Ah the Holidays!
Images of happy families laughing and dining together around a festive table. Of children gleefully opening presents and squealing with delight. Of couples cuddling before a fireplace and sharing romantic gifts and kisses.
At least this is how the Xmas and Chanukah seasons are portrayed in magazine ads and television commercials that appear to bombard us 24/7. And for many lucky people such happy scenes truly reflect their reality.
But for many others such scenes are merely constant and annoying reminders that their current life does not match a Norman Rockwell painting. And these people tend to be forgotten or ignored at this time of year.
Am I referring to the homeless or refugees from communities that were torn asunder by this year’s many weather disasters? No, for those people are not forgotten, and there are plenty of soup kitchens and shelters teeming with donated toys, turkeys, and volunteers eager to help them forget their misery. (Not that I am in any way downplaying their hardships.)
I am speaking of a group of forgotten people that few think of during the holidays. I am referring to adult, single men who are currently “between” relationships.
I know whereof I speak, because many years ago, I was such a man. After my first marriage ended in divorce, and before meeting my current wife, I spent several holiday seasons alone. Really alone.
You see the problem was that people did not think of me when planning their holiday charitable deeds or parties. When my parents who lived in the Midwest called and asked how I was doing, my response was always “just fine, I’m really busy.” After all, being a “man,” I could not admit how lonely I felt.
My married colleagues at work were pleasant enough. But their water cooler chatter consisted of daily reports of how hectic and busy they were… decorating their homes, baking cookies, and buying presents for their children, their spouses, and their mailman. (I guarantee you; no single man even knows his mailman’s name; nothing is more depressing than a single person buying a Xmas tree, and I don’t think I even knew how to turn on my oven.)
I was thrilled when they said we were going to have an office holiday party. And we were going to draw for “Secret Santa” presents.
After all, now I had one party to attend, and besides my parents, I had someone to buy a present for! (Of course just my luck, one year I drew the mail room guy, whom I intensely disliked.)
What about my friends? Yes, I had plenty of friends, but you see male friendships are totally different from female friendships.
Most unattached women are totally sensitive to the needs and feelings of one another. Groups of single women friends will plan lunches and dinner parties and shopping trips with one another. They will exchange presents. They may even decide to sign up for a cruise together over the holidays.
But men are, well, they are men. Male friendships tend to center around watching sports, getting drunk, or hunting for women. If an unattached single guy calls another single guy and says that he is lonely or invites the other guy to go on a cruise with him, let’s just say his heterosexuality would be questioned.
And if he suggests to his buddy that they buy gifts for one another, the response would just be a snicker.
At the dating service I ran for over two decades, there were two times a year when far more men than women would join. One was during the holiday season and the other was in August during the “vacation season.” During both periods women would be busy with their women pals, either having lunch or dinner with one another, taking day trips around New England, or going off on exotic vacations.
Unattached single men would notice that there were no single women around, so they would contact my dating service.
So this holiday season, if you know an unattached single man, call him. Don’t ask how he is, he won’t tell you the truth. Just invite him to join your family in your holiday festivities.
That’s the charitable thing to do.