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Kiss This! (And Happy New Year) December 31, 2009

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought.
Tags: , , ,
Jacopo Werther

(Jacopo Werther)

What are you doing for New Year’s? What are your resolutions (if any)? What are your traditions? What are your traditional resolutions? (Mine is, “I will write an hour every day.” I make this resolution every year, and every year I break it by January 7.)

One NYE tradition that needs to go far, far away is the idea of kissing someone at the stroke of midnight. I’m not saying we shouldn’t kiss people at 12 a.m. on the first day of the New Year. We just needn’t get all mystical about it, as if kissing someone during the first second of 2010 is somehow more romantic or meaningful than kissing someone during the 3,845th second of the year.  More importantly, if we don’t have anyone to kiss, we shouldn’t get all worried. Nonetheless, every year millions of people fret about having someone to snog on this one night. Some settle for less-than-savory dates just so that they can ring in the new year with a kiss. Why?

Because the NYE kiss tradition plays directly into the prevailing myth that a romantic coupling marks the beginning of a new (improved, grown-up) life. The NYE kiss requirement says a new life (the new year) should start with a romantic coupling. Because “relationships” are intended to last for forever, the NYE kiss is seen as “lasting” too–that is, setting the tone for the entire year. (This same optic, where one particular moment is seen as representative of an entire timepan, occurs in panicked discussions about single people “dying alone”.)

I postulate that this paradigm has come to overshadow the good things about the NYE kiss–joy, celebration, spontaneity. Instead, we now have the Desperation Kiss. You’ve seen it. Go to almost any large New Year’s Eve gathering and at about 11:55 (or earlier!) you’ll notice the crowd clumping up into groups of two. Yes, many of these are pairs of people who are either “together” or who genuinely like each other. But too many of them are succumbing to the dynamic I experienced several New Year’s Eves ago on board my fancy-dress Jimmy Buffett Cruise (insert your oxymoron joke here). All names have been changed to protect the idiotic:

I, my roommate Callie, and my friend Ann and her boyfriend Dan walked onto the boat deck. Groups of people milled around and half-dancing between two open bars and a long long long buffet table. (Ann and Dan will not appear in the rest of this story, because for the rest of the cruise they stood off to the side by themselves.)  Callie, a single girl like me,  grabbed my arm not five seconds after we walked through the door. “Hey! Let’s go talk to those guys over there!” she said. I was still a little stunned by all the stimulation and just stared at her and at the little huddle of men beyond her shoulder. I wanted to look around a little bit and get oriented (ok, honestly, I wanted to go orient at the buffet).

But my hesitation irritated Callie. “I’m very sociable,” she snapped, and because I thought she sounded oddly defensive and unconvinced, I thought I should keep her company and meandered with her over to the huddle of guys. One of them wore a shirt printed with different kinds of fish, which delighted me and I said so. We had a fun conversation, then I wandered off to the buffet, and to talk to other people, and to do the odd yet enthusiastic gyrations that pass as my dancing. But Callie curtailed her activities so she could stay within smiling and chatting distance of the huddle of single guys. As the clock approached midnight, she decreased her hovering radius until at quarter to twelve she basically just stood there next to her chosen guy, who also stood there. Although he didn’t look distressed, he didn’t look excited either. I felt embarrassed for her.

Meanwhile, I myself was being prepped by a midnight kiss-stalker with whom I’d chatted occasionally during the evening. As the clock approached midnight, he decreased his hovering radius until at quarter to twelve he basically just stood there next to me. I tried not to look distressed, but I definitely was not excited. I felt embarrassed for him. But then–oh no! Someone had dropped their glasses (spectacles) on the carpet! I picked them up. During the crucial pre-kiss moments before midnight, I was running around trying to find someone official to give the glasses to.  My kiss-stalker couldn’t keep up. About 11:59 I found a woman in the coat closet or ticket counter who was willing to run an impromptu lost-and-found.

On my way back to the party my path intersected with Fish Shirt Guy’s, and he gave me a kiss. Which just goes to show that no good deed goes unrewarded. Although I have to say that his lips were very cold, like fish lips. Which just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished.

Copious Readers, have you been a kiss-stalkee or a kiss-stalker? What do you think of the NYE kiss tradition?


P.S. Oh yes, and HAPPY 2010, the YEAR OF THE  TIGER! RAAAARRRRR!


1. Matt - December 31, 2009

I kinda like it… I mean it’s one of the few times of the year that people, en masse, are willing to embrace a somewhat spontaneous and fun attitude towards something approaching intimacy. Most of the rest of the year people want you to fill out an application and promise to love them for years before kissing you. =)

Of course no one should be pressured to kiss anyone if they don’t feel like it. It’s all about doing what feels natural. I never mind if some cute lass wants to give me a kiss, but there’s nothing wrong with those that would rather keep their lips to themselves.

2. Trauma Queen - January 1, 2010

so you kiss and tell eh? hehehe

i have never heard of this tradition or kiss stalkers before! how stressing out!

but with the swine flu scare still hanging in the air? is kissing still such a great idea? I mean i’d be scared even if I was a kiss stalker…

so how was it this yr?

3. Singlutionary - January 1, 2010

Hhahahhhhhaaa! This is a hilarious story and one that makes me oh-so-glad of my own personal NYE tradition of staying in.

Maybe we should just expand the kiss thing to a friendly kiss on the cheek. I don’t know. I think I’ll just steer clear of the dropping balls and the missletoe.

I do like firecrakers though.

4. anony-mouse - January 2, 2010

I too spend a warm and comfortable night watching the fireworks on TV with my favourite friend ….. me, myself and I 😉 (and also going out onto the balcony and watching them from there … !)


5. Fangirl - January 2, 2010

I never thought of it as a particularly “romantic” tradition. I mean, it could be, but usually I just get a kiss on the cheek from my mom or my best friend.

(Also, as a side-note, I used to make goals to write X amount of time a day/week, but I found that failed me, but setting up a goal of X amount of words per month worked wonderfully.)

6. Trauma Queen - January 2, 2010

unrelated to this post comment:
what do you think of this blog? http://habitza.com/about/

Deena - January 3, 2010

Trauma Queen, thanks so much for mentioning habitza.com!

7. Lauri - January 7, 2010

Hehe amusing post. I honestly haven’t been to a big NYE party or out to a bar on that night since my early 20s, but I do recall the 11:45 scramble for kisses. I found it a little depressing- I felt like any other night of the year the kiss stalker wouldn’t have even talked to me in the bar, but you have to take what you can get on NYE…something like that.

Here’s what I do hate about the NYE kiss, as a person who has spent most with small groups of friends, usually being the only or one of the few singles in attendance. Everyone stands around in a group, counting down to midnight, everyone’s having fun together…and then suddenly, I have divert my eyes from my friends as they engage in smooching. It makes me feel that I’m somehow somewhere I shouldn’t be, that I’m invading their privacy. I never know what to do for those few minutes. It’s just overall really awkward. My friends would suddenly start making out in the middle of a crowded room any other night of the year.

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