And not hate it.
I tend to run from conventional tradition. During my Bat Mitzvah, they tried to lift me up in chair and I hid in a cabinet. I wasn’t fond of heights and had my doubts about the coordination of the chair holders. Not all traditions are awesome is what I’m saying. There’s one tradition that single women fear, one they can’t hide from. We spend a lot of being single feeling left out, and this is peak: We don’t kiss anyone at midnight.
It sucks, I’ll say that. Nobody wants literally the first second of a new year to feel sad, lonely, and awkward, but for us it is, every time. It’s a potent shot of lonely, just as we welcome in a new year, and a fresh start. It’s pretty bullshit.
I’ve learned a lot about these kisses, having been their spectator for years. They aren’t romantic or passionate, they aren’t declarations of love. They’re just happy. Joyus little kisses that come naturally and never get a second thought. No one’s thinking of the years they didn’t have someone to kiss as the ball drops, they just do it reflexively, happily, the party never pauses for them.
I don’t want to live in fear of a time of day. I don’t want to begin every new year at a deficit. Thusly, over the years I’ve collected a few best practices that make literally dropping the ball a better time. I hope they’re helpful, and if they’re not, pop a cork, hunker down, and get home before the Lyft price surges. You can do this.
- Hang out with LTRs. The midnight kiss is less exciting if they’ve already done it nine times. Obviously roll with a single comrade or two, but in general people in long term relationships are, in my opinion, less likely to make you feel like wet garbage runoff on NYE. Their midnight smooch will be brief, sweet, and there will be plenty of cheek kisses and hugs for you, too. I’m a fan.
- Go to one place, and stay there. Travel on New Year’s Eve is a punishing experience. Getting a rideshare, hailing a cab, walking many many blocks in ill-advised footwear, you don’t need to mess with it. Any sort of struggle during the evening is only going to exacerbate feelings gloom that come along with a solo December 31st. Keep travel minimal and settle in someplace awesome for the night. My faves include small house parties and late dinner reservations at fun neighborhood restaurants, where you can tuck in until past midnight and champagne toasts are table stakes.
- Wear something comfortable. As above, you want to remove as many annoying factors from the evening as possible. You’re about to watch an entire room of people display affection while you literally do nothing for a second, do you really want to be dealing with foot pain or itchy Spanx at the same time? No. I tend to opt for a sparkly, roomy jumpsuit of some kind that is essentially just pajamas craftily disguised as clothes.
- Have an activity. I find distractions helpful. Anything from scheduled entertainment to rooftop trips to see fireworks can be effective. This year, my friends and I will also be holding a White Elephant gift exchange on New Year’s. I intend to win.
- Act as documentarian. A room full of people kissing while holding sparklers is, apart from a kick in the belly, a beautiful sight. Perch yourself somewhere strategic and snap an Instagram pic that’ll show up in next year’s top nine.
- Replace it. Who says your tradition has to be theirs? Replace the stroke of midnight with something that you do, just for you. Take the year’s first selfie, make a wish, burn some sage, FaceTime your family, give that moment something else, something that’s just yours. It might catch on…
- Decide to be okay. Harry isn’t bursting through the doors at midnight, and your end-of-the evening makeup is never going to look as fresh as Sally’s. You are the only one who can “save” your New Year’s, and deciding that it doesn’t need saving in the first place is a great place to start. It’s the beginning of your new year too, and that’s no less magical than it is for people who get kissed at midnight. You’ll only deal with the impending countdown well if you make up your mind to, so decide that being left out of this momentary tradition is okay, because it is. And friend, this is good practice, because Valentine’s Day is 45 days out.
If we’re going to resolve to do something, maybe it’s to let go of feeling bad for kissing no one, to replace that moment with something positive, and to move past it and into what will hopefully be an amazing year with confidence and joy. The stroke of midnight is just one second, there are 31,557,599 more with your name on ’em. Happy New Year.