I’m single and most of the time, I’m really OK with that. Except, of course, when Valentine’s Day marks a giant “X” on my calendar and I’m left feeling inadequate because I have to buy myself a life-size bear made out of milk chocolate to feel better. Or when I attend one of my darling friend’s wedding and find myself sitting at the “singles” table while everyone else is off slow dancing to some Boyz II Men track.
Anyway, SSS, or Single Sadness Syndrome (this has not been endorsed by Dr. Oz — yet), rises to the surface like a persistent pimple during the holidays. And while all the couples are off doing couples things like holding hands while ice skating through Central Park, feeding each other pieces of pie or taking selfies smooching underneath mistletoe, us single folk are left feeling like this:
1. Alone – at places like your company holiday party, your family’s Christmas dinner or watching Home Alone 2 while the snow barricades you into a weekend of seclusion. Everyone else is sipping bubbly and exchanging saliva with their counterparts, and you’re flirting with the delivery guy from Seamless, who knows the intimate details of your sushi order.
2. Cold – it’s extra cold when you’re lonely. That’s a fact. I’d take the body heat of someone else’s arms wrapping themselves around the goose bumps of mine over a raggedy blanket that I’ve washed a million times and have had since I was wearing diapers.
3. Suffocated – by the nagging questions of family members over why you’re still single. They ask you how many dates you went on this year and why they didn’t work out and what other avenues you’re exploring to meet new people, as if they are hired consultants trying to strengthen your business.
4. Confused – as to why all your friends are getting engaged during the holiday season as if there was some kind of BOGO ring special at Jared. Some of these people you didn’t even know had a boyfriend! Others, you know well. Very well.
5. Desperate – is the thought bouncing around your head like a 4-year-old needing to pee:Who you are going to smooch when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve?All the couples are getting cozy and the only single guy at the party is stuffing his mouth with chips and salsa. There’s no room in there for you in there.
6. Nostalgic – is how you’ll feel if you go home for the holidays and run into people you haven’t seen since you were covered in pimples and your teeth were attached to metal braces. And these people, who you’ve successfully hidden from your Facebook newsfeed, will talk about how much they miss the days when you’d have sleepovers with them before they’ll start telling you about their high-paying job that lets them travel to places like Thailand and Paris and their boyfriend who is a Calvin Klein underwear model.
7. Extra alone – especially at your Great Aunt’s holiday party, where you wish you had a sidekick so that when all your relatives are engaged in some heated talk over family politics, you can maintain eye contact with someone who will make you sane.
8. Really alone – because sure, being single on Valentine’s Day is a drag. But at least you can just hibernate for 24 hours and trick your brain into believing you’re happy by eating an insane amount of chocolate. At least it’s just one day.
9. Bothered – because everything (the infestation of tourists, the suffocating decorations, the holiday jingles that play on repeat) is more tolerable when you’re in love. When you have someone special by your side.
10. Selfish – because it’s always nice to roll around in beautifully-wrapped presents and line our refrigerators with greeting cards from friends. But there’s just something about the gift of telling someone, for the first time or in a different way, how much you love them. How much they really mean to you.