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December 19, 2011

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Single ladies suffer on New Year's Eve

THE bubbly, the ball, the midnight kiss. Not all single ladies want a ring to go with it, but do they want a date for New Year's Eve?

Yes, it's almost here, that milestone of love and romance. This year, the holiday has its own movie (of the same name) filled with intertwining couples and a cast dripping with Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jon Bon Jovi, Halle Berry and oh so many more of Hollywood's sexiest.

There's love lost and found, confusing new love, love in an elevator and sweet father-daughter love. Director Garry Marshall packs it all in, but back here in the real world, New Year's Eve is one of those nights of all nights when the date monster rears. For others, though, Plan B (not worrying about a date) has become the new Plan A.

"A lot of us are starting to wake up to the fact that those are silly traditions meant to make us feel desperate about having a partner," says Jayelle Hughes, 32, single and happy in suburban New York. "Just because you're single on New Year's doesn't mean there's something wrong with you."

Avoiding that feel-bad trap requires strategy, she says, especially in the bright lights, big city glare of ball-dropping New York City, where Marshall unfurls his film.

Hughes, for one, will seek out other single friends and certain "non-annoying" couple friends on New Year's Eve. "An annoying couple is one that is either constant PDA (public displays of affection), ignoring their friends, or they're fighting all night long."

Now that online dating has gone mobile through a variety of phone apps, hooking up - er, dating - in real time has never been easier and seems ready made for New Year's Eve. Alex Weissner, 26, in Denver isn't interested.

"I've never been on a date on New Year's Eve and I'm pretty sure most of my close friends haven't either," she says. She, too, will celebrate with a group of friends.

And that kiss? "I feel like so many young women out there need to have that date," Weissner says, "but honestly, why not just enjoy your life and you never know what might happen?"

Shannon Mouton, 43, in Washington, DC, has been in several long-term relationships that involved being together for New Year's Eve. This year, she isn't. Like Weissner, she'll be with friends, with a likely stop at church.

"I did spend one New Year's Eve with just a single girlfriend of mine and it was depressing," she says. "I knew I would never do that again. It felt like two spinsters sitting at home watching time and the world go by us."

It's tough for Jennifer Marcus, 25, in New Jersey, to be around coupled friends on New Year's Eve, especially since she just broke up with her boyfriend of three years.

Huge pressure

"Part of me is dreading the holiday," she says. "I think I'll be really sad watching people around me with their significant others. But the other part of me is excited. I can spend the holiday with close family and friends, ringing in the New Year with people that really matter most."

The New Year's Eve dread, for those similarly prone, sets in right about now, says 29-year-old Doree Lewak, who wrote "The Panic Years: A Guide to Surviving Smug Married Friends, Bad Taffeta and Life on the Wrong Side of 25 Without a Ring."

"Women still feel huge pressure around the holidays - and certainly exacerbated by New Year's - to have a date," says Lewak, in New York City. "I don't think that moment has passed."

Lewak interviewed about 300 20-something and 30-something women for her look at single life. "An overwhelming number felt angst and despair during the holidays and especially in places like New York, where the holidays really loom large," she says.

New Year's Eve and the midnight kiss, Lewak says, are "so tied up with having a significant other. I don't think women can articulate why. It's just so built into our DNA."

Christine Clifford in Minneapolis owns a resource site for divorcees,, and hears the same sentiment on a regular basis. She offers tips to staying on the right side of happy. They could work for any single, whether divorced, widowed or never married.


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