Crummy Holidays: 1 Me: 0
I’m standing at our annual New Year’s Eve party, on my fourth glass of celebratory champagne, and I’m bored out of my mind. There’s not enough alcohol in the world to make this man in front of me interesting. It doesn’t help that his breath reeks of something disgusting I can’t name. Every time he tries to lean in and whisper to me, I hide behind my glass. He’s probably taking my actions as being coy when it’s really for my own protection.
A minute later, he steps back to run a hand through his oily hair, giving me what is supposed to be a sexy stare.
“So I really think we should go out sometime. We’re a perfect fit.”
“Come on. We both like sushi from that place over on Main, are hot as hell, and have PhDs.”
“You have a PhD?”
This guy has the nerve to smirk, then look down at his crotch like I’d be winning a prize.
“A pretty huge di-”
“Okay, I think I’ve heard enough. Bert was it? Nevermind. Doesn’t matter. You take care, but I’m gonna go find my friends now. Happy New Year or...whatever.”
His stammer follows me halfway across the room before I hear retreating steps. Thank god that’s over. One more second of him and the stench might’ve made me faint. This party is not shaping up to be the best. I hoped that among all the single men here, at least someone would be datable. So far, they’re lame or douchey. A guy before the pleasant Bert basically wanted to bribe me for sex with a large pizza and a bottle of grocery store wine. I like pizza, but not THAT much.
Katie and Missi, two of my friends, are huddled together while Hayley schmoozes nearby with an older woman. None of them have to worry about nabbing a date for holidays. Their husband, fiancé, and boyfriend stand off to the side, laughing about something. Knowing them, Morgan told a dirty joke which Sam had to pretend was horrible while Erik encourages him.
They get an eye roll as I head toward the girls, motioning me their way. I notice Katie pushing her glasses up every time she peers down to examine the drink in her hands, but she stops to smile in hello. A bit of a lightweight she is when it comes to liquor and, while claiming it’s overrated...always manages to have at least one. Missi is the exact opposite. On more than one occasion, she’s drunk me under the table. Tequila is her poison of choice tonight, it seems.
“Am I the only one drinking champagne?”
“Looks like it, babe. I had to take advantage of the Patrón. That’s a given.”
“Sure, sure. What about you Katie?”
“Uh...I think it’s rum. Maybe? I don’t know. Sam gave it to me. Said it was fruity and I would like it.”
Her unreadable expression disappears as she takes a sip. She isn’t frowning or gagging, so I’m assuming Sam was right. The topic quickly changes from drinks to a million other things. I’ll gladly talk about anything other than my love life.
We continue chatting, but I’m constantly on the lookout for more champagne. Mine is almost gone. During my search, the guys draw attention to themselves by cracking open more beers while wearing the dumbest of grins on their faces.
“You three look like you’re having way too much fun. What’s so funny?”
Choked laughter comes out of Morgan. They all exchange glances, wondering how much they should tell, if anything. Sam is on the verge of ratting them out, so Erik elbows him before straightening to give me the safe answer.
“Uh-huh, I bet.”
Soon, Hayley has finished sucking up to that unknown lady and walks over to the rest of us. Everyone pairs off, which leaves me awkwardly fidgeting in envy while gulping down the last of my champagne. As the bubbles tickle my nose, I can sense a prying conversation coming on. The only question is—who will start it?
“Lori, why the hell do I not see you with a date?”
Morgan it is! Here we go...
“Way to be blunt about it, sweetie.”
I ignore Hayley trying to shush her husband and seriously consider why I don’t have a date. Is there something wrong with me I don’t know about? My friends are discussing my problem like I’m not even here when I interrupt.
“Well, if you must know, there was a guy earlier, but...”
“But his name was Bert and...”
“I’m sorry. What?”
“You heard me, Erik Washington. His name should be the least of your worries. That guy could repel cockroaches with his breath alone.”
Everyone cringes and I’m pretty sure I saw Missi cross herself. Sadly, they don’t know the half of it. Bert was the highlight of tonight. This fact and the other dismal ones that come to mind have me breaking away from the group to snag more champagne. When I’m back within earshot—I hear them systematically sizing up my prospects.
This could get ugly...
They seem determined to set me up with someone. Can’t have poor Lori be the only one of the group not kissed at midnight. I appreciate their concern, but after Hayley has tried to persuade way too many men to give me a chance...I’ve given up. In my defense—the first two guys she chatted up were gay. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with me. Really.
Somehow, I make it through the rest of the night. As much as it hurt to see everyone, and I mean everyone, locking lips at midnight...I’m fine. Do I question the stability and smelling capability of the chick I saw kissing Bert? Yes. Am I now wondering if I’m cursed or doomed to remain single for the rest of my life? Also yes. My friends all assure me otherwise, but how much can I trust their opinions when the world damn near ended, and they scoffed like it was nothing? I swear I saw that woman leave with the giant walking breath bomb after their kiss, too!
It’s horrendously late before I stumble into my apartment, then my bed. Drunk me has no clue what hell awaits the sober me. After all the champagne I drank last night—most of my time on the first day of this glorious new year will be spent in the bathroom.
Around five or six in the evening, the vomit stops and I can finally limp into the kitchen for water. My phone faintly rings in the living room, but I’m not in any hurry to answer it. Anyone who would dare call me right now has no idea what happened at the party. I’ll spare them the details by getting back to them later. A piece of dry toast and a bottle of water are all I can stomach at the moment anyway.
Can this year be over already?
~ ~ ~
Three long weeks have passed. I try to ignore all the signs reminding me that Valentine’s Day is coming up. Everywhere I go it hits me in the face, like literally. A bunch of tiny girls had flyers about a sweetheart dance they had no problem shoving at me. They told me it was for all ages when I gave them a look. That’s cute, but can’t go to a sweetheart dance without a sweetheart.
As soon as I get home from work that day—I ask my friends for help. Our group chat is buzzing with suggestions. Most of them we’ve tried or are too out there. Katie wants me to just waltz right over to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Her tips stop at that one. She honestly has no idea how she got Sam.
“So what you’re telling me is that I’m screwed. Thanks.”
“Pretty sure I’m saying the opposite. Get it? Get it?”
After I send her a string of emojis, which were mostly the middle finger, I practically beg for legit solutions. Missi is convinced my vagina might collect dust or cobwebs if I don’t get laid soon. Her advice is a one-night stand with the nearest available “hunk”. Hayley thankfully steps in and vetoes that idea. I’m looking for love, not an STD.
“Oh, oh, oh! I know!”
“Care to share?”
I see Hayley’s three little dots appear, then disappear. No message though. More dots, then no dots. Still nothing.
“Holy shit! Spit it out already, Hay!”
“Hah. Sorry. Had to find it.”
On my screen, a huge link shows up for a dating site and app called Lots of Love, or LoL for short. Ridiculous name aside...is she serious? This is her big epiphany? I’d almost rather be set up with her cousin again. The other girls all seem to love the idea, so they’ve probably already started looking for a suitable picture for my profile.
“Am I really going through with this? I don’t know...”
“Come on! It’ll be fun and you might find your soulmate.”
Clearly, Katie is delusional. Soulmates don’t exist. If they did, he would look like Henry Cavill and would be here feeding me fruit while brushing my hair. Despite my constant objection to this insane idea, they push forward. Missi is spearheading the account creation since she found the picture and came up with my username.
“Now we just need to figure out what to put in your bio.”
“How about desperate loser who let her three friends create this profile avidly seeks male companionship?”
“Nooooo! That makes you sound easy.”
What does she think I am at this point?
“I haven’t had sex in almost a year. A freaking year. I’m beyond easy right now.”
Minutes pass with nothing on my screen. I hop up to make myself some tea and change my clothes. When I get back—excited messages flood the chat along with a screenshot of my newly made profile login info. Katie is more thrilled than I’ve ever seen her.
“Good luck, Brainy_Babe917!”
“Okay, dial it down a smidge. I’m on a dating app, not solving the world’s hunger crisis.”
In between peppermint tea and group chat, I chance a look to see if anybody bothered to show interest on LoL. What I find has me almost dropping my phone. Tons of messages are there waiting for me to respond. I can’t believe it. When I pick my jaw up off the floor—I tell the girls. Missi doesn’t seem fazed but makes me promise not to read any of them yet.
“What? Why the hell not?”
“Because your profile has only been up for thirty minutes. I guarantee most of those messages are from clingy momma’s boys or creepers who claim they’re really ‘nice guys’. You wanna wait, babe. Trust me.”
While I complain about how unfair that is—they make plans to keep my mind off of it. Girls’ night out at a new club is their answer. I was going to stay home with my book and maybe go to bed early, but I don’t think they’re going to let me. Three hours later, it turns out I was right. After a trip across town, two dances, and a cocktail, I’m sitting in a dark corner of Cosmos NYC.
Mostly, their plan is working. I was good until I kept focusing on all the surrounding couples. Pinning all my hopes for love on this dating app has me anxious. Valentine’s Day has to be different from New Year’s. I cannot face a repeat of that party. Images of stinky Bert puckering his lips appear in my head.
“Nope. No way. LoL better bring me Mr. Right.”
Mentioning it causes me to cast several glances at my purse. This is torture. All those messages are just sitting there. They can’t all be from pathetic douches. Can they? I don’t think one little peek will hurt. Before I can sneak my phone out of my purse, Missi smacks my hand away.
“Stop trying to look. You’re gonna have a date before you know it.”
As she plops down next to me in the booth—she places another drink in front of me. Her arm wraps around my shoulder and I’m pulled into a giant group hug with Hayley smooshing me on the other side.
For the sake of my dusty vagina...I hope she’s right.