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Bah Humbug

Thursday in the teacher’s lounge at lunch time — the place full of talking, working copy machines, humming microwaves and assorted dining noises — I casually mentioned to my lunch companion that I wasn’t going to the staff Christmas party. The room was suddenly silent. Everybody looked at me as if I’d just admitted to killing babies.

From 15 feet away, Mr. Texas-Drawl demanded to know why in the 7734 not? Nobody cared for any of my excuses. That is probably because they were just excuses. I never told them the truth. I hate going to parties where everyone is part of a couple and I am not.

What joy is there in …

… getting dressed up alone?
… driving across town alone?
… walking into a party alone?
… standing in the midst of couples alone?
… then going home alone with the laughter of those happy couples still ringing in my ears?

Thanks to a goodly amount of peer pressure, I will be going to the Christmas party. Chances are I will even enjoy some of the evening while I am there. But I will not enjoy leaving — walking across the parkinglot alone while everyone else is hand-in-hand. Alone and lonely are not always synonymous — except when you are a single in the middle of a paired off crowd.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. I completely understand. I hate big parties at any time of the year! While I am now married, I still hate the parties for the coupling effect. I just don’t enjoy, or even like, gross displays of public effection.

  2. I’m with Jan. I am never a big party person; can’t hear, too many things to watch, strangers, can’t remember names, too much alcohol…

    I prefer small get togethers.

    But couples are the worst. If they are not trying to prove how perfect they are together, they are beating eachother up verbally. Bleh!

  3. Jan — it isn’t the gross displays of public affection that bother me. I assume those are false. It is the little things — the inside jokes, the shared looks, casual touches … the things couples don’t even realize they do.

    Nessa — if there’s too much alcohol my stay will be twice as short as I already intend it to be!

  4. my daughter is off to school. she is brave and strong. she is in pain today, limping away because she doesn’t want to miss another day of school and a math test. i tried to reason with her and she told me, i’m often sick and in pain, but i am still responsible and brave. she said she has learned from me. she is so wise and she left me speechless and in tears. she will call home if the pain killers don’t help. i’m so happy for what and whom she is. she is so better than i could ever dreamed of being. so after a good sleep, first of many, many nights of nothing i feel stronger/calmer and now with her example, i’m feeling i can take on the world. so thank you angel for your concern. it’s a better day. she is my hero and inspiration. this is just another bump. so i am here to enjoy your beautiful blog.

    as you, i had a bad marriage. i went many times with him, as a couple, as many of his coworkers thought we had the most wonderful of marriages, me knowing the truth. all those overly affectionate showings, all those smiles and dances and holding hands don’t mean a thing out in public. it might all be a show, i know, i lived it. so many of my days with him, i was not single but i was alone.

    you are beautiful, sexy and have a heart of goodness and full of God. don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong in a couple filled room. most of them would wish your life. it is peaceful, and it is real-not for show. i would glady be your date if i was there. have fun with your girlfriends. dance, eat and be merry. you are a party-fun person, you will liven all the room. have fun.

  5. Oh no chica! No moping p-lease cause thou art faboo and need to live it up! I say find a friend, whether male or female and go for the sheer fun of it and live it up! That way you have someone to walk out with too…

    And hey, were I there I would be your date and no worries, though I may be from SF I promise that I wouldn’t put the moves on you… ha, ha, haa! ;-P

    Seriously though, I do understand though I also think it is how we wire our minds towards such a specific situation… today was one such day for me and though it filled me with dread yesterday, I got out my demons, went and kicked some ass! So go on, be fabulous, live it up and in doing so kick some ass of your own… and then come on over and tell us all about it!

  6. Chana — I am not surprised at Keka’s strength — just look at her mother!

    MzB — I haven’t been out visiting blogs much, but I’ll try to wander over your way. Please believe me when I say I don’t want to pick up anybody at the party any more than I want to go. Lonely is not at all the same as stupid and suicidal. I

  7. Awwwww… I can see where you’re coming from. Maybe you should have told them the truth. (hard… I know) OR… maybe there is another single somebody that you could go partnered with? Or at least LEAVE with — even to just go to a different spot and have a cuppa before doing the next ‘leave’ to go home? I do remember there being times when being single just sucked! But then… there are times when being MARRIED sucks too! LOL! (well… it’s TRUE!)

  8. I understand your reluctance. I remember feeling like a wallflower and the odd one out. But, ya gotta get out there. Networking I think is what they call it these days. Go with an open mind and maybe someone will know someone who knows… Have fun!

  9. Melli — my friend Cecilia and I are going together — although in separate cars since we live on opposite sides of town. We already discussed going somewhere after. It is a possibility.

    Jill — that’s the other thing — I am not looking for a hook up, and single people at these things often get shoved together by well-meaning idiots.

  10. Been there. Can especially relate to GN’s “can’t hear”. You go to a party to be with people, and you can’t make out a word they’re saying. Argh.

    The couples display is not always “only for show”. In a noisy room, they might be the only ones who can communicate. Especially if only one of the couple knows anybody else at the party.

    But that just makes it worse if you’re on the outside looking in. eh?

  11. I can only offer one insight. From my long and miserable first marriage I know that a person can be more alone and lonely ‘inside a couple’ than you’d ever consider. Also, a lot of people can’t function effectively outside their coupleness. That is very sad and not something I’d wish upon anyone

    You’re a smart, warm, funny woman Quilly. You’re probably wasted on those boring couples anyway. Why not skp the party and go out wiht a friend?

  12. Kyah — believe me, I had a marriage where, by the end, alone was better than together. I know. This year I am just feeling lonely a bit more than usual.

  13. Quilly, I don’t know about ‘cute’ – but he’s certainly quick witted, I’ll give him that!

  14. Charlene I know and live exactly as you say, ‘walking a mile in ones shoes’ it is as it is. You will go and you will have a good time………which doesn’t negate the facts: getting dressed alone
    driving across town alone
    walking in alone
    standing in the midst of couples alone
    going home alone
    Love you, C

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