it becomes a bit of a slog, sometimes, being the single person during the holidays. during this time of year i feel, as must every other single, as if i am the only one in all the world. the only single, ever.
most events, especially those for new year’s eve, are marketed for pairings of two. this year i debated buying myself two tickets to the dinner i really want to attend. i could eat twice as much. drink twice as much. take turns sitting opposite myself. toast myself. bring two outfits.
all of my happily and unhappily paired friends, of course, are always inclusive with their plans. oh, me and him, and him and her, and him and him, are booked in for dinner, and you are most welcome to join! but i can never shake the feeling that i am being tucked in at the kiddies table: the place for the cat ladies, maidenly aunts, and toddlers. i hate toddlers. they’re so childish.
the step ladder i used when hanging my drapes has been sitting in the living room for over a month, so yesterday i decorated it, in lieu of a tree. this year i have a yuletide step-ladder. when i rise in the morning, traipse downstairs, make myself my morning coffee and sit in my old archie bunker chair, i really enjoy the fact that i have a yuletide step-ladder.
but then i began to wonder if i am, in fact, a yuletide step-ladder. a quirky kind of misfit. is it wrong to wear a mistletoe headband and hang about the grocery store in trembling anticipation?
and it isn’t about being the single. being the single is fine and dandy. it’s really more about the extreme commercialism that somehow seems to miss the fact that “the singles” exist. it’s about the jewelry store ads. must i go to the jewelry store, buy myself a bauble, wrap it, then get on bended knee and present it to myself? but wait! maybe i can do that at new year’s eve when i have dinner with myself. i can get on bended knee in the crowded restaurant, propose to myself, say yes, (or no, who knows.) and everyone will look on and applaud. (or commiserate, depending on what the answer turns out to be.)
it’s about all the ads which seem to think that everyone has a happy family, no one gets drunk, the tree never falls over, all the prezzies appear beneath the tree magically wrapped and the credit card never spontaneously bursts into flames. everyone’s in love, no one has a broken heart and no one’s out of a job. where are all the ads with the real people in them?
in my ad, the single lady awakes, traipses downstairs to make the morning coffee. she discovers that she is out of cream. the cats roll around on the floor howling with starvation because even though the bowl is full of dry food, the single lady is all out of the good cracking wet stuff. the lady considers whether to get dressed but throws caution to the wind, shoving bare feet into boots, hoping the nighty gown doesn’t hang down (too far) beneath the winter coat, falls flat on her arse on the way to the corner store and once there discovers she has forgotten to bring her debit card. lady trudges home. lady trudges back to store. upon arriving back at home lady discovers that wonderful neighbour has shovelled and salted her driveway! that’s my kind of christmas gift! that’s my kind of ad.
for the party of one, there are dreaded questions, no matter how high one’s own esteem of oneself. “what did you get?” (it’s really difficult to surprise oneself with gifts unless skilled at shopping when loaded.) “how’s your love life?” (singles need to retaliate and start asking the marrieds “when is the last time you had sex?”) “when are you going to find yourself a good man?” (no thanks, i prefer to stick to the bad ones.) “would you like to meet my cousin when he gets out?” (hmmm….)
i have had an amazing year, filled with highs and lows. i am grateful to my core. for those of us who are the singles, sometimes we chose it that way, sometimes it turned out that way. sometimes a brandy in front of the telly watching “dial m for murder” is perfect. sometimes when i contemplate ringing the place where i want to spend new year’s eve and booking a ticket for one i feel a little sad. but maybe they have a table there built for the singles.
it could be a party of ones.