It’s a Thursday morning and I have awoken to the sing-song cries of my three-year old, “I’m awwwwaaaakkkeee!” It’s 450am – this is his new wake up time. But this mild annoyance is swiftly overrun by a trifecta of torture; the ‘water is for wusses’ dehydration headache, the ‘martini olives don’t count as dinner’ nausea, and the ‘dancing in the moonlight’ aversion to the sun. But this meal of misery is all bearable, welcome even, compared to what comes next… the regret.
In recent years, my hangovers have delivered more than just the usual helping of physical ailments; they’ve come piled high with a steaming side dish of regret. What did I say? What did I do? How big of an idiot did I make of myself last night?
Just to make matters much, MUCH worse I seem to put my best ‘dickhead’ hat on at festive functions around family and acquaintances, to show those who may only know me in a non-social setting, and perhaps even have a mild respect for me that, actually no, I’m a degenerate… Cut to me motor-boating some of my perfectly normal (too polite not to laugh) work friends.
It’s a phenomenon that I can’t quite explain but it has become such a problem that my husband feels the need to remind me, as I’m getting ready for work Christmas parties, teetering around in my heels, feeling utterly festive and fabulous, to not “go too crazy”. He’s witnessed enough post party regret diatribes to know I need a little “have fun but shut the fuck up” chat before I walk out the door.
And yet there I was, the day after an innocent mid-week Christmas dinner, and I’ve woken with that big-headed idiot lying next to me (no not you, Matt), smiling sadistically. Oh hello old friend.
Throughout the day (and for weeks to come) he’ll give me a nudge or a trip at the most innocuous times – cooking, waiting in line at the post office – and the memories will flood back. Not the things I say or do necessarily, more the reactions. The look of mortification on my friend’s wife’s face, for instance, when on our first meeting, I decide to give her my tips for a ‘quick and easy’ child birth – no details spared. It hits and leaves me cringing, brow beating and audibly berating myself like Woody Allen after committing an immoral act in any one of his movies.
Why do I do it?
I don’t know. I do know that whilst it is enhanced by alcohol, it’s not solely responsible. I’ve committed these crimes whilst pregnant and completely sober. I also know that it’s a beast fed by laughter and shocked expressions and when I’m in one of these moods, I just can’t stop. I suddenly find myself well versed in the kind of baseline humour usually reserved for teenage boys’ locker rooms.
I’ve said horrendously inappropriate things to people whom in the moment I’ve thought are like-minded, only to discover later that they’re VERY conservative, and probably VERY offended by my colourful language and assortment of blue jokes, including, but not limited to, my ‘pick up anything phallic shaped and use it as a penis appendage’ gag, which no one finds as funny as I do.
If I’m really in ‘good’ form, I dance. I once danced so enthusiastically that I fell flat on my back and was so winded I couldn’t get up or even breathe. All I could do was stare up at a sea of disapproving faces as they looked down on the road kill before them. Or, I suddenly have an inflated sense of my own dancing ability. I’ve been known to start a dance circle just so I can wow those around me with my incredible robot moves that only really show up after my fifth glass of champagne.
I’ve had actual out-of-body experiences where I’ve looked down at myself doing/saying ridiculous, idiotic things and have screamed, “Nooooo! Stop!” But the festive fool just slaps that boring bitch down, and in a millisecond has convinced her that actually she is hilarious and not at all offensive/ridiculous/ idiotic… Choose your own misadventure.
It’s mortifying stuff.
No matter how hideous the regret hangover, I never, ever learn.
Oops, I did it AGAIN.