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'Tis The Season for Holidates

Unfortunately, the office Christmas Party happens once a year – every year - and this year was no exception.

In an office with mostly marrieds – happily or unhappily so – it’s tough to be a solitary gal. Like it or not, something about a single in a group of couples stands out; it's like you’re a lost soul waiting to find your “place.” Now, we could argue whether or not the grass is greener on the single/married side of the fence, but at the end of the day, you’re still just eating grass, so I try not to even get into it.

Still, mingling with married coworkers in professional-social situations can be a tough line to walk. It’s important to be friendly but not too friendly; professional but not stuffy; and most importantly neither too self-depreciating about your ring-less ring finger nor too threatening with your wantonly single hedonism.

Between tables set for 10, the romantic and intimate atmosphere of Bill Miller’s Castle and a live band which would inevitably play a slow song now and then, I’m sure you understand how daunting the thought of showing up alone to the Christmas party was - I actually felt more pressure to find a date to this year’s office party than I did to my senior prom! 

I inventoried my “appropriate office party date” options, which didn’t take me long at all since I had none. I was going to need to creatively network. Now, I know skipping the office party is not an option, at least according to both one of my favorite work-and-life advice bloggers Penelope Trunk and NPR, but that didn’t stop me from threatening my group of peers with my own dramatic rendition of, “If I don’t have a date to the Christmas party…I’m not going!”

The Boss Lady jokingly offered to put an ad in the paper for “Holidates.” I know people do that, but it just seemed too risky. I mean, this wasn’t Monday Night Football at Buffalo Wild Wings – this was a work-sponsored event, there are rules and etiquette and survival guides about it!

Luckily, my friend SJ came through for me – she knew a cool drink of water from Madison who was able to come. The Drink was ideal for this situation – tall, personable, dashing – the exact kind of guy I want all of my coworkers to think I date on a regular basis. I enthusiastically agreed, bought his ticket and made plans to meet up with him and a few friends at before the party.

Since nothing is ever that easy for me, the night started off with a double-decker stress sandwich. I worked late, inflicted dozens of nicks on my knees shaving, broke a nail, ruined two pairs of pantyhose, gave up on styling my hair and ended up late and stuck behind a Volvo driving 30 mph on Route 1.

Once I met up with everyone, the stress melted away quickly and I relaxed into the party. Every once in awhile, I looked around and didn’t see The Drink nearby. I’d find him on the other end of the room conversing with mutual friends or discretely texting his ex. I tried to give him space without abandoning him – yet, another tough line to walk.

When we sat down for dinner, the conversation was mostly pleasant and sometimes awkward. I learned the word of the day was “bough” and I need to move my game to Cabela’s on the weekend if I want to find the real handy men in Connecticut.

Next, came dancing. The Drink danced a few numbers with me, did an admirable job hiding his disgust in my tendency to lead and didn’t even laugh at me when I repeatedly busted out a few Zumba moves because, let’s face it, I am a terrible dancer. Then, he politely excused himself to the bar and left me to get jiggy with my friends.

Finally, there was the inevitable conversation in which he told me about his recent break-up and I awkwardly stumbled around my own thoughts on life and love and sex. There always comes a point in a conversation in which I realize, “BAM – that’s why I’m single.” It’s because I have a tendency to speak before I think – it’s an affliction that’s plagued me my whole life – seriously, ask my mother.

As The Drink poured us each another glass of ice water, he offered the thought, “Sounds like you just don’t know what you’re looking for. You won’t find it until you know what you want.”

We were interrupted before I could disagree.

Mid-night. The party was over and it was time to dash out into the parking lot for a farewell hug before driving home – alone.

On my way home, I thought about what The Drink said. Sure, I may not know exactly what I want, but I don’t think that’s the one factor determining my singlehood. Quite the contrary, I think I’m open to a lot of possibilities, especially the possibility of being surprised and swept off my feet. Until Stop & Shop starts carrying an inventory of eligible bachelors, I just don’t see making a list of what I’m looking for as an effective way of getting a guy. Besides, what’s the romance in that? If you get exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll never be surprised to find someone even better, right?

Maureen Dixon December 27, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Wow, everyone! First of all, thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! I appreciate the feedback, advice, and interesting commentary! It's always nice to feel not so alone in the dating jungle, especially around the holidays! Krista - I will certainly check out the Wharf and Chips! I have some friends up in Madison who could show me around for sure! Thanks! Might just ask The Drink to join us ;) Va and T - I miss you girls! Thanks for reading! Linda, Rick, and Ted - thank you for such kind words! Lindsay and Mr. Mulligan - you are two of my most prolific and interesting commenters! Thanks for always giving me something else to think about! Finally, Tom, I'm not sure how to help you with the alien thing, but if the dating scene around New Haven doesn't get much better, I'll probably check into space travel as another option - maybe my own Mr. Right is really out of this world! xoxoxoxo
George E. Mulligan December 28, 2011 at 01:34 AM
Maureen: xoxo ... meant politely ... thank you for your maturity, posts, & humor To all - Happy, healthy, & prosperous new year
ted Aub December 28, 2011 at 02:04 PM
It interests me that a subject like this brought out some interesting conversation and commentary, and I for one enjoyed following its path.I guess there is some hope for society and its future after travelling through our communities many stores and shops and being serviced by individuals that have absolutely no people skills.I believe all who contributed here were candid and this might be a basis for a coffee disgussion group in the future.Irregardless ,I wish you all a safe and prosperus New Year with no hidden perils.
George E. Mulligan December 28, 2011 at 03:59 PM
CIA MOTTO starts: Ye shall know the truth .... The most interesting dynamic, is that it starts there, and does not include the preceding phrase. When interacting on HOLIDATES or BLOGS, one must take into account an entire range of histories, personalities, baggage, hidden assets and agendas. It the blog string related to Town of Stratford suing a 90 year old woman who used some of her social security money to pay for food & vet care for multiple cats .... A really demented poster became involved. - A couple of posters supporting the Town's positions were mean to the family who were just being nice to CATS. - The Town accused the 90 year old lady of "Animal Cruelty." Yet it was the Town who KILLED about 20 CATS? - This blog string is about HOLIDATES. Part of HOLIDATES is the wide range of unintended consequnces, whether participating on the HOLIDATES or commenting in the blog? - An series of comments which are mostly positive, can attract a single thread someone chooses to misinterpret or make an issue, whereas the commenter intent was candor related to added benefits of something like dancing, as a healthy vehicle to meet people. The same thing can happen during "Holidates" in personal conversations. By looking at intent and content, could reasonable people accept that any candid writer or speaker is going to insert foot in mouth occasionally? Does anyone know anything 100 % pleasing to 100 % of people? Life's travels & twsits :)
Lindsay December 28, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Yes. I am 100% certain that it is uncomfortable for 100% of women when you bring up body issues out of no where, instantly bringing attention to said body issue. That is 100% - I have the science.

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