November 20, 2012 § 88 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
Every year a couple of friends give a Christmas party in their house, tables cobbled together in their kitchen, four delicious courses, same twenty-one people. That is, ten couples plus Perma-Plankton. I love it, despite being the only ever single saddo. The hosts know not one – not one! – available man. But I go because I enjoy it for its own sake. Somehow, I’m not made to feel like a freak of nature.
It is this dinner more than New Year’s Eve or my birthday or the beginning of the academic year that acts as a sort of marker for me. For several years now, I have gone alone and every time I say to myself, “This time next year I bloody well hope I might be with someone and can come, like everyone else, if not with a husband, then at least with a viable companion.”
I once went with an unviable companion; a stranger – a friend of a friend – who had showed up on my doorstep needing a bed and whom I took along because I was too embarrassed to ask him to babysit. This unexpected cuckoo caused something of commotion amongst the regulars. An outspoken BBC TV presenter amongst them asked if this man and I had yet had oral sex, as he thought we ought to have, given the fortuitous circumstances of our meeting. I had only met the stranger two or three hours earlier and had spent much of that time politely talking whilst doling out fish fingers to my children. The presenter’s remark made me feel very unadventurous, square and inadequate. The more so when the stranger and I did not indulge in a little light oral sex after the dinner either, when we went home together arm in arm and were both festively merry. It was so obvious we should have done but somehow we just didn’t. Perhaps it would have been too obvious, too corny.
Anyway, every year since, the presenter has asked me how it is I am still showing up alone, or at least not with a handsome companion, even if a platonic one. But handsome companions, with or without benefits, are hard to come by. I do have a younger twinkle in my sights this year, but I certainly won’t be taking him along to a married, middle-aged dinner at which we all get pissed and play silly word games which make us laugh helplessly but would crucify anyone under the age of forty.
So it is, I have another year under my belt, another Christmas party to go to as a lone loner. But still, somehow – and call me Deluded – with hopes intact for this time next year…