The Christmas season in the Philippines unofficially starts promptly every September 1, with radios racing to play the first Christmas songs. Shopping starts in October when most companies give out bonuses. The momentum builds up after the All Saints’ Day/ All Souls’ Day break in early November, when malls go all out in their decorations.
Come December, people plan reunions with different sets of friends, including their kindergarten classmates (thanks to Facebook.) Everyone has at least one Christmas party to go to, and parents troop to their children’s school presentations. They all dance Gangnam style.
The music, the lights, and the smiles all indicate it’s Christmas. Dollars from relatives who work abroad are pouring in. Recipes for fruit cake and glazed ham are exchanged. Plans to go to dawn masses are arranged with neighbors and friends.
In the middle of all these family- and couple-oriented activities stands the single woman. She is earning now, so nephews, nieces, and grandchildren get special gifts from her. She helps in planning, if not in executing, the family holiday menu. She is the driver to and from the airport for her loved ones. She watches her married friends shop for their husbands and children.
She is not alone, however. She has a dozen other friends in their 30s, all unmarried for one reason or another. They all meet regularly to watch ballets and plays and operas. They eat in fancy restaurants. They suck the marrow out of life.
But… they wonder. What is going on, really? So after a bottle or two of Cabernet Sauvignon, they proceed to dissect their lives and create labels. They call each other the following names:
1. Queen of the Attractive-to-Commitment-Phobics (in Tagalog, mga ningas cogon): She gets asked out by men from all nationalities. But after a couple of dates, or even months, they disappear for some mysterious reason. They probably all work for the CIA or the British Secret Service and got called back to their respective mother ships. But it’s the same pattern, over and over again. Could she be too hot to handle?
2. Queen of the Crush-Only-It-Won’t-Go-Any-Further (Crush ng Bayan, pero Single Pa Rin). Men find her cute and funny. They call her up for no apparent reason. They consult her about major and mundane decisions. They make occasional flattering comments. But… nada. Not even a Starbucks peppermint mocha has been invested in her. She is left to wonder, What can I do to make them love me?
3. Queen of the Forbidden-Love-Syndrome: She gets stalked by the wrong men. Worse, she falls for one of them. Who happens to be happily girflriended, engaged, or, yes I will write it even though it’s Christmas because it’s true: m-a-r-r-i-e-d. And a relationship with any of these men will only end up in tears. No matter how many flowers he sends, morning jogs he spends, or evening trysts he plans. He is off-limits. She wants to fly away to hide her tears. Could she be purposely attracted to men she can’t have?
I saved the best for last. Presenting…
4. The Queen of The Friend Zone. She invented this friend zone when she was a teenager, to assure her father that all her male visitors and callers were just friends. She probably related to them that way, too, and thus never learned how to take it to the next level. After getting to know her, men can’t live without her. They ask her for business advice, emotional support, and, to top it all, make her their children’s eternal godmother. All these, like Sally for Harry, do not change the fact that she is still alone on New Year’s Eve. Could she be subconsciously failing to step out of the friend zone?
I am sure that there are countless other zones that my friends and I have not invented or inhabited. This year, I toast to all these single queens, who are shining examples of holding it together, with a glass of wine in one hand, and a Blackberry drunk-texting an ex in the other. 😉