This Christmas, 2007, I am a single celebrator. I am not in a relationship with any woman, neither exclusively nor casually. I could write a series of blogs just on relationships alone, but at this time I just wanted to touch on the subject as it relates to the holiday. It’s nothing new to say that it can be tough to be single during this season.
My December as a bachelor is very different from the December of those people I know with significant others. I don’t spend as much money on gifts, I don’t take days off to spend with anyone. I don’t travel to visit her family nor do I go on a Christmas vacation. On Christmas morning, I don’t open presents with that special someone. Well, my dog is pretty special, but you know what I mean. Besides, her unwrapping technique is a bit aggressive. I think I got a good book last year, but the first few chapters are missing now, so…
Don’t misunderstand, there are some aspects to my singularity that are terrific. Since I’m not spending as much money on another person, I can potentially get myself nicer stuff. I can choose what to do on any evening on a whim. I can sing whatever songs I want to sing as loudly and as poorly as I’d like, whenever I wish. If I want to turn on the Miracle on 34th Street DVD and keep playing it in a loop, it’s no problem. That pannettone in my kitchen? All mine.
In addition to all of those great aspects of a solo Christmas, I have no moral constraints on my behavior at seasonal events, at least with consideration to fidelity. I could get totally drunk at my office party and make out with the receptionist behind the Christmas tree. Well, I couldn’t really, but that’s just because our part-time receptionist is the president’s wife. I can flirt with the women I ask to dance at Lindy Hop events. I don’t actually talk to people at Lindy Hop events, but if I did, the flirting would be relentless. When I’m out at the mall or department store, I can totally hit on the women who are shopping by themselves since they are probably stressed out and desperate. To be fair, I’ve done all of my shopping online this year so the only women I saw were those in advertisements on amazon.com, target.com, and oldnavy.com. I’m pretty sure one of them winked at me, though. (That’s right, hide behind that argyle; I’m on to your game.) And if I got caught under the mistletoe, I wouldn’t have to feel guilty.
I’ve never actually been caught under the mistletoe, I think. I’m pretty sure that observing the tradition would embarrass me. The kiss under the mistletoe also feels like a trap of some sort. As if the only reason a particular person could get a kiss is by tricking another into noticing some mistletoe above them. Because of that interpretation, I think I’d be reluctant to be the one who spotted the mistletoe in a chance collision. That behavior seems like something that a Bigg loser would exhibit. The tradition itself is full of misbeliefs, anyway. The plant is a parasite and often poisonous, rather than being beneficial or antidotal. It does not spring forth from bird droppings miraculously, but instead attacks its host tree and siphons out nutrients to survive. Plus if you want to be a bit disturbed, try an internet search for mistletoe viscin and once you find out what that resembles, contemplate whether you want to kiss under it. All that being said, I’m not necessarily opposed to falling into this trap. Not necessarily.
I get reminded of my lone wolf status by many of those Christmas specials and movies I like so much. Aside from the Grinch and Charlie Brown, it seems that Christmas heroes always get the girl. Christmas heroines seem to get to be with their parents or other family members, so I’m not sure what that social norm implies. Yes, Virginia, you get to keep living with your poor family? I mean, even Tim Allen’s Santa gets a missus in the sequel! Maybe my state was predestined, since of all the Christmas characters, I look most like Charlie Brown. Come to think of it, my dog looks a little like Snoopy. Arrrrrgh!
All kidding aside, it would be nice to have someone playing Miss Claus (yes, that’s right) to my Mister Claus. To have someone to help figure out the naughty and nice list, to help map the most efficient route for the night’s flight, maybe even to help wrap the presents. That would be good. At the least, it could be helpful to have someone along for the ride to help me stay awake. Even the high altitude doesn’t help after ten hours or so. Red bull helps, but the conversation sucks.
I am not going to wish for a girlfriend, though. I’m not even going to make a resolution for one. As with all things in life, I think that if I do decide that I want to have a girlfriend for Christmas or any other time of the year, then I should follow that choice with actions. I should figure out what I want from a relationship and then figure out the best way to get that. I’m not foolish enough to think there’s a magical or mathematical formula to find that special someone, but I do think that a man can develop himself as a whole and good person to the degree that he is in the right place when he meets the right woman for him. I think the same is true in whatever combination of genders is appropriate to others, too, of course.
So, I don’t expect to find a girlfriend under the Christmas tree, no matter how much I enjoy Mariah Carey’s song. And as I just wrote, I don’t even think of having a relationship as a gift — it’s a consequence of being the sort of person who deserves one. For that matter, I think you have to keep being that sort of person or you might end up not having one. And I will say, if you are fortunate enough to have met the right one at the right time, I hope you appreciate it. And if you’re with that person for Christmas, then among all the other gifts you exchange, I hope you get to exchange one of my favorites. A Christmas kiss.