When you’ve been in Ibiza as long as I have (yes, since the days when clubs didn’t have roofs, Manumission still existed and you didn’t have to pay to get into after hours), you become an absolute pro at navigating opening parties. You know what to wear, what to say, when to go, who to see, who to avoid and (this is the real trick) when to leave.
It was a lesson that took me quite a long time to learn however. You see, in the early years, opening season was a blur of mojitos and hangovers, zero sleep, air kisses and anthems, new and old faces, winter gossip and talk of summer plans. A vicious cycle that repeated itself year after year. I started to fear the end of winter and the onslaught of parties, until one year I completely stopped attending openings altogether because I just couldn’t face it.
But of course, that season I experienced a ridiculous case of FOMO, and the following year I I knew I had to get my opening party mojo back, not to mention my lips primed and ready for the endless rounds of air kissing. After all, I used to LOVE the contrast of the summer/winter lifestyles in Ibiza. I loved seeing my friends return from their winter travels, I loved hearing about what was coming up, checking out the new eager faces who’d arrived on the island. What went wrong?
I blame the mojitos and their subsequent hangovers. Obvs.
So I started to formulate my ten-step plan of attack – suitable for all openings, from beach to bar and clubs included. Now I easily navigate the opening season, without getting the typical burnout associated with it in the previous years, and (surprise surprise!) I actually enjoy it!
Step one. Never make appointments the morning after an opening. And especially don’t expect to go back to the office after a restaurant lunchtime opening. Rosado and computers just don’t mix. Nor does booze breath across the table at your morning meeting.
Step two. Ditch the mojitos. Now of course, I’m not even remotely suggesting attending an opening without having a drink in your hand (although I’ve heard tales of folk who can achieve this!), rather, just make it a lighter one, and sip a water in between. All that sugar and pure rum was to blame for the terrible mornings after (ahem, and the volume of them).
Step three. Arrive late. It is fashionable after all. There’s no point standing around for the same old chit chat at the beginning of every party (especially if you heard it all the night before) – you need to wait until your pals are loose lipped (note: don’t discourage others from indulging in mojitos) to ensure you get the best goss.
Step four. Survey the room. You just know there are those certain folk who repeat themselves after one or two too many drinks, or the leeches who grab onto you and keep you holed up in a corner when all you want to do is circle the room. The trick is to sideswipe them – always have a getaway line. For example, ‘I’m just meeting [insert imaginary friend’s name here] outside or ‘I’ve just got to pop outside and call my boss back’].
Step five. Be sure to say hello and thank you to your hosts. Wouldn’t you be upset if you threw a party and someone breezed in, drank all your booze and didn’t say hello?
Step six. Have a story. And make sure it’s a different one to the night before. You just know everyone’s going to ask you how your winter was and what your plans for the summer are. So give them something to talk about. Say you ran away and joined the circus. That you met Kate Middleton. That you DJed on a private yacht in the Caribbean alongside Paris Hilton. They’re only going to forget when you walk away anyway. Make them laugh. Alternatively – use the opportunity to spruik your latest accomplishments (if you didn’t do that the night before).
Step seven. Pay attention. You might be waffling to anyone who’ll listen, but chances are most people will unleash some seriously good information. Use this to your advantage at a later date, however you see fit – you may get a new client, or have an interesting conversation starter to use yourself the next night.
Step eight. Always pose for photos. Find the official photographer, flash those pearly whites and look as thought you’re having the time of your life! You are anyway though – right?
Step nine. Always have a getaway car. There are never, ever taxis in Ibiza when you need them!
Step ten. Never stay longer than two hours, and never say goodbye. A sneaky back door exit is the key – people remember you arriving but they won’t know when you leave… and you’ll be fresh as a daisy for work the next morning while everyone else is suffering!*
*Some people welcome such suffering – I was once one of them. If you’re still in your Ibiza infancy, and enjoying the endless hangovers and lack of sleep, I salute you. I just can’t join you anymore.