Single Men and Their Holiday Weirdness
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .
It’s December, and the biggest entertainment of the season is watching single men turn downright hilarious with their dating weirdness amid our societal expectations. You needn’t even try to talk to the guy at the water cooler about his professional opinion on the new delegations coming from the Pentagon or little small talk about whether his kids will be with him or his ex this Christmas. Single guys are hibernating until Christmas Day, and possibly until after New Year’s Eve. Yeah, it’s that time of year.
I’d seen a bit of it last year and had watched the dating pool dry up for most of December, but hadn’t thought much about it recently. Not until the Gathering I had in my home last night.
I’m so excited to have re-started my Gatherings! While I’ve continued my own spiritual work, I didn’t realize that some of the people I’d been working with had put certain talents on hold because they really did need the interaction with others of like mind.
But I’d forgotten, too, how much I enjoy getting out my “obnoxiously bright plates” (as one former guest called them and not necessarily in fun, which is part of why she’s former—leave your negativity at home, please) and offering up a bottle of vino for most of my guests, crème soda for Vicki, and sodas or hot chocolate for whatever teens show up. I put on a huge pot of my turkey spaghetti and channeled my mom as I urged everyone to eat, eat, eat. Whatever’s left over goes into the freezer for lunches in the next week, though the only time I’ve ever run out of spaghetti was when The Treat had four plates—bless his hungry little heart! I loved it! My Gatherings bring out a certain mothering, nurturing instinct that I enjoy, and I can sit, watch, and never say a word and be in heaven.
After several months of concentrating on deadlines, I’d forgotten how much I love having people over—as long as they’re my kind of people and I don’t feel used. I never had people over much in the past few decades. Not until this past year. Before 2005, I can count the times on one hand. Then they stopped at the end of Summer. So these Gatherings are something that I will look forward to on a regular basis once again.
No men were invited last night. I didn’t do it intentionally—or unintentionally. I didn’t even think about it. It just turned out that way. So far, I’ve had only four men attend my Gatherings, and I don’t seek them out as a way of dating or matchmaking. There may be healing, counseling, and wonderful conversation, but my purpose has never been to make a match at these Gatherings. Ironic. My group had lost several members in the past year because one couple, who didn’t meet through my Gatherings, decided to use them as a way to meet discreetly so their spouses wouldn’t find out and their physical relationship detracted from the spiritual work. Other group members preferred to forgo the Gatherings rather than deal with their self-inflicted drama of showing up hours late for spiritual work or trying to move the Gathering to a local nightclub. I finally just stopped having them when my deadlines got too tough and I found I was being lied to. I had to pull back and concentrate on helping myself for a while.
So last night, the mix for the group was a little different. We also did something I hadn’t tried at previous Gatherings. We moved the speaker phone into the family room and had long-distance friends call in so they could listen in and talk with us while we sat on the floor.
One of the women, who’s single and a little younger than I am, commented about a man she’s expecting to come into her life soon. Another woman warned not to expect a call from him before Christmas, and all the memories from last year rushed back at me. Our society, she explained, expects certain things during the Christmas season. If you’re close to someone, then you have to be really close at Christmas. And if you’re unsure, you either break up before Christmas or you wait until afterward. You can’t just connect or reconnect and enjoy yourselves because you have to worry about presents and whether to get one and how valuable and how personal you should go. So it’s easier just to wait until after Christmas before starting anything new…and then, of course, there’s the mad dash for a date for New Year’s Eve, the next big “day” for singles before a short reprieve and then you’ll have Valentine’s Day to worry about. Sheesh. It’s like tiptoeing through a mine field. How do people ever get together when they have to rush and pull back around so many holidays with connotations of you-must-be-with-someone or if-you’re-with-someone-you-must-behave-this-way-on-this-day? According to my guest, single men live and breathe society’s expectations during the Christmas season and they will run and hide in their caves where it’s safe so they don’t hurt some poor woman’s feelings by not buying her jewelry when they’ve known her only two weeks.
My December will be different. I’ll have at least a couple more Gatherings. I’m under deadline until the 15th, and then I’m planning a few days’ trip with the girls as my present to them. I’ve lined up a quick trip to visit my parents and I’ll have the girls with me on Christmas Eve. My ex spent most of their childhood hanging out with his dad and brothers while the girls and I were home alone on Christmas Eve, so we made the best of it and it’s become a special time for us girls. I’ll trade that for being alone on Christmas Day and with the girls and friends on Solstice Night around a campfire.
So this December, contrary to sappy love songs and societal expectations, I’m not giving my heart. If anyone wants it, they’ll have to come get it. Me? I’m going to Disney.