The Case For Dating Yourself This Holiday Season
You know who will never flake on you? You.
I know, I know. It’s that time of year where we’re inundated with images of happy couples sipping hot chocolate together and wearing matching onesies under a tree. And not just in commercials and on social media — even the United States Postal Service, which every year I believe is fully dead, decides to pull a Jesus and revive itself in time to deliver an endless stream of holiday cards. And then you head home for the holidays, revert into a teenager, turn on the TV — and Love Actually insists on playing on every channel.
Don’t fret! As what one could call a professionally single person — I run a comedy show about dating and another about breaking up — I am here to tell you that, despite the endless romance we’re sold during the holidays, being single is not a problem. It’s a solution. (Love Actually is the real problem. Jamie is in love with his assistant half his age who doesn’t speak the same language, and Mark is in love with his best friend’s wife and films a wedding video that makes doxxing look sane.)
Hear me out: If you’re single, the only person you need to worry about is you, and maybe your immediate family for a few days. Plus, you don’t have to deal with a significant other’s family drama. Having a partner means double the drunk uncles, double the obligations, and double the cash you have to dole out in the form of presents — while inflation is sky high, mind you. This year, it’s just you, and you can do whatever you want, which I highly encourage you to do while you still can.
First things first, take all that money you would be spending on a potential partner, and give it right back to yourself. The average spend per person around the holidays tends to be between $1,000 to $2,000, depending on their age, with Gen Z clocking in at $1,154. Take 10% of that and treat yourself to an hour-long massage, because your body is a temple and the holidays are about religion, aren’t they? Besides, who better than yourself to appreciate your taste in gifts?
The downside, of course, is the inevitable condescending questions you’ll get from family members, asking when you’re going to bring someone home. I’ve gotten these questions for so many years, I think they’ve had a bar mitzvah. The solution for these family members is to be completely inappropriate. Do you have a boyfriend? Absolutely, you have several, and you’re all living your best polyamorous lives. Tell them dead seriously that you’re all being very safe about monkeypox, as though you’re on the exact same page about their real concern. And then, in the immortal words of our Lord and Savior RuPaul: sashay away.
I’m not saying that having a partner can’t be magical, but in the meantime, you should absolutely enjoy yourself.
Society has sold us a narrative that we — especially women — have failed if we don’t lock down a partner ASAP. (See: 90% of Christmas movies.) Even being with the wrong person is still seen as more “correct,” because, hey, at least you’re with someone! No thank you. And it turns out that despite being single, I am not alone. When Pew Research conducted a survey of single people in the U.S. in February 2022 and asked why they weren’t in a relationship, “just like being single” was the No. 1 response (with 44% ranking it as a “major reason”), followed by “have more important priorities right now” (42%). Sad-sack answers like “feel like no one would be interested” were significantly lower (with only 17% claiming it as a “major reason”). In other words, many of us have discovered that we’re perfectly happy being on our own.
Who among us doesn’t have an absolutely atrocious dating story? Or a simply disappointing one with a man so unwilling to do the bare minimum that you’ve saved him in your phone as “Grinch”? But has a night out (or in) with your friends ever failed you? I routinely laugh ‘til I cry with my friends — singles and couples alike — and I’ve never once discovered that any of them lied to me about already having a girlfriend. In addition to the lack of stress about if they’ve texted back, solid friendships contribute to improved mental and physical health throughout one’s life.
I’m not saying that having a partner can’t be magical, or that you won’t find one! But in the meantime, you should absolutely tell societal expectations to peace out and enjoy yourself, and especially during the 2022 holiday season, given that we all just survived a pandemic and the last two holiday seasons were super weird. To top it off, you only have so many years to hook up with exes and finally-requited crushes in the bathroom at your hometown dive bar. Are you really going to give up that precious time to forlornly scroll through soft-launched Instagram boyfriends who will probably send a half-hearted breakup text in two months? You know who will never break up with you? You.
Parties are back, and it is time to go to them, for as long or as little as you want. Celebrate your singledom this holiday season by going rogue and doing literally anything you want. Make Frozen your new favorite Christmas movie (I know that’s controversial, but there’s snow and feminism, so let’s go with it). Overdose on eggnog — if not for yourself, then for me, a lactose-intolerant Jewess. Stuff your own stocking (pun intended). Sing Mariah’s classic the way it was intended (into a mirror). And enjoy your ugly sweaters because they are correct: You are sleighing it, you look fab-yule-ous, and may you get up to snow good. Happy holidays!