Macho Guy will not be my date this New Year’s Eve. He hasn’t been for quite a while. Ever since he retired, he’s no fun at all on the Eve. He can’t manage to stay awake until the ball in Times Square drops at midnight, so I had to ditch him and look elsewhere.
Don’t panic. We’re not breaking up. My replacement New Year’s Eve date is my wacky and vivacious Baby Sister. Yes, she is. Seriously. I’m not joking. Permit me to explain.
We follow the same routine every winter come December. After spending Christmas with either Firstborn down south or his Little Brother up north, we drive down to my Baby Sister’s place in Florida to celebrate the New Year with her and my brother-in-law.
Our New Year’s Eve plans never vary. Mature cave dwellers that we are, we eschew noisy clubs or restaurants in favor of the cozy and relaxed atmosphere of remaining in our cave.
The hunters are in charge of providing the animal flesh for our feast. They seek the best possible cut of steaks and a full-bodied red wine—Cabernet Franc and Malbec are favorites. They then spread their bounty before us upon their return. The other gatherer and I assemble the ingredients for a salad and side dishes, crusty French bread, and key lime pie for dessert.
The hunters, of course, claim the masculine right of charring the animal flesh they procured on the hunt. They do so over an open fire outdoors—on a gas barbecue grill—while the lowly gatherers inside the cave’s kitchen prepare the rest of the feast.
In the early evening, the hunters begin toasting the New Year. While they grill the animal flesh, they engage in a masculine ritual that involves imbibing alcoholic spirits that have been poured over ice chunks in beverage containers. They refill these beverage containers frequently and then continue toasting and grilling. The animal flesh cooks and the hunters’ brains pickle at about the same rate of speed. Done at last!
The gatherers, who wisely remained sober early in the evening, had the accompaniments ready for some time. When the hunters enter with the charred animal flesh, they spread the entire feast on the table. The consumption begins in earnest.
During the feast, the now extremely mellow hunters switch to the red wine to toast the New Year. The more wine they imbibe, the sillier the toasts. The sillier the toasts, the louder their laughter. The gatherers glance at each other and roll their eyes.
Following dessert, the hunters and gatherers retire to the living area and turn on the TV to watch the New Year’s Eve celebratory programming. After a brief interlude—very brief—snoring on the part of the hunters begins to drown out the audio portion of the New Year’s Eve broadcast—even the heavy metals bands. The gatherers shake the hunters awake and chastise them for their drunkenness, for their snoring, and for being the worst New Year’s Eve dates ever.
The hunters doze off again, and the snoring resumes. The gatherers turn up the TV volume. Not to be outdone, the hunters snore even louder. The gatherers admit defeat. Better to be dateless than to endure more of this boorish behavior. They order the hunters to bed. The hunters oblige and, with no small assistance from the gatherers, they retire for the night (and most of the next morning).
The gatherers return to the cave’s living area to view the New Year’s Eve programming without the hunters’ additional sound effects. Together, they watch the ball drop, break out the noisemakers, hug and kiss, and toast the New Year with Champagne. The two polish off the bottle of Champagne and stay up for hours happily reminiscing about the good old days before heading off to bed on January 1st.
And that is the true and unadulterated explanation of how my Baby Sister became my annual New Year’s Eve date—in perpetuity.