A single’s guide to the holidays

You’re sitting at a round wooden table in a Starbucks because you couldn’t think of a more original setting for the first date. He’s 10 minutes late. The old couple beside you keeps kissing over peppermint lattes, the joyous barista is wearing reindeer antlers and Josh Groban is belting out his version of “Silent Night,” but since this is your third first date in a month, you pray that tonight will be anything but silent.

Strangers steal the empty chair at your table, but you drag its lifeless body back in the hopes that Potential Date Number Three will show up any minute and warm the chair back to life. The bell on the door will jingle and he’ll be wearing a terrible red and green sweater, but at least you’ll have found that special someone to snuggle with in front of the fireplace on snow-covered nights. Right? Wrong. After 20 minutes, Potential Date Number Three becomes yet another no-show, and you suddenly wish you had brought a mickey of rum to spike your lukewarm eggnog latte.

We’ve all undergone similar first date disasters that we never care to speak of again. If you’re feeling down about your love life this holiday season, here are some remedies that might just lead to a speedy recovery.

Instead of gettin’ some, how about givin’ some — holiday spirit, that is? Volunteering at a homeless shelter and handing out soup to those less fortunate is a great way to put your non-existent sex life on the back burner, at least until you return home to find no booty calls or sultry messages have been left on your machine.

If you’re forced to attend a holiday work party, be sure to bring enough spiced rum to dull the pain of being one of the few singles in the room. Feeling particularly naughty? Guilt your fellow party-goers into sharing the booze; you’d be surprised how fast your resentment of others’ happiness disappears while sharing a drink. Just don’t make a move on someone else’s spouse, because nothing says “unhappy holidays” like getting caught in an awkward cubicle hook-up.

Remember the timeless motto of canine solidarity: mutts before dating ruts. Last month’s annual De-Stress Fest at UVic proved soft and cuddly for many students stressed out by upcoming final exams, and it’s a remedy that’s sure to work on dating woes. So head to the SPCA and indulge in some puppy love, or better yet, borrow a friend’s dog for the day and re-enact the park scene from 101 Dalmatians — you might just catch another single’s eye.

Stop cruising those online dating websites. December is the worst time to be browsing for a new potential partner thanks to final exams and family obligations, so get rid of that Match.com bookmark from your browser and delete that Plenty of Fish app from your Smartphone — at least until you add “get a date” to your list of New Year’s resolutions.

The end of the Mayan calendar may spell doom and gloom for superstitious folk, but there aren’t enough celestial disturbances in the world to alter your dating life. Blaming your mistletoe mishaps on your mommy issues won’t keep you warm on cold winter nights, but if you must call her up and rant, do it quick. The holidays were made for family drama, but you shouldn’t prolong it past Boxing Day.

To wrap up this cheery holiday message, just remember: there’s always next year . . .  maybe.

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