1. A bottle of wine.
While this should really go without saying, it’s crucial to underscore the importance of a good bottle of cheap-but-not-so-cheap-as-to-taste-vaguely-of-paint-thinner wine. It’s all for you, and you must rid yourself up-front of the self-imposed judgment on how much of it you drink by yourself. If you finish the whole bottle, that is in every way your prerogative, and it can only stand to enhance your evening overall. There are few things better than the feeling of being buzzed whilst hanging out in total solitude and not having anyone to impress or anywhere to go. (Or any toe-crushing heels to have to carry in your hand while you drunkenly walk home over three miles of broken glass and city sidewalk.)
2. 203985235 episodes of that show you’ve never seen.
Now is the time to let yourself get into that black hole of all things productive/social by stacking up a dozen episodes of something awesome and not even considering stopping until the sun is starting to rise in your east-facing window. It’s a very unique pleasure, and one that is hard to fully achieve when you have someone next to you who is yawning and whom you can tell is just a few minutes away from half-asking if you can turn it off after this one and go to sleep. You are all about marathons (except ones which involve actual running because LOL no way), and you do not need to be slowed down.
3. A good internet connection.
It seems obvious, but beyond the essential need to browse various websites when you have had just enough wine to not actually be sure what a sentence says until you read it back to yourself a few times, no solitary TV-watching session is complete without good internet. Because, unlike when you are watching with someone else and must stay fixated on the full-screen image at hand, you can take as many breaks as you like to check your Facebook or Google that really sexy actor’s name right when you see him. You can take up to three hours to watch a 30-minute episode because you keep wandering over to Wikipedia to read about Hitler for a little bit, and no one can tell you that it is ruining their precious viewing experience. So if your WiFi is spotty, you know you are in for a lackluster evening from the get-go.
4. Your favorite snack foods in “family size” quantities.
It’s the one circumstance in which you can go all-in on that 1 lb bag of Chewy Spree or XXL tube of pizza Pringles and you do not have to suffer the judgmental looks of everyone around you who secretly wants to partake themselves but who is worried about their current diet. (Any food consumed while having a Friday night in actually contains no calories and is made entirely of smiles and self-esteem. This is science, but please do not look it up to confirm it for yourself.)
At the risk of sounding like a walking Tumblr account, there is something simply essential about having a nice pot of your favorite tea while you’re spending the night with yourself. After all of the wine is gone (or even amidst the many glasses of it you’ll be imbibing), it’s nice to chill out with something that feels like it’s cleansing your system of all its worries, stresses, and partially-digested Funyuns. It’s just good for you in all senses of the world, but mostly spiritually. Also it puts a lot of water in your system for the looming wine hangover you need to pre-emptively fight off.
6. Total acceptance of the fact that you’re in for the night.
If you are living this night in with one foot even slightly out the door, wondering what’s going to be happening with all of your friends/your crush/that person you’re semi-dating while you are locked in with Breaking Bad and chicken nuggets, you are doomed from the start. Just as much as going out must be fully enjoyed and invested in, staying at home is an event in and of itself that must be appreciated. If you know that you’ll be looking ruefully at everyone else’s “night out” pictures tomorrow morning, you might as well put on your clubbing dress as we speak. It’s just not going to work.
7. Comfortable clothes.
I’m talking really comfortable. I’m talking, the only fabrics you should be putting on your body are really breathable cotton, elastic, and air. There is no part of your body that should be stifled, and the best way to guarantee that you will not fully enjoy being sprawled out on your bed and covered with Shame Crumbs is if you are for some reason still wearing your jeans. So go get that tee shirt that looks like someone to a paintball range where the guns were filled with little bits of food, because now is the time to wear it with honor. Bonus points if you’re buck naked from the waist down.