My best mate had just melted her way down a shop front window and landed on the pavement in defeat. Heels still on, feet no longer willing to cooperate. 'Well, that's a first’, I told the two hazzily attractive guys who had also been swiftly ushered out of the closing nightclub. 'She alright?’, one of them half heartedly mumbled to me between drags of a wonky Marlboro Gold. We had been invited to go with them to another bar around the corner which they promised was better, cheaper and open until 6am. It was now 3:25 am. 'Yeah, of course. She's a trooper’, I returned as I gave her an encouraging nudge in the arm with my shoe.
I crouched into a deep squat to join her down on the floor. 'You alright mate?’, I asked assertively, willing her to open her eyes. I was desperately trying to appear more sober than I was, to counteract just how fucked up my now immobile best friend was and get us on our way to the next place. 'What do you want to do’, I said, fully aware that the right thing to do would be to take her home and put her to bed, but also selfishly desperate for her approval to keep the night going. 'Whaverrwhado’, she dribbled. 'Whatever you want to do’.
My conscience got the better of me and I sighed, reluctantly informing our new male friends that we sadly would not be accompanying them for more drinks, and ordered an Uber home.
'What happened to us?', I thought. Because it wasn't too long ago that this very inebriated BFF and I were up, drinking gin on my doorstep as the birds chirped and the sun came up after arriving home from night of actual 'clubbing'. The futile negotiating with bouncers to skip queues. The committed and over-enthusiastic dancing with strangers for hours on end. The incessant shot taking, just because there was a bar available for use. The being 'out, out' and refusing to go in. That was our thing and we were great at it. Once.
The next morning was usual hangover protocol. Wake up, check phone, delete incriminating photographs, and assemble in the kitchen for debriefing. 'I'm so sorry we came home', my mate said to me. 'I can't believe we didn't go to the next place'. I told her that it was, of course, absolutely fine and that maybe we just can't do it like we used to. A bold statement to make at the not-so-ripe age of 25, but having not set foot in a 'club' since, I'm starting to think that I was right. I'm done.
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Last year a study decided that 37 was the age at which it became socially 'tragic'to be seen out in da clubs. 31 was the age you start to prefer to stay in, they said. But what level on the 'willingness and ability to go out, out' scale are we meant to hit in our mid-twenties? I for one have mixed feelings about my retirement from my life of sticky shoes, overpriced nightclub entry and drunkenly pondering life's great mysteries (to continue drinking, or not to continue drinking) while perched on the side of the road at 3 o'clock in the morning.
We belong to a generation who have watched hundreds of our once beloved nightclubs close up and down the country. Back in 2016, the Office For National Statistics even removed the price of nightclub entry from their list of common services that they use to calculate inflation because it wasn't as significant a contributor anymore. There's no doubt that we're not going as frequently as we used to - but the last few times I *did *go out, out, I was unlikely to spot anyone who looked old enough to know *Insomnia *by Faithless as anything other than an obscure throwback. Maybe we're all cutting the club habit earlier?
Perhaps I'm an anomaly among the millennials who would much rather round out a nice Saturday night with Netflix and Chill instead of getting sweaty to bass-heavy dance tracks. Don't get me wrong, I adore the night in. I excel at it, but I've never considered it the secretly preferred consolation prize for not going out, out. And I'm jealous of the kids who still do it.
The image of my hopelessly battered BFF slumped on the side of the road, the one who for so long represented those late night, out, out, booze-fueled antics, is one that has stuck with me. If I'd found her like that years ago, I would've probably picked her up, dragged her into the next bar and given her a water to chase with another vodka mixer (not advisable). But now, in my mid-twenties I feel like I've moved on from that relentless, chaotic partying. It makes sense - responsibilities, finance, and simply being more aware of my inability to cope with hangovers anymore are all good reasons to stop. But that's not to say I don't, and won't desperately miss it. I'm not yet resigned to dinner parties, nights in alone and quiet evenings over bottles of 'the good wine' - and maybe I never will be. But going out feels like it will be different from now on. As for 'out, out'? Well, ask my mate who's lopsided face pressed against the front of a closed off-license in the early hours of the morning was the screensaver on my phone for a few weeks. Because I don't think she's made it back to the club yet either.
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The Foodie Way
News editor Sophie likes to tackle hangovers with food, 'Chicken flavour super noodles (or any other ramen noodle in a square pack) cooked as per the packet instructions but with a bit of crunchy peanut butter and soy sauce and sriracha sauce put in. Sometimes I step it up and put in rice wine vinegar and chillies and maybe some mushrooms and greens but mostly It’s noodles and peanut butter. It coagulates into a ball then you eat it.'
The Supermarket Sweep
According to editorial assistant Chemmie, Sainsbury's is the way forward, 'Thanks to my uni days and the allure of Sainsbury's Local just across the road, their meal deal became my hangover go-to. Ham hock sandwich, full fat Coke and Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli is your (my) man.'
Culture editor Jess swears by self-loathing and showers, 'I roll around in bed reading Twitter until I become so disgusted by how late in the day it is that I’m forced to get up and get in the shower. Original Source lemon shower gel erases any of those gross memories of kebabs or fags and turning the temperature right down at the end gives you the shock/self-loathing punishment you need to go about the rest of your day.'
The Conventional Route
Creative editor Anna sticks to tried and tested methods, 'My foolproof method is to start the day by taking two ibuprofen, which is an antiinflammatory so soothes a headache way better than paracetamol. I wash this down with pint of water, full fat coke & coconut water (sorry but it works!).'
Natalia our picture assistant, swears by nostalgia telly and erm, fish. 'I watch back to back Friends and OC episodes. I like to eat tuna out of a tin when doing so.'
Emma our social media editor has a number of tricks up her sleeve; 'A Lucozade! Or a Ribena with lots of sugar. Also eating my body weight in bread and actually…having another cold beer for lunch. Plus, I hate to be "that person" but actually bikram yoga has worked wonders before, sweating it all out etc.'
The Classy Cure
Deputy editor Lena keeps things upmarket, 'At risk of sounding like a bit of a posh twat but San Pellegrino sparkling water is a winner. Scientifically it has the highest concentration of salt and thus is most satisfying on a hangover. And have now persuaded myself it's the only thing that works to justify the spend over normal soda water. In real dire times a 'Red Ambulance' aka full fat coke is bought instead.'
Hair Of The Dog
Staff Writer Stevie goes in hard. 'Cheese, egg and bread based things throughout the day are essential; paninis, sandwiches, the lot. Then at about 4PM, a large glass of white wine mixed with soda water should sort you right out.'
**Follow Jazmin on Instagram **@JazKopotsha
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.