New Year's Eve - a sparkly dress, a glittering party, a bubbly drink, and if you're lucky, a kiss that lingers minutes past midnight. What better way to send off 2009 (good riddance!) and ring in the next decade?
Yet, anyone who's ever experienced a New Year's Eve knows the expectations are higher than for almost any other night of the year - and the pressures, dangers, and stresses are doubled as well. Whether it's how to tell your boyfriend that you'd like to remain a virgin into 2010 or that tonight's the night to try something new, it's important to have a plan for how you want your night to go.
Whether you're standing in Times Square watching the ball drop, dancing your way into 2010, or hosting your own bash, here are some tips for a safe, sexy New Year's night:
Make your resolutions. Decide before you head out for the night how far you're willing to go with your partner. Is the kiss at midnight enough or are you ready to head back to someone's house for more? It's easier to stick to decisions you've made before alcohol and the spirit of the night carries you away. Don't be afraid to make your intentions known before the evening gets underway - your partner will respect you more for being firm in your choices.
Stock up on Plan A and Plan B. The hours between work and the party are for making sure you look hot in your outfit, not for running around town looking for rubbers. Go to the drugstore the day before to get condoms, lube and anything else you'll want to spice up the evening. While you're there, stop at the pharmacy counter and pick up Plan B One Step, the only one-pill emergency contraception that can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. You always plan to have safe sex but even the best made plans can go awry - Plan B One Step is just one pill, you can get it from the pharmacist without a prescription (if you are 17 or older), and the sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
So this is what FourSquare is for! Map out your party before you head out and decide early where you'll be waking up in 2010. If you plan to hop from bash to bash, make sure you leave each location with the same crew you arrived with. Never leave a friend (or even a friend and her date) alone at a party. Keep in touch by text to see when people are ready to move on - and be careful about posting your movements on Facebook and to your Twitter feed. What may seem like a fun running timeline could read like a road map to a stalker.
Have some Spirit Sense. If you're going to drink, don't be stupid - make sure you have a designated driver or chip in for a group cab. The same rules you use at a frat party apply tenfold on New Year's Eve: don't accept a drink from anyone you don't know and never leave it unattended. If a friend starts showing symptoms that go beyond buzzed - nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, loss of consciousness - seek medical attention immediately and tell the EMS you suspect she may have ingested a date rape drug.
Think about tomorrow. If you do plan to drink, be nice to yourself beforehand. Have a good dinner and make sure to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. If you think there's a chance of a New Year's Day hangover, put some Gatorade in your fridge (it's all about the electrolytes - most of the pain of a hangover is from the dehydration) and put some aspirin next to your bed before you head out for the night.
Have fun - and a safe, sexy send-off for 2009!
Follow Shelby Knox on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShelbyKnox