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23rd Aug 2019

What your hungover takeaway order says about you

Ciara Knight

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Right, it has happened. You’ve really gone and done it this time. You went for what was initially advertised as precisely one beer last night and have woken up feeling like a radiator that needs to be bled / has carbon monoxide poisoning.

Not to worry, nothing a few hours of lying in bed allowing your mind to forensically analyse everything you said and did last night can’t fix.

It’s going to reach about midday when you realise that an obscene amount of beige food is the only way to get you out of this heinous mess. Precisely four minutes later, you’ll remember that the decent takeaways don’t open until 5pm.

So you wait, festering in your own filth as you wonder why nobody’s texting you. Are they still asleep? Did you ruin your life last night? Did you black out and murder everyone, only to realise later when the police come knocking at the door? Oh nice, here’s a text from Lucy. Sick, she’s in bits too. All is well.

After another anxious nap, you reach 4.55pm. Bingo. It’s time to eat your way out of this mess.

But! What! Are! You! Ordering! And! What! Does! That! Specific! Order! Say! About! You!


Respectfully, fuck right off. You are wrong. Being hungover is a free-for-all. I don’t care if you’re trying to be healthy right now, because you certainly weren’t abiding by that law last night as you shovelled three shots of Aftershock down your gullet after very little persuasion. Today is a day that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t going to count. You’re coming into this situation with a meek attitude and it stinks. You think that if you trick your body into being somewhat healthy even in this desperate state, it will repay you by giving you a non-existent hangover the next time? Spoiler: It won’t.

You’re the kind of person that announces to everyone that you’re going to the gym after work, proceeding to get changed in the office toilet to complete the performance, gaining maximum exposure to all nearby. We get it, you don’t treat your body like a gigantic sack of shit. It’s admirable, but don’t be so smug about it. Stop posting gym selfies on your Instagram stories with the caption ‘Gotta get that grind’ complete with a flexing arm emoji and winky face. Nobody cares. Talk to your parents, they deserve an apology. You put your younger sister up for auction on eBay when you were younger and as per the terms and conditions of the sale, legally their hands were tied. You miss her, but the £17 payment softened the blow. Seriously, get over yourself. No one hungover can use chopsticks.


Now we’re getting somewhere. Quantity over quality is important here. You’re on the right track and showing the appropriate presence of mind to acknowledge that you need to get some carbohydrates into your system to kickstart your resurrection. Last night slipped away from you. This takeaway is the final investment in your welfare for a while. You’re reasonably smart with money, but when you’re anything over twp beers deep, everyone becomes your best friend and you will buy drinks, pay for taxis and assist with down payments on houses for all who ask.

This takeaway is more of a concept than a reality. You’re going to nibble on a little sample of everything, then swiftly realise that your delicate body cannot tolerate the complexities of Indian cuisine at present. Your housemates will reap the benefits, being considerate enough to save you a little portion to reheat tomorrow when you’re back to semi-regular form. Having eyes bigger than your belly is a trend that spills into the rest of your life as well. You like to get the coldest can of Diet Coke from the back of the shop fridge and consider the concept of a share size bag of Maltesers to be the greatest joke of the 21st century, which it is.


My friend, you are still drunk. This is the sustenance request of someone whose blood alcohol level is still in the high teens. You haven’t slept, your mind is still in the smoking area, shouting at your friend for not knowing which one is Bert and which is Ernie. You stopped for a kebab on the way to a house party, then tried to use it as payment for the taxi after your Revolut was declined. You’re now tackling your second kebab in the space of 12 hours and I hate to say it, but you have my utmost respect for an eternal commitment to banter and Middle Eastern cuisine.

You’re an extrovert through and through, unable to truly feel alive unless you’re surrounded by at least one close friend and an unsuspecting group of strangers who will be your new ‘ride or dies’ before the sun sets on a murky Thursday evening after work. You enjoy extreme sports such as embarking on a night out with just 12% phone battery, making pre-work commitments that start anywhere between 6.30am – 8.30am and you have never taken an expiration date seriously in your entire life. Infuriatingly, you’re going to live longer than the rest of us, somehow.


I say this without a hint of irony, I would trust you with my life. You know your body and you know yourself. The mournful depths of a hangover are no match for your determination to emerge victorious on the other side, a stone heavier but reaping the benefits of a survivor’s high. You pre-planned this takeaway. A menu came through the door two days ago and you put into the designated takeaway menu drawer, careful not to crease it. The voucher code for 2-for-1 lit up like a beacon in the night, begging you to push yourself to the brink of death only to be brought back to life by its innocent desire to help.

It’s the same pattern every time. You go out, you indulge in a copious amount of alcohol, proudly proclaiming that future you can deal with the consequences. And future you does deal. No expense is spared in procuring this prescription pizza with accompanying sides and as much garlic dip as they can legally sell you without awakening the beast that is Jamie Oliver to object to this calorific delight from being sold any more on the grounds of public health concerns. You’ve got a good job, you’ve got three very close friends, you have a pension. Frankly, your life is in tip-top shape from where I’m sitting.


With the greatest respect to you and your upbringing, are you taking the absolute piss? A burrito? When you’re hungover? As opposed to, say, a Tuesday lunchtime? A burrito is something that you can have at any time. It requires no justification, heck, it doesn’t even require cutlery. The only thing that should be covered in foil when you’re hungover is your soft and shitty body. A burrito isn’t going to hit the right spots and you need to stop lying to yourself. It’s a large quantity of content in a short space of time, meaning you’re not going to even finish the wretched thing.

This pathetic order serves as concrete proof that you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing in life. You’re all over the place. Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? Is it falling face-first into a giant mud pool in the middle of the boutique camping area of Glastonbury like in Bridget Jones’ Baby? Because I’ve got news for you, sunshine. The way things are headed, you’ll be lucky to be able to afford a Netflix subscription to legally stream that movie in a decade. Get your act together. Get a haircut. Buy some distressed denim. Do a Berocca. Smarten up.


Big dirty bag of chips, grease dripping all over your hands, smell of vinegar wafting through the air, salt crystallising as it nestles snugly between the piping-hot chips. Yeah, fair fucking play. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’re a pragmatic person, one who understands that a substantial quantity of beige food is the only way out of this hole in which you so frequently find yourself. You’re not a monster, you’ll get some garlic mayo to go with the chips, maybe even a taco sauce if you’re feeling exotic, but if you’re adding fish to this order, I’m going to have to ask that you promptly hand yourself over to the relevant authorities.

You’re a dependable person. The kind of friend that always has change on them for a tip when you’re leaving a restaurant. If someone needs a power bank, you’ve got one fully charged in your backpack, ready to go. You’ll figure out the quickest way to get from the airport to the hotel on a trip in advance, leaving nothing up to chance. Brexit is something you understand. When mercury is in retrograde, you know about it. People look to you for sound advice and an Amazon Prime subscription that you’re not afraid to share. Honestly, keep up the good work. You’re crushing it.


Firstly, I’d like to take the time to congratulate you on your recent lottery win. The celebrations seem to have been relatively tame if your palate is craving the complicated flavourings of a Chinese takeaway, so congratulations on that as well. Chinese is top tier hangover food, a delicacy that can only be truly appreciated if you’re coming out the other side. Your stomach has settled and is now craving some sweet and delicious MSG, which it so richly deserves. You’ve lined up the perfect TV accompaniment for your meal (Love Island series 4) like a fine wine and things are looking hopeful.

You’re a survivor. This hangover is the least of your worries. If you’re ordering a Chinese when you’re hungover, the illness has passed. This is about something else. The rest of your life’s problems are starting to seep through. As the alcohol slowly evaporates from your system, you’re thinking ahead. You’ve got to go back to work tomorrow with nothing to show for it, your younger cousin’s wedding is coming up which is sure to invite many questions about your own non-existent nuptials. No, stop these negative thoughts. Eat the Chinese, enjoy it. Your troubles will still be there afterwards, but at least you’ll be too sick from all the food to focus on them 🙂


Credit where it’s due, you’re being very proactive in accepting your fate, which is that you will very likely die from this hangover. There’s an unbridled sense of comfort involved in throwing caution to the wind and knowingly picking your own last meal. People on death row often request nuggs, but the rest of us will in all likelihood end up unknowingly consuming our last supper before the planet finally succumbs to the detrimental effects of climate change. Good on you for getting ahead of the curve. You are a trooper. That kind of self-respect is rare.

Nuggs are a blank canvas upon which you can paint your final wishes. Add some chips, get a burger, throw in a milkshake, really go to town on this final act of self-comfort. Nuggs are the equivalent of a big hug from a loved one during turbulent times. You’re naturally a bit of a loner, enjoying your own company a little more than is normal. It’s not a bad thing, just something your friends often discuss in great detail behind your back. Fuck them. You shan’t feel an ounce of shame as you set aside your leftover nuggs to reheat later, only to eat sitting on the kitchen floor, stone cold forty minutes later. You’re doing you and that has to be admired. Rest in peace, comrade.