Rule of thumb: Everybody goes totally friggin’ nuts — friggin’ chestnuts — around the holidays. Adding the always-insane world of dating into the swirl of evil elves and Secret Santas can prove too much for anyone to bear. After all, December is the cruellest month — and it feels like the whole damn planet is one Salvation Army bell away from snapping.
But you’re strong, right? You’re Santa’s Little Helper of Love. (Right?) All you want this season is a succession of searingly sexy dates. A sprig of mistletoe and ferociously foofy sweater might not be enough to snatch the man at the top of your voluminous holiday list.
But you can do it. You can brave that soulbending rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock.” You can endure Aunt Enid’s fruitcake — and even mom’s unrelenting sighs. (“I’m not allowed to have nice things…”)
If you play your greeting cards just right, you can even squeeze in a few romantic trysts between all the last-minute shopping and sobbing, sodden children.
But it’s a challenging time of year — so it’s doubly important to protect your heart.
Take a look at our Holiday Dating Survival Guide, cobbled together with our friends at Compatible Partners, who are extending a special “Queerty Holiday Offer” of 75 percent off.
Below, four tried and true rules to get your love-life cookin’ — through the New Year and beyond.
1. Dating is not a spectator sport.
Posing as the aloof, mysterious stranger at the corner of the bar can work wonders — but don’t turn into one of those lonely people waiting for a prince who never comes. (Spoiler alert: He won’t.) These days, the meat market is over-saturated with dating apps and relationship sites that can be tailored to your personal proclivities — so simply being “shy” is no excuse for not jumping into the dating whirlpool. As grandma used to say,”Ker-splash.” Add as many widgets and websites to your dating arsenal as you can. Armed with these — and the requisite bars, clubs, coffee-shops, and gyms — you’ll have more ways of getting into the game than ever before. And it is a game, so don’t take it personally. Feel rejected? News flash: Unrequited love is the greatest love of all. Take charge of your romantic destiny/destinies. Start shaking hands. And get those hands on some glands.
2. Don’t let past shoddy relationships hold you back.
We aren’t psychic — honest. But if you clicked this link, chances are you’re single — yet again. (Or you’re about to be, you coy little minx.) Think your romantic past is a veritable wax museum of rogues, sociopaths, and dippy trust-fund twits? Big deal. Was your last boyfriend heinous enough to qualify as a human war crime? Tough titties. Screw the past and keep swashing that machete through the brush. Here’s an insider secret: Once you get under the hood, everyone stuck on this Earthly plane is guano insane. Leaving a littered path of twisted relationships in your wake means you’re genuinely trying — you’re dating — and you’re that much closer to finding the one lovable loon made just for you. Who knows? You might even let this one live.
3. Have trust issues? Start trusting yourself.
They say people are full of surprises — but have they left the house lately? If you keep finding yourself sidled with men who are emotionally unavailable, keep in mind that you’re the one who found them. These guys didn’t just bully their way into your life. Chances are, from day one, there were enough red flags to constitute a Macy’s parade. (Hint: Meeting at last call isn’t fate.) It’s simple self-sabotage: If you keep dating guys you don’t trust — guys who leave you with that queasy, uneasy feeling in the pit of the stomach — it could be your gut telling you you’re the one who doesn’t want a relationship. The easiest way to accomplish that is by committing to a loser. Forget that, and do some soul-searching instead. Discover what you really want out of the dating life. If it’s a string of short-lived, Baudelairian love affairs with boys suffering undiagnosed personality disorders and peroxided hair, go for it. Follow your abyss. Dating is twisted fun, and reeling guys in is as easy as 1-2-3: Just be emotionally unavailable.
4. There’s no such thing as good relationship advice.
Relationship experts are charlatans. Sex columnists get paid by the word. Best friends have secret jealousies, and bloggers have agendas. When it comes to love and dating, it’s always been The Wild West — so head to the saloon at high noon and draw. There are no rules — except that hearts get stomped, chaos is the law of the land, and perseverance will get you everywhere. The only way to find out what works is by discovering all the things that don’t. Expect to wade through a procession of creepos, cowards, con-men, and cretins… and expect to discover you’re all these things, too. (Welcome to it, young grasshopper.) There’s plenty of brilliant guys out there just waiting to meet you — but you’ll have to do a lot of wading and sifting before you find them. And if you’re in need of an icebreaker, here’s a pickup line that always works wonders: “Hello.”