Christmas Passed

My 2016 goal is to be as happy as the stranger on Tinder who asked me out to dinner on Christmas Eve said I looked in my photos. (The night before while trying to sleep I had been thinking how I looked genuinely happy in a photo of myself with a bread bowl at Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth, after all, which yes, I use on Tinder, and how unusual it is to get a good photo of me on the first take. That might be the only example in my possession. And is is possible that I haven’t been happy since August? Did I mention that I started taking Topimax again, like two weeks ago. God, I probably did because it makes you just that stupid. But also kind of exhausted and dopey and yet when you go to bed your mind won’t go quiet and you wake up early, which isn’t the worst thing but at no point do you feel sharp and focused.) I stayed in anyway. 

And to be as lighthearted as I was told I am by the person who took my bread bowl photo.

I would never use happy or lighthearted  to describe myself, more like cynical and anxiety-ridden. Though I totally do get the latter. And it was in response to asking whether I was funny or not after reading that depressing article about how men are so turned off by funny women.

The exact response I received was:

“I would describe you as funny but not traditionally. You don’t crack jokes per se, more like your overall demeanor is lighthearted.”

Yeah, I get it. It’s why I got “Good Sport” added as a non-sequitur with my 25-year-old Hello Kitty tattoo over the summer. It sums me up. And it’s funny and makes no sense at the same time. I roll. I judge too. But mostly I’m flexible and can make anything fun.I’m not a pushover. And I definitely speak my mind.

But I’m rarely accommodated. And I fear becoming the mom who stops cooking and refuses to do laundry and no one cares. I certainly don’t lack me time. My life is 100% me. It’s been that way by design. It’s not an accident .Oops. I forgot to make babies. I just mean that even though it doesn’t seem like it I make compromises, dumb things, little thing that are so dumb that I’m not even going to state them aloud right here, that are what others want to do, and I don’t want to anymore.

This is one way of saying that I’ve boohooed about being alone in NYC for Christmas for years and forever have said I’m going to go out of town and haven’t and  it was a legit issue for over a decade and it’s only my own problem if I hate it so much. So, I have a plan for 2016 that I have to set in motion now and I’m verbalizing it (ok, typing it) so I will. 

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Oh, I never posted the above so I may as well now and add a post-script.

This “mawkish” time capsule essay “Christmas Is Cruel for Losers…So Be Kind to Them” was linked to in the New York Times cooking newsletter on December 25 and really set me off but I didn’t mention it on social media because I didn’t want to be a total crank. I know it’s from 1962 and I do like the tone, but it’s all about uplifting hardscrabble men for real and the one line where a woman gets mentioned it’s about false flattery. Yes, I’m still annoyed about this five days later.

Drop a saw-buck by the pillowless head of a doorway sleeper. Rush the big tippers to Beau Jack shining shoes in the barber shop of the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach. Make an old maid believe someone is flirting with her as she dines alone on Christmas Day. Let a forgotten actor get a telephone call from a producer.

So, on Christmas I had some amazing sushi and ended made out with a stranger for far too long on the corner Lexington and 63rd, which didn’t matter because no more than eight people emerged from the subway escalators over a 30 minute period and the only person who talked to us was a 50-year-old grandma who looked 34, sick of Christmas, asking for a light and the parked cop didn’t care because it’s eerily desolate on the upper east side after 1am the 26th, and it was perfect and teenage. And I mean that near literally in that I would’ve questioned being with a n adult version of the kind of guy I would’ve been into when I was a suburban 14 (um, nail polish, eyeliner, kilt–kooky always or just for Christmas? I slept, just slept, at his place, a coop he’d just remodeled which is partially why I wanted to see it, and I spied a skateboard and a pack of cloves, which wow, but also tennis shoes and a suit–it was a great Boxing Day puzzle. Whatever, he thought I was a millennial because I was uptalking so hard, which really is a West Coast thing not an age thing and truly has something to do, I think, with my attraction, on some neurological level, to the bread bowl photo-taker who literally grew up in The Valley. I had no idea that hearing a middle-aged man talk like a Valley Girl would do something to my brain) on any other night of the year but it almost made sense in near-2016 Manhattan.

I’m half-tempted to buy a really kick-ass, but not baller, bottle of champagne and a pack of cigarettes and just stay in on New Year’s Eve because nothing good ever happens on Jan. 31 and I don’t even mean that in an negative, defeatist way (heck, it might even be science). I used to think NYE set the tone for the coming year but I now know that’s total bullshit. Oh, and I think better posture would be a sane, reasonable goal for 2016. Slouching isn’t good for anyone.