For reasons I can't figure out, New Year's Eve continues to be a source of frustration for Chicagoans looking to have a great time. It's not that hard, people! Allow me to walk you through, hour by hour, a foolproof plan to optimize your New Year's Eve experience. Think of this as P90X for partying.
Make sure you got a good night of sleep. That is imperative. Before you leave for work, assemble the following by your bed: ibuprofen, a giant cup and a sports drink.
Eat something with carbs. Get a sub and then put some chicken alfredo on it. Put pizza bagels on a pizza. Hell, you can make a pasta salad and put it on a salad for all I care. Just carb up!
Dinner. Make sure you don't fill up to the point of being sleepy. Eat whatever makes you happy. Matter of fact, that's your new year's resolution: "In 2013, I am going to eat what makes me happy."
By now, you've arrived at your destination for the evening, be it a house party or hotel function. If you take away only one lesson from this column, make it the following:
DO NOT DRINK CHAMPAGNE YET.
DO NOT DRINK WINE YET.
DO NOT TAKE ANY SHOTS YET.
Those three decisions are responsible for 90 percent of horrible New Year's Eve experiences.
If you are single, it's time to start choosing options for a NYE BF/GF. May I suggest one of the following?
>>The random cousin of a friend who happens to be in town
>>The random college roommate of a friend who happens to be in town
>>Anyone who is winking at you, unless he or she has a twitch
You may now start drinking wine and champagne.
You may now start taking shots.
Avoid that one person who celebrates the ball dropping in Times Square. Screw the East Coast.
Assist with getting everyone a glass of champagne. Don't be a bridezilla about it. If someone doesn't want champagne, that's fine.
Gather everyone near a TV to watch the countdown.
Do the following, in order:
>>Hug your best friend
>>Kiss that random roommate/cousin/winker. Nothing fancy. Just make it known you mean business.
>>Text or call your mom.
>>Take that extra bottle of champagne and pretend you just won the pennant. Take a swig out of the bottle. If your friends complain, get new friends.
>>Get back to kissing.
Alternate between dancing, making out and engaging in that awkward super-serious conversation you and your best friends always have. Yes, you should start home brewing. No, you shouldn't quit your job to give the music thing a go. Yes, I love you too, bro.
Now it's up to you. Some people go to bed because they're boring human beings who make life a drag for all they encounter. Some people pass out. Some get laid. Whatever works!
When you get home, rip large chunks off of that chicken (oh yeah, did I mention you should buy a cooked chicken the night before?) and shove them into your face. Take an ibuprofen, fill that big cup with water and drink it. Ditto on the sports drink.
You made it! Now you can go to bed, having started 2013 with a bang. Happy New Year!
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman. email@example.com
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.