It’s that time of year again. The shops keep reminding you to buy gifts "for him", the cooler weather makes you suddenly wish to be snuggled in a man’s oversized jumper and seemingly everyone is making plans with their "significant other".
Yes, Christmas is nearly here. Truth be told, I’ve never understood the panic to prey on a man throughout December. You don’t need a guy to enable you to eat cheese at Christmas markets or embarrass yourself trying to ice-skate on an oversubscribed rink. In fact, it’s far less cliché and far more fun, in my opinion, to do said Christmassy activities with your girlfriends.
That said, of course it's nice to make plans over the festive season with someone you genuinely like. I’ve previously mentioned the South African guy I’ve been spending time with (biological clocks and Entertainer apps, anyone?) and last week he invited me over for dinner. But before the Deliveroo (yes, seriously) meal arrived, he gave me this speech:
"[Insert name here] I really value our friendship. I genuinely like hanging out with you, which is most rare for me when it comes to ladies, as unfortunately they are often not of my level of intelligence,” (he’s real, I swear!).
“Anyway, I sincerely hope we will be friends for many years to come, so I’d rather we become just friends, so as not to ruin what we have with emotions.”
I’ve been friend-zoned before, but in the usual awkward series of get-the-hint WhatsApps. This I did not expect. “I’d still like to give you a gift, though,” he said, walking towards the kitchen. Yes, I am a terrible person, but my insulted pride at no longer being deemed attractive temporarily subsided as I strained my eyes to see what the present could be. I should have expected disappointment: a bag of his Iranian tea I had expressed interest in when I'd been over before. Oh, and one tiny teapot (not new, from his cupboard) to strain the tea in. I left shortly after, taking my tea and what was left of my pride back to the marina.
I don't have strong feelings towards the South African guy, so my emotions are intact and I haven't thought about him much since. But this time of year can, quite frankly, be tough. And feeling low or lonely is not uncommon. So, if you think you could feel slightly sad scrolling through Instagram on Christmas Day (come on, we all do it), and seeing his 'n' her Christmas jumpers captioned with hashtags like #thisone and #boydonegood, please remember, you are spending Christmas with someone special - you.