Christmas list as a stocking filler or a 'joke' present if face is still what you're saving. Ladies, carry on as you were, doing life properly. And my only hope going into the new year is that any growth in the UK economy, due to the increase in sales of pyjamas, is traced back here. To me. Thank you.
Your Dad's Socks
They're from Marks & Spencers. You won't have to wash them. And you're spending the day 'trudging' and shuffling your feet so you'll be surprised how little you care when you inevitably snag them on the carpet divider then remember that they aren't yours, and you won't have to spend the rest of your days putting your toes through the hole in the heel every time you put them on.
I imagine. If I had one.
Immediate and reliable access (ideally with a handrail for when you encounter Stage II). As I eluded to earlier with the duvet-wafting, today is not going to be the most comfortable of days with regards to your posterior. You'll find yourself comparing the changing shades of your hangover piss to the complexions of the women in TOWIE. A low point. It is therefore key that you have a warm bathroom with a brand new toilet roll and at least one window for 'airing'. I'm not gonna' say too much more on the matter, but I would add, don't feel guilty. When you're sat there naked with your head in your hands and your elbows leaving pink welts by your knees, laptop/Netflix set up at your feet - don't feel guilty. Stay there a while. Think about something. Wish yourself a Merry Christmas!
Finally, don't underestimate the pure and absolute joy that is yours to take from the Shower Piss. I'm not sure about the mechanics with the ladies and all this 'well you get to wee standing up', but today you really just should. Just stand with your face turned up to the nozzle, breathe, and if you can feel it running down your leg or splashing back against your shins then just remember you're in a box full of water and soap.
Perhaps don't tell them that you spent the morning watching Breaking Bad whilst wiping your arse and then pissing on yourself, but get someone round! Someone who will let you rest your head on their legs or stomach, will make you Ribena with a perfect ratio of water to cordial. "Don't suffer in silence". The Samaritans have better things to do than weigh up the pros and cons of mint yogurt with a mixed meat kebab, or so they tell me, time and time again.
You only need to tolerate their company for an hour or two, Jesus Christ don't spend the day with them. But just a couple of hours so you have a chance to hear your own voice in tandem with another person's, then send them packing. This person should be one who feels equally awful, who you know has also questioned how healthy the colour and potency of their own excrement was that morning. You just need somebody for a short while to fill you in on the night before, to laugh with you, to cry with you, and to discuss the finer points of fried chicken.
An absolute must. Over order. You want a burger, with cheese and a bit of mayonnaise and some sort of spicy sauce. Yes you'd like to make that a double burger. And you want chips, yes yes large chips. With some hot wings. What's that? If I order five instead of three then they work out 15pence cheaper per wing... well then if I order 20 I'm effectively saving the price of my original three so what else can I possibly do but order 40 and that way I'm making money. Oh and perhaps some chicken pieces because I'm a purist, and definitely some boneless chicken strips to bring out the flavour of the pieces. At least three cans of Pepsi Max too please. And BBQ sauce - the elixir of life and an absolute necessity.
Now, sit somewhere comfortable. If you're a renegade and don't mind crumbs in your bed then by all means get back in! I myself like to sit at my desk with a film, plate piled high and bedroom door firmly shut. Locked. I've been in and out of bed all day, caught up on all my messages whilst watching every viral video the Internet has to offer. I've got my pyjama trousers on, ruined three pairs of my dads socks and thought about writing a book whilst pissing on myself in the shower. Now is my time, with my plate of beige food and vat of the alchemist's dream that is BBQ, to sit and think about how I'll never ever drink again. Ever.
Follow Alex McBride on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thealexmcbride