The Squeaky 8th Wheel Gets the Oil

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Last weekend, in celebration of my sister’s 25th birthday, I went to a rented cabin in the north Georgia mountains. The guest list, as it was told to me, included quite a few friends of hers from as far back as her high school days. In the end, there were only eight of us in total, including my sister and me. The roster of attendees included my sister and her boyfriend, two other friends and their significant others,7th8th and Marcus and myself, the proverbial seventh and eighth single, gay wheels.

While I would like to make it clear that my sister and her friends made every attempt to ensure that Marcus and I felt like a part of the group, the weekend inevitably turned into a couples retreat…similar to Why Did I Get Married?…plus two! Marcus and I spent the first night talking about our prolonged and unfortunate singlehood. Although neither of us has had a boyfriend, the sight of these young and in-love pairs does tend to make one slightly envious. So, since Thanksgiving is the first event in the string of winter season holidays (the others being Xmas, NYE, and V-Day…), I figured I would write a short guide on how not to let being the only single one at the house, aside from the people sitting at the children’s table, get to you.

Certainly, an American conditioning leads us to believe that it is necessary to have a companion to enjoy the holidays in the first place. Unfortunately, like many customs one learned through adaptation, it is very difficult to break free of such beliefs without a conscious effort to break the mindset. After all, most of us are not accustomed to eating alone in general or on Thanksgiving, and although it’s not difficult to spend our own money on ourselves for Christmas, we definitely cannot give ourselves a NYE or V-Day kiss. I suppose some of the more vain of us could “technically” show the others of us how to romance ourselves, but I digress…

The first thing you should understand, as the winter season sets in, is that a change in attitude is paramount. …and since it is Thanksgiving, develop an attitude of gratitude. At least you have people to celebrate with in the first place. Many other people aren’t so lucky. Even if you attend the dinners that some good Samaritans hold for the gay children who are wayward, exiled, lonely, or otherwise unable to go home, don’t get stagnant in your own situation. You might be able to find someone with whom you might find worthy of engaging, in more ways than one!

Also, in this selfless time of year, don’t forget that people can’t help a situation they don’t know about. If you fear being alone for the holidays, ask your friends, family, and colleagues about their plans. Enjoy the relationships that you currently possess with other people you love, even if you are by yourself. You might want to take it upon yourself to host your own event, with other single people. You could create your own Island of Misfit Toys! (Thank Marcus for that analogy!) The winter holidays are a time for gratefulness, togetherness, reflection, inspiration, and love. If you are inspired to help others, perhaps volunteering at a soup kitchen might be more your speed. You’d be amazed at the self-worth you attain when you help others who really need it…

Finally, when you are alone, you’ll notice that the time you might otherwise be investing in someone who doesn’t always appreciate you in your true authenticity could certainly better be spent improving or stabilizing yourself. Take this time to reflect on some of the items we have discussed before. Maybe meditation, exercise, or chatting with a friend might be long overdue. Enjoy an old hobby, or begin a new one! Remember that mental health is largely influential on your physical health. So, you’ve gotta keep your mind healthy!

Additionally, if you’re not focused on your lack of a partner, you can devote your time to other things that do make you happy. …and when you feel good, you look better! Your positive attitude will make you more attractive to potential suitors. Then, you won’t need this article next year! (It always comes back to that, huh?)

Let me just reiterate that being single is fine, but I know there are entirely too many of us who are not single by choice. So, articles like these are written with those people in mind.

We know that being the single gay friend is not easy, neither at the dinner table, nor the couples’ retreat, nor the gift-giving exchanges. We also know that altering your mental conditioning is not an overnight feat. However, you have to maintain that it is possible, and you can start today. Besides…

If you adjust your outlook tonight, you might just find someone to look out for under the mistletoe!

This winter season, take a little time for self-reflection and the truer, more philosophical discoveries of life. I know (more than a lot of other folks who may try to convince you of the same) that life has a way of making you wonder if it will all work out. Of course, as Dianne Reeves will remind you in this song from 1990, you’re Never Too Far from home…

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AUTHOR: EvenSteven
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