It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror the next day at what should have technically been a face that I realised exactly what had happened.
There were blotches of purple and blue that were definitely not there the day before. It looked like I’d had (bad) fillers in my bottom lip, with my right side much more swollen than my left. My shins were black, as were the inside of my hands.
“Gurl,” I groaned at myself.
I looked like Quasimodo but significantly less cute.
LISTEN: Is it time to get rid of the office Christmas party? Holly Wainwright, Mia Freedman and I discuss. Post continues below.
“Look, I’m Angelina Jolie,” I said to my sister, pointing at my inflated lips. She did not think it was even marginally funny, mostly because I had ruined my face at the work Christmas party for absolutely no reason.
And I was five days away from my 21st birthday party. Dammit.
It all started with the work Christmas party, held at some bar in the city. I worked at a golf club and this year’s theme was ‘Casino Royale’ which I’d spent the last month making fun of because I am both petty and ungrateful. We played cards of some sort. I don’t remember much, but I’m fairly certain I (definitely) cheated.
What I do remember is that we were given wrist bands for the free alcohol. I was 20. I was an idiot. But I knew that it was important to take full advantage of the free bar tab, even though it took me half a glass of champagne to qualify as drunk.
I don’t know how many drinks I had that night, but it might have been 500.
The night finished at some absurdly sensible time like 10pm, and a bunch of people decided to go out to ‘da club.
Da club was predictably underwhelming. We danced for a bit but dancing is always awkward because it’s like… where do you look? In people’s… eyes? Slightly to the right? Do you talk? Do you just move your body and pretend you’re not thinking many complex thoughts at the same time? If you think about the fact you’re dancing while you’re dancing everything is ruined and you have to go home.
So we headed home.
But this club had four flights of stairs, which is always a good idea when the intention of your venue is to ensure guests are drunk AF. And also when half your guests are wearing heels they can’t properly walk in because heels are a ridiculous and also impractical shoe.
It was the interaction of these two facts that led to what I now call ‘The Fall’. Like an 86-year-old refers to ‘The Fall’ they had in April, I too experienced an unforgettable fall.
As I began walking down one set of stairs I lost my footing. I fell from the top stair to the bottom, and given my level of intoxication, had precisely zero reflexes. My shins hit just about every step on the way down. I landed in the best way possible, on my two front teeth.
And my two front teeth, I soon discovered, had gone through my bottom lip.
For a moment, along with everyone else on the stairs, I thought I had died. I laid, with my face on the concrete floor, waiting for the pain to set in.
I knew it was bad when no pain set in whatsoever.
One girl I was with kept yelling, "OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO EMBARRASSING YOU TOTALLY FELL DOWN THE STAIRS," but given my face was now in multiple pieces and I was bleeding profusely, I wasn't too concerned about my dignity.
The same girl then hailed a taxi (nice... I guess) and ensured we drop her off first, despite my sister insisting we really needed to go to emergency. She also didn't contribute $1 to the fare which really just rubbed salt in my gaping lip wound.
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.
I talked my sister out of the whole emergency room thing, and eventually we made it home. For some reason, dad couldn't sleep and so was up watching television.
When he saw my face he screamed - which is not the usual response he has to my face.
I convinced everyone to let me just go to bed, muttering that everything would be fine in the morning.
All was not fine in the morning.
My two front teeth were wobbly, like I might be able to pull them out of their socket. Mum kept saying, "I spent thousands on braces and now you just went and ruined your teeth!" which I felt was definitely victim blaming, but also it was all my fault so I knew where she was coming from.
The dentist said my teeth had been compacted, hitting the bone above the socket, and it was quite possible in the next few days they'd go black due to nerve damage.
My 21st rolled around, and I covered my purple chin and my bruised lips with make up. Everyone probably thought I'd been the victim of a botched lip filler job, and that's why my lips were lopsided and lumpy. I couldn't drink (... much) because of the antibiotics, and anything that went near my mouth stung like hell because of the gaping wound etc.
In the end, my teeth weirdly repaired themselves and they never went black - which just goes to show that if you get too drunk and fall down a set of stairs everything will be alright in the end.
That is not the moral of the story.
The moral of the story is; please for the love of God (and also your face) go easy on the bar tab this Christmas.
It might only be one night, but six years later, I still carry around the literal scar from the most dangerous Christmas party I've ever been to.
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