With a long term relationship comes appreciation than some events are non-negotiable.
Birthdays are one, Monday, Wednesday and Friday episodes of Coronation Street are another, and the Six Nations also manages to make its way onto the list, whether I like it or not (spoiler: I do not).
But I don’t grudge the fun that comes with it, on account of my overall life intention to not be a dick about harmless things (with the exception of all the things about which I give myself permission to be a dick, namely: poor customer service, people wearing shoes in my house, and any occasion when I’m feeling a bit overtired).Sure, having life arranged around relentless games of rugby for a number of weekends straight (I’ve lost count, does it go on for 21 or 22 weeks?) is a little inconvenient socially speaking – the games tend to kick off around the sort of time when I particularly like to step out for lunch or change the bed, but these things can be rearranged. I am a reasonable person. Also I’ve learnt that it’s possible to eat lunch whilst watching rugby which makes it a 100% more interesting pastime.
But mainly I just don’t partake, I do other things, I see friends, I read a book, I stare into the abyss – I’m very good at keeping myself entertained. But what I do get involved with is with the side effect of relentless rugby and sporting celebrations, and inevitable all day drinking. The hangover. A condition which, if I may say so, I am exceptional at caring for. There’s basically six steps to it:
STEP ONE: Prepare the ground
Buy up all the ibuprofen, Lucozade, eggs, meat-based breakfast goods and sugary sweets you can get your paws on but, CRUCIALLY, keep them out of reach until the following day, otherwise you could find everything has disappeared in a post-party-time midnight feast, and then you’ll have to leave the house to buy more things and nobody likes leaving the house.
STEP TWO: Turn off your alarm clock
No, not for him, he’d sleep right through that bad boy. Hell, he wouldn’t wake up if you shouted “Rugby has been cancelled forever! Apparently you can pass the ball forwards after all and the whole game has been called into question!” (Ok fine, he might, but mainly because he’d be wowed into consciousness by my exceptional rugby knowledge). No, this is for you. Have a good sleep, you’ll need your energy for all the kind caring you’re about to do.
STEP THREE: Remember, the fact that this was all self-inflicted is irrelevant
You know what you feel like when you’re ill? You know, pathetic, delicate, like all you want is to be tucked in and fed drinkable yogurt through a straw? Well, a hungover person is very similar, except replace ‘tucked in’ with ‘left the hell alone on the sofa in front of the TV under a blanket’ and ‘drinkable yogurt’ with ’50 different types of fluids because I JUST CAN’T DECIDE WHAT I WANT MY HEAD HURTS’. So behave accordingly. Best stock up on glasses in advance.
STEP FOUR: Keep it down
The problem with looking after a hungover person is that it’s a bit dull. They’re not great conversationalists in this state, and ideally they’d like nothing more than total peace and quiet. But if you’re not also recovering from a booze-fest, you might find yourself feeling a bit restless. So, sure, pop on an episode of Corrie, but keep the volume down low. Just the sound of the theme tune could be enough to finish a person off.
STEP FIVE: Use motivational phrases to boost morale when things get tough
A hungover day is like a metaphor for life. Sometimes you wake up and think everything’s going to be OK and then before you’ve even got down the stairs you realise that you can’t even remember where you left your shoes last night or if you remembered to shut the front door. So morale is going to dip from time to time, and it’s up to you to keep everybody motivated. My go-to words of support are: “You’re doing so well – I reckon you’re through the worst of it now!” and “If anybody can beat this, it’s you – just do nothing, you’re ace at that!” I recommend going for heartfelt but with just a little edge, for your own personal amusement.
STEP SIX: Reap the benefits of your kindness
One day it will be your turn. You’ll step out of an evening, sup on two or maybe even three mojitos and you’ll find yourself regretting all that mint and crushed ice (and probably the rum) come the following morning, and you’ll welcome a little TLC with open arms. You too will want to have a variety of drinks and snacks to choose from, and somebody there to reassure you that, no, life will not always feel this way – the universe isn’t really going to punish you forever for having the audacity to have fun – and you will reap the benefits of the exceptional standards of hangover care you’ve set.
If an event must come around every year then we might as well make it as pleasant-a-part of the calendar as possible, rather than just two months of sighing and stomping off upstairs and muttering about ‘never disappearing to the pub all afternoon to watch my programmes!’
Ok, fine, I said that once. It’s not my fault they don’t show Coronation Street in bars. But if they did, I’d be there. And I might find myself taking up that hangover care a little sooner than I thought.