Growing up, I was more likely to tell ghost stories (I was once dubbed “The Ghost Story Mama” by my camp counsellors) than share raunchy sex stories. As a teen, I hung out with a bunch of virgins (good looking ones, funny, too, but big fat virgins just the same) (actually they were quite skinny), and through osmosis or something, we all remained with our V-cards intact until college, or thereafter-ish.
Because of this, I have fallen back with some relationship lingo. The other day, my friend Arlene asked me if I have ever “cuffed” someone before.
“Cuffed?” I said. “What? Is that some BDSM thing? I mean, I don’t have handcuffs but, sure, I’d be willing to give it a try. I have really tiny wrists though, so is there such a thing as baby handcuffs? Is that weird?”
It turns out that cuffing is when you decide to date someone for the winter months, especially around the holidays, so you can do all the cozy and couple-y things together, like being kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. So, it looks I’ve fallen back on more than just relationship lingo because I’ve never “cuffed” someone, and I’ve never been kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve, either.
Okay. It’s not like I’ve never ever been kissed on New Year’s Eve. There are always kisses going around on New Year’s Eve. Drunk kisses, friendly kisses, Dad kisses. What I mean is I haven’t been passionately kissed by a man who I was in love with at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Ever.
There’s a reason for this, of course. Well, mostly that I’ve never dated anyone long enough to reach that milestone. My May-December romances have literally meant May to December. There was an exception once. I was dating my First Big Adult Love during the holidays in my early-twenties. He was a bartender and had the shitty luck of working New Year’s Eve, our first (and only) one together. We texted each other “Happy New Year” at midnight, and then an hour later, we shared a New Year’s kiss, but, by then the moment was over.
I had always wanted my big Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan moment from “When Harry Met Sally…” The kiss! The drama! The perm! I used to think, what better way to celebrate the New Year than by sealing it with a kiss from your beloved? It’s tradition! Even English folklore says that the first person you encounter in a new year – along with the type of encounter you have – sets the tone for the rest of the year. And then I thought: Whoah. Wait a second. That’s a huge fucking amount of pressure for a couple.
So now, I’m actually pretty happy that I’ve never had to kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Sure, I could get all Debbie Downer and say, “Geez, I’m thirty-two and I’ve never been kissed at midnight by a boyfriend/husband? What does that say about me?” Nothing! It’s a silly tradition that has pervaded itself into our culture, and it’s really more arbitrary than anything. How many couples do you know who collapse onto the couch before midnight and share snores and not kisses? Everyone, right? Yeah, because that’s what real couples do!
Here’s the thing about New Year’s: it’s super lame. You pay $200 for shitty appetizers and one measly glass of champagne at some club where you are packed in sardines while wearing the most ridiculous sequin outfit that would make Siegfried & Roy cringe. New Year’s Eve is like anything else in life: what value you put into it — meaning love and worth, not money, not cinematic-worthy moments — is what you will get out of it. Spending the evening with my parents playing Jenga sounds a hell of a lot more fun than being “cuffed” to someone shoving his tongue down my throat at the stroke of midnight.
The coming New Year, like every year, is what we choose to make of it, midnight kiss or no midnight kiss. New Year’s Eve is about spending it with people who you truly love, period. (And it also doesn’t hurt to spend it with those who you’re pretty certain will stick around after Valentine’s Day).
This New Year’s, I most likely won’t kiss the love of my life at midnight, and that’s okay. I don’t want kissing, and I certainly don’t want “cuffing.”
I’m holding out for the snoring.