So. What are you doing New Year's Eve?
That question may sound like a bad pickup line at a holiday gathering, the seasonal version of "Do you come here often?" or "What's a nice person like you doing in a place like this?"For myself, I've been hearing that question for a month, thanks to one friend who calls, and before "Hello," blurts out: "Do you have a date yet for New Year's?" She's the kind of woman who, like many of us, might hope to spin a Thanksgiving relationship into the New Year's kind.
For single people, New Year's Eve is a holiday that carries the weight of an entire calendar worth's of expectations, a date night equivalent to a whole year's worth of Saturday nights.
It's a holiday with few traditions, beyond that midnight madness thing, Dick Clark's TV countdown and the annual singing of that song with words nobody can remember. And don't forget about dodging drunken drivers on the way home.
Confetti. Noisemakers. Champagne. Overcrowded dance floors. Balloons that don't drop on cue. Leftover eggnog.
It's a good sign or a bad omen. It's the threshold of a great new year or a slammed door on a not-so-memorable old one.
It's a holiday of hope if you're in a relationship. It's a holiday with an attitude if you're not.
Parties or dances, board games or "La Bamba." In the spirit of the eve, a variety of Salt Lakers offer their celebration plans at the turn of the year.
Matt Durham, law student: "I hate New Year's because there is this incredible pressure to have a date of some kind. Even if you'd rather sit home, you can't. Because then if people say, `So, what did you do for New Year's?' and you say, `I watched a video and went to bed at 11,' they say, `Oh, that's so depressing.'
"I want to make it perfectly clear, however, if I am quoted, I want to be on this date that I have this year."
Bruce Plenk, attorney: "Here's what I'm going to do. If the weather is clear, I'm looking for some folks to go on a full-moon ski tour. Because, as (singer) Nanci Griffith says, `The opportunities for doing special things only happen `Once in a Very Blue Moon.' ' And conveniently enough, New Year's Eve this year happens to be a full moon."
Cinda Morgan, marketing, Bookcraft Publishers: "Nothing.
"I don't feel like it's a big evening for me because it hasn't been for years. I would just as soon stay home with friends and play some board games and really chow down than go out with all of the traffic and stuff out there."
Bill Orton, Utah congressman-elect: "I don't know. What did you have in mind? Just a little joke.
"Well, I live at Sundance. And my family and I have a tradition of spending New Year's Eve together. My parents and my sisters and their husbands and my nieces and nephews come down to my house and we have a family party.
"We just spend the afternoon and evening together and eat and enter the New Year together. And we all sleep over together at my house and get up the next day and watch the Rose Parade and eat more.
"Sorry, no wild singles parties. That may be why I'm still single.
"I don't know. If anybody has any better offers, let me know."
Michael Rawson, news reporter, KUTV, Ch. 2: "What day is that? I don't have anything planned.
"I hate New Year's Eve. If you're single and you don't have anybody, it's kind of depressing. You can lose yourself in the bottom of a whiskey bottle or stay at home. And that's why those options are sort of sad.
"I'd rather stay home with a good book and dream. Make me sound like a sensitive guy."
Liz Barlow, associate director of development, Ballet West: "Hopefully, something that I will deeply regret.
"The rest is none of your business, actually."
Ross Martin, public information officer for the Utah Department of Health: "Looking for a party, I think, is probably the best way to put it. I plan my days on a day-to-day basis, because when you're single, you can afford to do that.
"Say that I have many, many, many choices to choose from."
Biff Raffe, music director and disc jockey, KJQ: "I don't know, I honestly don't. I'm a very uninteresting person. I have no idea.
"I don't care at all. I think it's basically one of the most undramatic events."
Joanne Milner, state legislator: "I will probably be sitting home alone with a good book. I suppose that the finale should be a composite of what the year has been, and that's why I'm going to be home alone."
John Youngren, public relations: "I really don't have any plans. Maybe spending the night watching icicles melt. I really haven't gotten around to it yet.
"Two years ago, I had a really lame, bad one. Last year, I had a good one. Both of those I didn't know what I was doing until three days before. So this year will break the tie."
Bob Gore, government employee: "I get all those holidays confused. New Year's? Is that the religious one where you go to church?
"We are actually planning to do something with our children. Play games with the children. That will go good in the Deseret News, won't it?
"Just stay at home with the kids. We'd sit by the fire, if we had one."
Connie Callahan, public affairs assistant, Hercules: "I will be home where I feel it's safe and with my family. I know that sounds like I'm a party pooper, but that is who I prefer to be with. We'll watch videos and I'll make a home-baked dinner. My children will be there, plus their friends."
David Smoot, attorney: "I have no idea. I've actually thought about it, but I haven't moved on it yet. I'm sure not going to go to the ward party. Do you have any ideas?"