A single’s guide to the festive season

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Okay so yes, you are surrounded by bambi-eyed couples cooing at one another to Mariah Carey’s warble, and sometimes, as you wolf down another mince pie to avoid their sickeningly pitying ‘so, how’s your love life?’ comments, you want to smash your glass of mulled wine over their smug faces. And you totally would. But you won’t want to waste the decent wine. Plus if you did, the couple would probably flutter their bambi-eyelashes at you in horror, as though you had shot their mother, and then they would clutch one another like Kate and Leo at the final scene of the Titanic…

I sound atrociously bitter, but no, I am ecstatic. Let us dispel the notion that Christmas is a season to couple up, and smother one another in chocolate, whilst the aliened single species (are we ‘covered in green scales’ as Bridget Jones postulates?), drown their sorrows in a bar and hover hopefully on swaying legs under mistletoe. No. ‘Tis the season to be single, and rejoice, trust me. Perhaps start panicking on Valentine’s Day, but bear in mind that the world created traffic light parties for that occasion.

I Googled ‘being single over the festive period’ as research for this article, and the first hit directed me to a counseling site, for getting over being alone. I spat out my tea. Why, oh why, in the twenty first century, when people are increasingly independent and being ‘in a relationship’ is, if anything, ‘un-cool’ and unproductive amongst young professionals, am I being treated like a crazy cat lady who might need a crane to lift me to my therapist appointment, and actually, really needs to call Channel 4 back to organise filming at mine for the ‘Extreme Hoarders’ exposé. Genuinely, I am reeling from ‘remember, you’re not alone’, ‘surviving Christmas single’, and ‘if you want to cry, its okay.’ Are you freaking serious? Oh, I’m sorry; I’m a twenty one year old spinster am I? Excuse me whilst I go and change into my Miss Havisham dress or morph into Glen Close.

The festive and New Year’s period may be a time for log fires, spoon-feeding and cosying up to your one-and-only, but for us ‘aliens’, it can also be a time to hit the town. And town is your friend. Because you don’t have to answer to a partner, you can indulgently prepare your night with your friends, without your partner yawning, impatiently pacing, or resorting to alcohol poisoning as you try on your fourteenth outfit choice. Your night has the promise of spontaneity; you are going out, with your nearest and dearest friends, without someone on your arm, or someone waiting for you at home. You do not have to answer to anybody (except the bouncer when he demands ID, never fight that, trust me). Thus, you can talk to whomever you please. People are strangely jolly, drinks are being purchased like there’s no tomorrow, and perfect strangers will serenade you with Christmas carols, or, come January, possibly detail how they haven’t quite recovered from the credit crunch as they cry into their gin. Okay, so not all cheerful, but you get the picture – people babble incessantly to strangers, and thus it is the time to meet new people.’ Tis the season for single people to be popular, social butterflies.

Whilst on the subject of us single people’s magical powers (oh yes, we don’t just have the ability to communicate with our thirty mangy cats, you know), let’s explore the fact that not having a beautiful romantic present from a partner isn’t actually a bad thing. You don’t have to spend goodness knows what on goodness knows whom, nor suffer migraines from coming up with a suitable gift; ‘What says ‘I love you, but isn’t boring, and is sexy, but practical’, my coupled friends ask me. The answer? Sod all. Upset that you won’t be receiving a stunningly gift-wrapped item from a partner? A) It won’t be beautifully wrapped, unless his mother has wrapped it. B) It’s called buying your own present, darling. Or presents plural – cue the awkward moment when my card gets declined two handbags down. Besides, we don’t have to deal with the sheer apocalyptic horror that shatters every crumb of festivity, when, heaven forbid, the ‘wrong’ present is presented. My friend’s father bought his wife a hover this year. I don’t believe that they reside with one another now…

So, as you sit, snuggled in your hideous yet comforting Christmas jumper which your partner would have loathed, scoffing Camembert and mulled wine, without a care in the world (hell, you don’t have to split those mince pies in half for anyone), think how you are avoiding domestic feuds, social isolation (yes, you are going out later with one of your new handbags, courtesy of present-to-self) and embrace your single-dom. Point your superior face right back at the smug couples.

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