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The ghosts of Christmas singles |

Sunday Lifestyle

The ghosts of Christmas singles

#NOFILTER - Chonx Tibajia - The Philippine Star

If my Facebook friends are any indication of the current state of society, then only about 10 percent of my batch — the ‘90s kids, those who grew up in a time when woman-angst was cute and girl power was at its mightiest, thanks to a generation of unimpressed, brooding females like Alanis Morissette, Shirley Manson, Fiona Apple, Brian Molko — will be able to relate, or even have the time to read this article. Because babies. Because weddings. Because important life stuff.

Anyone who internalized the brooding ‘90s belongs to an elite group of individuals with special powers that include ninja stalking skills, intense fangirling, social awkwardness and advanced scrapbooking. Our married friends were us once, until they were taken, leaving us to watch reruns of Sex and the City, with no one to debate with over which one we would have picked, Aidan or Mr. Big. We are the castaways, the minority, the “special kids” in our little quotation mark bubble, and we don’t really care — except on Christmas. On Christmas, we care.

Meet my aunt Emma, who thinks I am gay. She said something I’ve never forgotten: “When will you get a girlfriend?” Meet my cousin Victoria, who tried to invite me to a secret society for single people. They sing songs together and share sandwiches. Meet our family friend Gerry, who has tried to set me up with all of his Magic: The Gathering friends. Meet my other aunt Melanie, who has once taken me to a room to “pray over” me, while giving me a firm, 30-second facepalm. Meet my five-year-old niece Mel. C., who sometimes calls me lola.

During the holidays, I see them all, sometimes all together in one dimension. This makes me wish teleporting were included in my set of special powers. But alas, on these occasions, I can only summon social awkwardness and fake intoxication. I cannot sass them and then say, “Sorry, I was on juice cleanse.” They are family (I cannot buy them; I got them for free!) and I love them for caring. But for the love of Christmas, can they just … not?

My usual response is, “I am in a happy relationship with my job,” which usually merits a frown and then a moment of awkward silence. They must think it’s sad. They must think my apartment is full of cats gnawing on an expertly knitted Christmas tree beside a tea corner set up for two, the other cup gathering dust. I think I’m paranoid.

I can’t say I don’t understand why the lack of couple selfies on my Instagram bothers them so. I get it. The clock is ticking, blah, blah, blah. All of us in our little quotation mark bubble get it. But we don’t want an infant for Christmas, or a husband who’ll gladly go to Binondo to buy the fiesta ham. Not right now, at least.

We want someone we can drag to the movies to watch The Desolation of Smaug, someone who understands why Gandalf is awesome. Someone who can tell Gandalf from Dumbledore, or else, he shall not pass.

We don’t need someone who’ll take out the trash, get groceries, drive us to work, or text us every minute of the day. We want someone who knows that our silence doesn’t mean we’re upset — it means we are either sleepy, thinking about work, or attempting to do end-of-the-month math without paper.

We don’t want someone we can bring home to meet our parents ASAP. We need someone who will not think we’re in a hurry, just because we showed up late for one (optional) aspect of adulthood. Someone who will embrace our unique pace and understand that we had a life that was not at all that bad before they walked in.

You oughta know, the last thing a single person wants is drastic change. But one thing she might never admit is that she doesn’t want to be left alone. She doesn’t want you to stop asking questions, as if you’ve given up on her. She doesn’t want you to quit making fun of her, as if her state is no longer a laughing matter. Remember us, special needs.

These are things I wish I could tell Emma, Victoria, Gerry, Melanie, and Mel C., but I fear doing so might break their picket-fenced hearts. Instead, every Christmas, we bring out the ham, bust out the wine, and I tell them, “What I want, what I really, really want, is all here.” It’s true, and I got them for free.

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