Tonight’s the night. Every third conversation in the past few weeks has been about it: “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?”

I often feel compelled to have a response that is at least a little bit interesting, and I usually do. I’ve had lots of fun at New Year’s Eve celebrations, but those are not what this posting is about today. This post is about those New Year’s Eve celebrations that were . . . uh . . . weird.

• A couple of years ago, I went to Dubai for New Year’s Eve. Dubai is known for having one of the world’s most spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations, with citywide, fun-filled festivities and amazing fireworks displays. My friend Heather had recently moved there, and I thought it would be very cool to celebrate the New Year with her, in her new home, in a big way.

It’s a long and expensive flight to Dubai from New York City, but that was okay because I was very excited about what was to come.  I couldn’t wait to throw myself into all the city had to offer. I was all aflutter like a little kid, looking very forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve in this place that is known for doing everything BIG!

Didn’t happen. At the last minute, in solidarity with some fighting somewhere (Lebanon, I think), Sheik What’s-His-Name canceled all New Year’s Eve celebrations that year . . . including private parties. (Sigh.)  Yeah, he’s got that kind of power.  We weren’t even allowed to have our own celebration.

• About 25 years ago, I spent New Year’s Eve in my robe on the stairs outside my apartment (but inside the building). I was living in a brownstone in Harlem. There were three floor-through apartments, and I (and my roommate) lived on the second floor. For a reason that I can no longer remember, I left my apartment—barefoot and in my robe—to borrow something from one of my neighbors. It was that kind of building. We were all friends.

By instinct, I shut the door behind me. That was not a good move.  My heart sank immediately.  I was locked out.  My roommate was away.  The neighbor I was going to borrow from turned out not to be home, nor was anybody else in the building.

This was in the days before cell phones. I was supposed to meet my date at a restaurant that was about midway between my house and his. After a bite to eat, we were going to a big gala at the Puck Building in SoHo. But I was locked out, no shoes, no clothes, and no yet-to-be-invented cell phone. And I stayed that way until my landlord came home around 2 a.m.  The guy that I “stood up” didn’t believe my story and never spoke to me again. I didn’t really blame him. I wouldn’t have believed me, either.

• About five years ago I wasn’t really in the mood for a party. I wanted something fun but quiet. I had just started dating a widower who was spending New Year’s Eve with his kids, so I decided to spend the evening with my good friend Alice. She had been working like a dog and we hadn’t seen each other in a while, so hanging out with her seemed like exactly the kind of evening I was looking for.

I got to her house about 10 p.m.  She had cooked a nice dinner, and it was fun chowing down, having a few cocktails, and just catching up.  Long story short, I noticed that Alice had gotten pretty quiet and I was doing all the talking.   Then I heard a soft zzzzz. It was 11:15 p.m. and Alice was fast asleep—I mean in a seriously deep sleep that she wasn’t budging from.  So there I sat.  At midnight, The Guy called to wish me a Happy New Year, we chatted for a few minutes, and I looked over at Alice.  She was still out. I tiptoed out.  I was back home by 12:30 a.m.  I think my doorman felt sorry for me.

• A year or two after I bought my vacation home, I had a lovely New Year’s Eve there with my beau and his dog.  Out in the country, a dusting of snow on the ground, a fire burning.  It was lovely.  There’s not much of a story here . . . except that spending the evening with his dog is the reason I now have my dog.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Photo from Flickr via

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  • Diane Dettmann December 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Yes, what about that traditional kiss? I remember going to a bar with my college friend on a New Year’s Eve in the late 1960s. She and I were quite the bar hoppers in those days. A few seconds before midnight we both found ourselves out on the dance floor with some strange guys wearing party hats. At the stroke of midnight, the two smashed guys puckered up and smooched us. Those were kisses we could have done without!

  • Roz Warren December 31, 2012 at 9:51 am

    So you dumped the dude but acquired a dog? I can get behind that choice. Fun read. Thanks!

  • APS December 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

    And what about the kiss? Yes, the midnight kiss has been a tradition since 8th Century BC! Wish I could smash those expectations.