Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Dateless During The Holidays

Published on December 8, 2009 by   ·   17 Comments Pin It
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What to do if you are single during the time of mistletoe?   Gorgeous GirlieGirl Daiva Deupree shares her (hilarious) tips to surviving the holidays solo;

It’s holiday party season, my dears. I love this time of year, and all the festivities that surround them; but after a year of flying solo to weddings, baby showers, and engagement parties…followed by a Thanksgiving as the only single sibling in a sea of my brothers’ girlfriends, babies, and fiancees…it is almost impossible not to shudder with dread as I ring the doorbell of my first, in a string of many, dateless holiday gatherings. I feel like I’m in middle school again…at the roller skating rink. I always seemed to be on the far side of the rink when the DJ announced that the next song would be “couples only.” He never gave me any notice. “Couples only on the rink. Couples only,” he’d say, and there I’d be, three feet taller than everybody else, giant glasses, and a little bit of lice…gripping the maroon carpeted wall, desperately trying to make it to the other side, as my tiny peers zoomed past me hand in hand.   I can’t blame it on the DJ now, though. He gave me plenty of notice. I mean, I’m in my 30’s…he made the “couples only” announcement a long time ago. I had plenty of time to either get off the rink or just find someone to hold my hand. But I have sweaty palms and I’m a terrible skater, so I’m stuck here under the disco ball. For some reason, it’s harder out here this year than it has been in the past, and the glittering pile of holiday invitations on my desk is making me very uncomfortable. If you’re feeling the same, read on. I might not be able to skate, but I’ve learned a few tricks to keep everyone (including you) from noticing you’re all by yourself. Now, I want to be very clear, this is not a whiney piece about how to survive til you find a man to define you and stand next to you at a party. This is just a little pick me up, if being dateless has gotten you down.

GETTING READY

This is a very important time. It’s where you build your foundation for the night…as well as apply it…hopefully evenly, and without getting it on your clothes. It’s important to be able to get ready slowly, so you can feel relaxed and put together. I have a hard time employing this technique, and frequently leave my apartment sweaty, disheveled, and late, which results in me crossing the party threshold glistening and panting, with stringy hair and pit stains. Not good for the ole morale. The biggest part of making sure you have plenty of time is to figure out what you’re going to wear the night before, and NOT 15 minutes before you leave (*see stringy hair and pit stains). I have a sort of uniform. Vintage dress if it’s fancy, or vintage beaded cardigan, jeans, and heels if it’s not. Not only is vintage eco-friendly, but it also comes in handy once you get to the party (*see MAKING CONVERSATION).   Stick one of your grandma’s brooches in your updo or lapel, and you’ll be festively good to go.   Oh, also, never underestimate the power of Lil’ Mama’s song “Lip Gloss” to get you in the “I’m-a-bad-ass-and I’m-going-to-a-party” mood.

ARRIVAL

If you know people at the party, then your arrival time doesn’t make too much of a difference, but if I know absolutely no one besides the host or hostess, I try to get there right at the beginning of the party. It’s a little bit awkward if your friend is all set and ready, but it gives you a chance to get to know a few of the other early birds before it gets crazy. This comes in handy later in the party if you find yourself “between conversations.” If when you arrive, they’re not ready, then you can help out. This gets you involved in the party, and this involvement comes in handy when you find yourself standing next to two conversations that no matter what you do, you can’t seem to join. I learned the awkward way, that staring at people til they include you in their conversation does not count as being social. So instead, if you find yourself unable to contribute to the AutoCAD conversation that that group is having (FYI, “My ex-boyfriend worked with that. He took our dog in the breakup. He’s married,” isn’t technically contributing…or flirting, but that one’s more of a “note to self”), and if you can’t think of anything to say to the two magical, pregnant, glowing goddesses talking breast feeding (also, FYI, interjecting that your friend’s nipples got really chapped, is not always a seamless way join the chat)…well Honey, you know right where the hummus is, and you can go give it a refill, before someone wonders if you’ve had too much to drink.

Oh, also, whether you know people or not, before you go in, always check your fly or make sure your skirt isn’t tucked up in your underwear. Trust me…check.

Seriously, even if you are absolutely positive that everything is where is should be…check. I speak from experience.

MAKING CONVERSATION

So, most of my party sweats come from me being afraid that no one will talk to me (*see: ARRIVAL), and I’ll end up in the corner erasing old emails from my BlackBerry and double checking my calendar in an attempt to look like I’m a “cool” and “busy” lady. Unfortunately, this technique does not quite have the affect that I’d hoped for. Instead of “cool,” you end up just being the weird girl who hasn’t looked up from her phone since she walked in and said something about nipples to those two pregnant women. So, I’ve employed another technique that involves “conversation pieces.”

You can wear them (*see: GETTING READY):

Other People: I love your dress!

You: Thanks; it was my Great Aunt Anne’s.

Other People: Really!?

You: Yes, it’s from the 40’s. She was a dancer.

And so on and so forth…

Or you can bring them as a hostess gift:

Host/Hostess: Oh thank you! You didn’t have to bring me anything.

You: I couldn’t resist, these are my favorite candles.

Host/Hostess: “A Scent of Scandal” that’s hilarious.

You: Isn’t it? And this one’s called “Ho Ho Homo”…fruitcake flavor, isn’t that funny?

Host/Hostess: This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.

And so on and so forth…

Or, you can even bake them:

Other People: These cookies are delicious! Who made them?

You: (bashfully) Me. They’re vegan pistachio rosewater cookies.

Other People: Wow, they’re vegan?! I had no idea! How did you make them?

And so on and so forth…

This one is especially good for me, because I’ve recently been baking away my anxieties. It’s also good because, if you’re not at a vegan/veggie party, it ensures you get at least a little something to eat (*see: NOT GETTING DRUNK).

Now, getting a conversation started is one thing. Not screwing it up is another animal entirely.   The previous conversations were examples of a healthy back and forth…an exchange of information, if you will. I, on the other hand, have a tendency to blurt out all the information in one breath, in an attempt to hold the interest of the other party. This usually backfires as, once my breathless monologue is over, there isn’t much left to say. It usually goes something like this:

Them: I love your shoes.

Me: Thanks! Forever 21…$10…yep, I still shop at Forever 21…even though I’m 32…(pointing frantically at my face) somebody’s a looser and can’t afford grownup things! I mean, the store’s great because I can get lots of non-leather stuff there, but still…I wish I could be one of those put together 32 year-olds who can buy a pair of Olsen Haus shoes without worrying that she might not be able to pay rent…Hell, these babies were only $10 and they pretty much broke the bank. I need a job…maybe I should’ve gone to college instead of Mime School.

Them: Um…do you know where the bathroom is?

See, bombarding a new friend with your financial problems is not always the best way to spread holiday cheer…neither is pointing at yourself and yelling things like “looser” or “old maid.”

I also have a bad habit of giving people too much “back story.” Like this:

Them: I love your charm bracelet.

You: Oh, thank you. I got it because my Nana used to wear one like this and I loved it. One time, on Christmas Eve, I stayed up late watching a movie by myself, and I heard this jingling coming up the stairs and I thought it was Santa and I was like, “Ohmygod, I am totally about to see Santa right now…ohmygod, I hope he’s not mad that I’m still up…ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!” But then I realized that it wasn’t Santa at all, it was just Nana walking to her room and her charm bracelet was tinkling along with the ice cubes in her glass of vodka…Nana loved charm bracelets…and vodka…and frogs…I actually have a sweater of hers that has embroidered frogs drinking vodka on it…so…Anyways, the next morning I got a bra for Christmas…my first bra…that was my Christmas present from my dad and ex step-mom…a training bra…I like your headband.

Them: Thank you.

While this might be a “funny” and “quirky” story to me and some of my close friends, people who don’t know me have found it “sad” and “creepy.” It is a good idea not to be either of these things at a holiday party.

NOT GETTING DRUNK

I have not yet mastered how to do this, but one thing that I’ve learned is: it is important to not get really drunk when you are by yourself at a holiday party. Period. Make sure you eat more than just an almond butter and jelly sandwich the day of the party, drink a glass of water for every glass of wine…and do not, under any circumstances, stand right next to the bar. If you’re anything like me, you will “sip” nervously whenever someone is not directly speaking to you, and this will result in some “questionable behavior” like, for instance, making a mistletoe-and-breath-spray headpiece, or crying…or both. If you have to choose, stand next to the food and nervously eat the hummus that you know how to refill, or those cookies that you brought…or both. You can go run on the treadmill the next day instead of doing the walk of shame from Johnny AutoCAD’s apartment. There is nothing sadder than the “Holiday Party Walk of Shame.” Again, just trust me.

I think that about covers it…Don’t show up sweaty. Do check your fly. Don’t tell strangers about your alcoholic Nana. Do bring vegan cookies. Don’t drink every time you breathe. Do have fun. Don’t cry (actually…that’s just another “note to self”).

If you have any questions about going stag to other types of events, please don’t hesitate to ask. And if your ex is going to be there, let me know, I’ll just go ahead and be your date.

Love always,

Daiva Deupree is an actor, writer, part-time wedding planner, and proud new member of the Varsity Interpretive Dance Squad.  She currently does not have a date to her mother’s Boxing Day party. Her mother, however…does.

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Readers Comments (17)

  1. […] This post was Twitted by GirlieGirlArmy […]

  2. […] This post was Twitted by cleaninggirl […]

  3. Nicole Capobianco says:

    Hell YES sister, it’s as if you and i have parallel lives! Thank you for giving me some ammo this year as I desperately need it. (and if I bought another pair of Forever 21 shoes, I think the lights would be shut off in my apt.)

  4. jenni says:

    This is hysterical! And I totally agree on vintage clothing being a great conversation piece. :)

  5. Emily Ryan says:

    I love this piece! So funny and true and chock full of wonderful tips. Thanks!

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by GirlieGirlArmy: Dateless During The Holidays https://girliegirlarmy.com/blog/20091208/dateless-during-the-holidays/

  7. Melissa says:

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time! I already do most of these, but it’s still funny as hell to read :)

  8. Noreen Elia says:

    Amazing! JUST as I was about to enter the ten day pre-holiday depression period, you have saved me from the nagging “Is it just you?” questions. I literally laughed out loud several times when I read this. Thanks for a refreshing point of view!

  9. gina says:

    Thanks for this! I am getting ready to spend my first winter holiday season alone for the first time in…oh gosh a lot of years, and have been feeling a little sorry for myself. This made me laugh and feel less alone :)

  10. I’ll be your date anytime you need one, darling Daiva. Unless your conversation dips into a story about your eccentric friend who sips Glenlivet from a jug and wears sequins to Walmart. xoxo

  11. Rachel Griego says:

    Daiva I love it! I’ll probably end up spending one Christmas party doing everything wrong to make up for my good behavior at the rest of them. At least it will give everyone else a great story about some random creepy, drunk, decorational garland-wearing non-stop talker that no one else seemed to know either to take back to their friends.

  12. Auntie Lisa says:

    So that’s where the froggy sweater ended up!

  13. Ashley Hawkins says:

    This is fabulously funny and TRUE. Anything that makes my “attention span” not a problem for me has to be good. And if this doesn’t make the most alone person on earth not alone… Well then they must be from another planet… Galaxies away! Your very gifted Daiva!

  14. Dearest DD–

    this was great. Thanks for the help! I’m also single and maybe haven’t been quite so ready to mingle. But this helped me figure out how I might begin again!

    xoxoMdf

  15. Esther says:

    You saved me! seriously this was just the holiday pep talk I needed to make it through my party last night — ex and all!

    And soooo funny! my co-workers were wondering why I was giggling at my desk all afternoon.

    xo

  16. Cassie Bishop says:

    love it, Daiva! so refreshing…

  17. I simply want to say I am just beginner to weblog and absolutely loved your page. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your website . You really have good writings. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your web page.




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