As the clock draws nearer to leaving time this Friday and the promise of 48 hours of freedom, two members of team ELLE reflect on their very different typical weekend. Asking and answering whether there's more to time off than wasting away on a sofa, recovering from yet another hangover?
Finlay Renwick, 23
‘Maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?’ Derek Zoolander once mused. Obviously this is a question that has kept me awake at night in the past, but recently my immediate existential woe has warped into ‘Maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously drunk?’
I mean, I’m not always really drunk, I am what you’d call a weekend warrior, one of a sea of *shudder ‘Millenials’ who spend their weekdays in the London whirlpool - tube, work, Little Sainsbury’s, TV, bed, rinse, repeat - only to spend a hefty portion of my 48 hours of leisure time either planning to get drunk, getting drunk, or recovering from being drunk.
Written down, this seems fairly bleak and maybe it is, but alcohol is the social lubricant that turns the gears of young England and I’ve never been one to turn down the chance of a good time.
But recently I’ve been finding that, at the grand age of 23, my hangovers are morphing into their own individual Greek Tragedies. Trials by fire where I alternate between staring at imaginary mould crawling across my ceiling, to fending off thoughts of immediate and inelegant doom. Like King Leonidas at Thermopylae, except my battle isn’t against a swarm of magical Persians, it’s self-induced and pathetic and against overpriced craft beer.
My weekends in London are a shoddy 80’s montage of £5 pints, hazy taxi journeys, cotton mouth and regrettable text messages. ‘3 am? I absolutely need to write this. Absolutely…
If I was American I would probably be considered to have a problem. I’d be sat in a whitewash room in a mall car park, surrounded by earnest faces as I recount my sin: ‘My name is Finlay and I like to get pissed on the weekend.’
On the long, dark Sundays that often follow my inability to say no, I lie in stupor, dreaming of farmer’s markets, fresh fruit, walks on Hamstead Heath and smug Crossfit sessions; book clubs and gardening centres. Bucolic fantasies of a well-hydrated middle age.
I think I need a hobby away from the bottom of a glass. I think that’s what I need.
I suppose the reason I drink can be summarised by Charles Bukowski: ‘That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.’
While it probably isn’t the best idea to take life advice from a near lifelong alcoholic, no one’s ever told you a good story about Crossfit, have they?
Lotte Jeffs, 33
Deputy Editor ELLE Magazine
You know when you’re in the kitchen at work on a Monday morning and someone asks ‘good weekend?’ and you say ‘yeah, really good thanks’ with a bit of a smirk because, OMG if they only knew what a hot mess you were just 24-hours ago when you were dancing naked at The Box with a fire eater and a bearded man in drag.
I’m in my 30s you see and if you ask me how my weekend was I might say, ‘really good thanks’ with a mysterious smirk because I am picturing the inside of my kitchen cupboards, which are now joyfully clean and tidy because my girlfriend and I spent Saturday night ‘curating’ them so that the almond butter and coconut pieces are within reaching distance of our Nutribullet, and the fridge now has designated compartments for cheese, greens, and natural yogurts. Could it be that I’m ‘coming up’ just thinking about them?
The days of hangovers are, on the whole, over for me. My weekends are so precious that the thought of wasting a day on the sofa, unable to move anything other than the TV remote is anathema.
Every second of my leisure time must be savored: Look at me pootling through East London on my bicycle to a hot yoga class; observe how I skip along Columbia Road buying overpriced gladiolas; witness the smug look on my face as I sit down to start work on the novel that I have been sitting down to start work on for the past six months.
Getting off my face does not figure in my Instagram-cliché of a Saturday or my rolled up boyfriend jeans and oh so casual Isabel Marant jumper of a Sunday.
I drink, sure, in the way all 30-somethings do; too much and too often. We just have robust constitutions, thanks to being obliged to drink vats of Prosecco whenever anything good, bad or mildly interesting happens.
Also when you’re 33, boozing is not the main event – it’s all about stealth drinking. Oh yes, we’re all here to enjoy a delightful poetry slam or supper club or pop up art show… getting just drunk enough to take the edge off is a happy by product.
I don’t miss those days of drinking for drinking’s sake then feeling so rough on my two days off that an existential crisis would kick in just in time to catch the tube to work on Monday morning.
But I am kind of nostalgic for my 20s - the banter with friends the morning after, the gay abandon of random, spontaneous journeys into the night where no one really knows where we are going or why. And I guess, if I’m honest, I miss that tequila-fuelled excuse to make mistakes, and enjoy making them.
Because no amount of rearranging my chia seed collection is ever, really going to be that fun.