The stages of your awful hometown night out

Of course it will happen on Christmas Eve

You don’t know what to wear to prove how much you’ve blossomed

It’s hard to know what to wear on your hometown night out because a) you’re far more attractive than most of them and b) they simply can’t appreciate the the clean lines of your Cos T-shirt because they think it’s “just a t-shirt”. Irony is a level above them, this is no place for your trainers or charity shop crops. Dress and heels and you’ll look like you still give a shit about them and still want Dec to desperately fancy you. There is no easy win here. 

You all pose in your living room teapotting and shielding Donna a bit because my god has she changed since school but she has lost 3lbs recently so good for her

The aesthetic for the night has been decided. It is hometown chic. Trainers and crop tops are gone, bodycon dresses are out. Everyone smells faintly of biscuits and Michelle accidentally leant too hard on Tara’s white boob tube minidress and now it’s got an orange stain. Mum can’t work Ella’s new rose gold iPhone 6s that she got as a bonus from the call centre so it takes a really long time to take the picture and after a while your smile is a little bit strained and mum is saying “oh it’s like school again”.

The picture appears tagged on Facebook the next day with the caption “so happi to c all the gals!!” and even though you hate it you hit like because you didn’t make Donna’s baby’s christening so you feel quite bad.


The bar is ridiculously fucking cheap

But all anyone wants to drink is rosé because “it’s classy”. We get a bottle for the table, and Angela accidentally spills a glass and everyone glares at her because it cost £8.

Inexplicably I become a complete dickhead, because everyone keeps meeting other peripheral hometown memory friends and shouting over the unironic Sean Paul track (which I swear has played three times already) that “she lives in London now”.

“I’ll get you a drink” why am I saying this every time I go to the bar? “Nah, it’s fine, the prices are so cheap. No honestly, so, cheap, in London this would be ridic”. Why am I using words like gentrification? Is it just because they got boobs before me at school and now I want the upper hand? Probably, and I both hate myself and really enjoy it.

Rochelle, the bitch who bullied you at school, has become pretty butters

You know what, good.

You have to wait for Rob to finish his beer outside the pub

Rob still thinks you’re in year 10, so you weren’t really surprised when he opted for a warm-as-piss “road beer” even though you’re all grown adults now who probably don’t need to get pissed off your parents’ Carling. Nevertheless Rob persevered, and now you’re forced to stand here in the freezing cold while Rob bolts down the can outside the Old Cock Inn and then crushes the beer can on his head, just like old times.


Your mate who went to uni and ‘just wants to have a drink night for once’

Whatever you do, just don’t let Laura – sorry, now “Loz” – find someone who is selling drugs at the run down, hometown club you go to. She’s wearing a red bandana and ripped tights, but is having such a nice time back with the home girls that she really just wants to be satisfied with a few beers. You’re secretly happy she’s there because it makes your own transformation seem much less annoying.

Your mate who didn’t go to uni and finds it repugnant that you take drugs

You know what, yes, fine I’ve decided I sometimes like to take drugs on nights out. Why is that such a big deal Harvey? Why do you keep sharing “it only takes once to OD” PSAs on your Facebook and passive-aggressively tagging me in them. Why do you feel the need to corner me in the smoking area of our incredibly quiet hometown pub and start asking me if I’m alright? Until I start shooting up at the dinner table in front of my tearful bruised mother I think we can hold off on the intervention.


You see Jenny across the bar and have to start avoiding her

You haven’t seen Jenny since sixth form. You don’t like her, and she doeees not like you. Best to stay on the other side of the pub and stare into your drink to avoid those daggers.

Crazy Sam gets the Goldschlägers in

It is bloody Christmas after all, and what’s more Christmassy than gimmicky festive spirits? Don’t worry lads, this round’s on Sam. Or at least it will be until tomorrow morning, where he’ll bluntly ask the whole WhatsApp group for £3 each because he’s “a bit short atm”.

Your crush has a kid

Back in Year Eight Jess ruled your world. You sat together in Maths and even held hands on the bus home once. But time passed. Now, a few years later, she reappears, buggy in hand, more tired-looking than you remember. She doesn’t acknowledge you when she walks past. You feel young. Time makes fools of us all. 

The boys from the year above who used to pull your tie and call you peanut are at the bar

My word James you’ve got a bit of a gut! He was always the sidekick anyway. Oh, there he is. Mike, standing resplendent in Fred Perry polo buttoned up to the top, elbow on the bar scowling at the six out of 10s that walk past. They’ve become a parody of themselves. Once the beacon of cool, the ones you wished you could be like, now you pity them. Mike dropped out of uni in first year – turns out Sports Science isn’t that easy. Chris, James and the rest of the gang are stuck working for the Telecoms company owned by your headmaster’s brother. Mike’s still with that absolute bitch who threw your bag in the girls’ toilets one time. She’s no better. Your mates who fell in with that crowd at school, the ones who went round your house and played table tennis in summer 2008 are nowhere to be seen in the club – they’re stood outside on the door with the fluorescent yellow arm band, telling your drunk mate his name isn’t down, and he’s not coming in.


Jenny sees you and you nip out for a fag to avoid her

Shit shit shit shit. Did she see me?

Inevitably, the person you lost your virginity to is there

I know what you’re thinking: Surely, surely they didn’t look like this when I was 17. Over the past few years the story has become moulded and changed beyond all recognition. In reality: They’re shorter than you remember, and podgier. And they’re not quite as funny, and definitely not as fit. The thing is all their mates are here, so obviously you’re going to have to speak to them awkwardly while their besties guffaw like it only happened two weeks ago but actually it was ages and we’ve all moved on. Outside of this, real, very close situation, it’s easy to decide that it’s all pretty funny and cringe in a teenage way, when you’re joking about it with your mature, adult, friends. But now they’re drinking a Carling and you can feel their breath on your face and you cannot stop thinking about how they looked on top of you and you can actually feel your ovaries shrivelling in disgust at your bad decisions.

You have to speak to Jenny

You tried your hardest, but the time has come and you’re so drunk that you don’t even care anymore. You’ll pretend to like her for an awkward five minutes and then head back to your friend group to rant about that BITCH. She’s doing the same to hers so it’s fine. 

This song comes on and everyone loses their fucking shit

Your first meal on christmas day

The situation: it’s 4am and your hair looks like somebody combed it with fireworks and you’re standing in the queue at a halal place called Chic-O-Land and you thought you weren’t going to do it this time – you weren’t going to go to The Drayton and throw up in the toilets and then buy everyone “slammers” because you’re the only person with a job, then throw up again — but you did do it, and you bought some pub gak cut with a delightful baby laxative from a man walking his dog outside (you’ll start shitting yourself when Mum bring out the cheeseboard just before Downton Abbey starts). But you don’t question that, instead you ignore that shackling feeling being back at home fills you with, with its shrunken horizons, its familiar sights, its acute, unforgettable embarrassments and the yawning, chasmic gulf that’s starting to emerge between you and your mates, now only held together by a common past, not common interests. Well fuck that feeling, you think, as you order number six, the burger with wings, chips and a Pepsi. It’s only £3.50. Tearing into the salted carbs and the glistening indeterminate pucks of battery chicken, horror washes over you in an awesome wave — you’ll be having Dad’s famous smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and bucks fizz Crimbo Day breakfast.


Trying to get a taxi home

They seriously haven’t got Uber here yet? You’re going to charge me how much to get back to my ends? I’ll just flag down one of the boy racers in the Corsas driving round all night and they’ll take me home for a quid.

In the back of the cab

“How’s your dad?” “Yeah good” “And your mum” “Yeah they’re good” “I saw your aunt Janice last week outside Tesco doing her big shop” “Yeah?” “She’s got this new cocker spaniel and it’s pissing everywhere” “Mate honestly I’ll walk from here”

Trying to be quiet getting into your parents house

Santa’s arrival is imminent and you’ve realised you have to be up in four hours to go to a family meal where presumably you will have to be presentable. You are far more drunk than you ever intended on getting and you’ve forgotten how to put the keys in the door. When you eventually figure it out, you tiptoe around the house but your parents will of course wake up and give you the same disapproving look they gave you when you used to come home drunk in year 12. You can try and be silent as you chunder in the loo, but someone will still ask “Good night last night, then?” at the table the next day, and your whole family will burst into a fit of giggles.

By Bobby Palmer from Harpenden, Oli Dugmore from Stratford-Upon-Avon, Tom Jenkin from Epping, Jack Cummings from Grantham, Will Lloyd from Ealing, Roisin Lanigan from Belfast, Grace Vielma from Chorley, Bella Eckert from Eastbourne, Cloe Fernandez-Barnes from London, Josh Kaplan from Guildford, Cat Reid from Stourbridge, Ben Clarke from Bakewell, Daisy Bernard from Oxford and Craig O’Callaghan from Colchester.