One of my ambitions is to become a highly paid Life Coach, in which capacity I will help people make career, relationship, and clothing decisions; learn to love their bodies; and develop a deeper appreciation of literature and film. My sub-speciality will be script-doctoring resumes, cover letters, admissions essays, theses, poetry, doctors' notes, permissions forms, legal opinions, whatever. As I did once for a good friend, I could even monitor the responses to an online dating ad, sorting potential candidates by desirability.
Chapter 43 in my sanctimonious book as a Life Coach, Living a Well-Lived Life, will be about choosing your friends wisely *and* how to recognize when you have done so. Featured in that chapter will be the following advice: reflect on your most recent New Year's Eve experience. Was it satisfactory, socially? Why or why not?
As an example, I could describe my own most recent NYE, which, as all such events should, consisted of several parts:
1) A cocktail party which included both familiar folks and new people to meet;
2) Intimate dinner at the home of close friends;
3) Meeting up with several other friends to attend a fucking wild burlesque and variety show at the Zipper Factory hosted by drag emperor Murray Hill that included full-frontal male nudity, several raunchy acrobatic routines involving a man dressed up as a horny monkey, a stripper singing cheerfully offensive ballads, including about aborting twins ("two for the price of one!"), and more. During intermission, everyone took to the stage for drunken revelry, an impromptu dance party -- with the cast members! -- that lasted almost an hour.
And bless their hearts, my friends stuck it out! Despite alcohol spillage, douchebag straight men in the audience, and the fact that one of them brought her sister who, in turn, brought her boyfriend, who turned out to be a Christian and a virgin; despite the fact that one had to work early the next morning and the increasingly drunken, sloppy performers showed no sign of slowing; even despite the cold, everyone had a great time and no one gave up before it was over. That is how I know just how lucky I am when it comes to friends.
NOTE: Five years in a row Mr. Ben and I crept away to Wanakena for New Year's. It felt strange not to be there, eating and lounging and reading and tramping through the snow and sitting by the fire, and we missed it. We did try to make up for the omission by spending the next two days playing board games with intellectual-types. That did sort of salve the wound.