New Year's Eve—the most important drinking night of the year—is almost upon us! What kind of party are you going to? Only five types exist, which I will detail for you after the jump.

Party Type 1: Oh, This Is Nice
You usually end up at this party after Tanya can't come into town after all and cancels or you were just too darn busy to make good plans, real plans, ahead of time. So you put on a sweater you got for Christmas or the cocktail dress you bought for Debbie's engagement party that you never wore again, and drag some poor unwitting sap of a friend to the party where you don't really know anyone. It's super awkward at first and you just stand by the cheese and crackers, nodding your head to the music, furtively gulping room-temperature chardonnay and furiously wishing for midnight. That way you can hug and kiss the host—she's Tom's friend from work—on the cheek and be on your merry way. What you forget, of course, is that everyone at this party is awkward, and everyone is furtively gulping booze so round about 11:15 er'body's crunk and having deep, sloshy meaningful conversations with each other and your friend is making out with some dude in the hallway and it's sort of the best-slash-worst party you've ever been to. See, the key is to not expect much from New Year's eve. Then it has potential to be great fun. Until you wake up the next morning and you vaguely remember telling that cute guy with the glasses about the time you peed your pants on the R train and you might have cried at one point and oh god you can never, ever see any of those people ever again.

Party Type 2: There's a Place Just a Few Blocks Up
Another product of poor planning. You've cobbled together a group of friends, some are visiting from out of town!, and you're psyched and ready to go except no one made dinner reservations and oh fuck aren't you supposed to like pay a hundred bucks to get inside a bar and stay there all night or something? No worries. There's this Italian place on 7th that's always empty and maybe that bar we went to that time won't be so full. What you end up doing is eating a hasty, bad, too-expensive meal then trudging from bar to bar to bar because everything is too crowded. You're blessed with one friend who keeps complaining that you guys are walking too fast and her shoes are killing her and another who is suspiciously shitfaced. (The culprit is later revealed to be a well-hidden flask). Then everyone gets mad and starts snapping at each other and someone finally yells "I just want to be somewhere, anywhere inside, at midnight. Not wandering around on the street." So you go to the worst, first bar you can find and have a couple beers and hug meekly at twelve then drink some more, and then the secret ninja drunk is trying to coax a stranger at the bar to do untoward things so it's time to take them home and who's going where and let's split cabs maybe? No? OK, fine. Good night. Let's actually make a plan next year, and ugh. You hate New Year's. It's never what you want it to be.

Party Type 3: At the Clurrrrrb
You paid $150 for an unlimited fount (if you can ever actually get to the bar) of watered-down well vodka and sodas! There are swirling lights and meaty guys with shimmer-shirts fist pumping and yelling "you my boy!" or "Ima wreck you, son!" and zomg, Kim Kardashian or someone is hosting! These are the worst kind of New Year's Eve parties, in my opinion, because you're trapped in a terrible place with terrible people but you spent all this money and what else would you be doing anyway? (see above) The celebrity-hosted ones (though they may be in short supply this year) are the worst because they're getting paid a ton to be there and act like they're having fun, while you are paying a ton to be there and act like you're having fun. Will you be enjoying New Year's Eve this year at Marquee in New York City? The celebrity emcee is none other than Dancing With the Stars runner-up and Wedding in Las Vegas megastar Mario Lopez. Your straight boyfriend will just love that, won't he. Disco dancin' while some half-a-fag Carebear stares his dimples at all the ladays. Enjoy it.

Party Type 4: Oh, We Went to Bed at 11
This is mostly your parents. Or it was mostly your parents and, shriek!, now it's you. You are tired and who wants to spend the money anyway. You put the bottle of champagne that someone brought over for a party months ago into the freezer and sit on the couch watching Father of the Bride: Part II, flicking back occasionally to the Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest annual Times Square is a Miserable Shithole Rockin' Eve and vow to stay up and watch the ball drop and call your friends (or kids) who are out enjoying themselves. Maybe you're with one other person, I dunno. What ends up happening is that you fall asleep on the couch, snore through midnight, wake up with a start at 1:15, turn off the TV (which is now showing a M*A*S*H rerun), and shuffle off to bed. The next day you'll spend some time cleaning the broken champagne bottle glass out of the freezer then walking around the corner to get a bagel. It'll be like the opening in Shaun of the Dead when he doesn't realize everyone else is zombies. An empty, slightly destroyed cityscape and just you alone, strolling along. Because you didn't go out last night. And you're not sure if you're sad about it.

Party Type 5: Auld Lang Syne
And then sometimes it just works out. Your house party is awesome and everyone comes and has a great time. Or it was just the perfect bar. Or the couch was just fine and you (and, if you're lucky, someone special) curled up and enjoyed being home. And then at midnight everyone around you felt very close by, and those who couldn't make it felt very far away, and you smiled and hugged and maybe sang and just gushed about how wonderful New Year's is, really how wonderful. When else throughout the year, throughout life, do we ever all gather to celebrate the passing of time, rather than mourn it? It's a good, ancient thing. And something we should do more often.

Or maybe you're just drunk and it's just another nice night. And that's enough to be happy for.