There I was, driving down the street on my way to meet a friend for cocktails. It was snowing in that really dreamy way that it does in order to trick you into thinking winter might be charming this year (said with all the bitterness of a true Chicagoan). When immediately to my left, I came upon the most adorable couple ever: huddled close together in an embrace, waiting for the bus as the snow fell softly on their love.
And without thinking I muttered aloud in a sarcastic, sing-song voice: “Waiting for the bus while huggggginnnggg.” So a few things: yes, I’m currently single, but no I don’t have a black heart. And actually, I’m very happy with my life. I guess I can chalk that little nasty moment off to the fact that some seasons are just harder to fly solo than others; namely December. And might as well throw in November, too, for good measure.
So what does one do about this besides make up mean jingles? The answer, unfortunately isn’t to throw yourself into a Hollywood ‘meet-cute’ in order to find a mate (believe me, if being clumsy and awkward always won you the guy, I’d be married 100 times over), the answer falls more in the realm of making a plan for how you’re going to handle the work parties, parental nagging, facebook engagement announcements, and all of the other things that come along with celebrating this season without a plus 1.
Now, of course, much like there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to do this. It’s your life. But as one who has gone through this a few times, I’ve come up with some handy tools (or, weapons, really) that might help you get through the most wonderful time of the year unscathed. Or at least sane. For the most part. No promises.
Don’t look at me like that. As far as I’m concerned, on the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me a sneaky way to slightly soften the blow of the endless questions at Grandma’s house. This method has been personally road tested by me in the years 2002-2005, 2008, and 2013. Go tell that, on the mountain. (Last Christmas carol joke, promise.)
A New Year’s Eve Battle Plan
All roads in my life lead back to “no rules, just right,” and this is no exception. So, if you want to get all gussied up and hit a big party, do it. But if being on the dance floor as everyone counts down to the new year slash the moment where you (probably) have no one (good) to smooch makes you want to barf, stay home. Or take a friend or two and go have a fabulous, late dinner. Or pop the bubbly in the bubble bath. Or get a swank hotel room and jump on the bed. It’s your holiday and you can celebrate or not celebrate it as you wish. But do have a plan, because when you know what you’re doing, you can not only answer your friends’ questions easier, but you’ll start to feel excited and confident about your night.
A few personal indulgences
If you ask me, they call them pedicures and manicures because they cure pretty much everything. The point with this tool, is to take some time out and pamper yourself. Don’t make me call it a date with yourself, but kinda. Get a massage, book a trip for somewhere fun, bake yourself your favorite pie (just me?); whatever it is that makes you feel happy and doted on will absolutely enhance your feel-good feels.
Some Go-To Answers
“Anyone special in your life?” “Whatever happened to _______?” “When are you going to settle down?” Sound familiar? Well get ready to knock ‘em off their feet with some killer answers, or even better: topic changes. Think of something you’re proud of from this year, or something you’re working hard on, or looking forward to next year, and steer these well-meaning-yet-misguided folks in that direction. Talking about these things—instead of focusing on ‘how hard it is out there’ or divulging your Tinder nightmares—is great way of subtly saying, I’M MORE THAN MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS, DAD!
A big LOL on this one, but if you can manage it, remember that anyone you think has everything, doesn’t. There actually is no such thing as having it all. It was a myth some advertising exec made up once and we’ve all since bought into. Literally. Also, there’s a song I heard yesterday that says to “accept the love you’re given,” and call me a hippie, but I like that. We can miss out on a lot of really great things when we forget to keep our eyes on our own paper. If this doesn’t work, see tool #1.
If you think I’m kidding, think again. Because sometimes even a pedicure won’t cure it all; but a good french might. Mistletoe is the wingman you never knew you always needed, so why not work it? Disclaimer: I take zero responsibility for what comes of this.
Some holiday spirit
No one likes a Scrooge. Even Scrooge McDuck wasn’t really all that fun and he had a whole vault of gold coins to swim in. What I’m trying to say is there’s no reason why you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater if you’re single this winter and wishing you weren’t. Go to a holiday market, dust off your ugly sweater (or blow them away with the most beautiful sweater anyone’s ever seen); have a festive movie marathon, maybe even send out a funny, single holiday card like this gem. And remember, at least you’re not having to introduce anyone to your crazy family, or meet someone’s inebriated boss at their work party. Silver lining, right? Bottom line: bitter is not the new black.
So, whether you’re happily single or hesitantly single, arm yourselves with these little tools and your heart just might grow three sizes a la Grinch.