So it’s December already again, and your best friend in the whole world is having her annual holiday party! It’s really important to her—it’s the only big party she throws, and she obsesses about it every year.
You’re free that night, right? She needs you there because it wouldn’t be a party without you! And you’re gonna bring that gluten-free dairy-free vegan dip again, right? ‘Cause it was soooo good.
Well, duh. Of course you’re going to her party. You can’t not go. You’ll make sure you’re free, and you’ll bring the dip—that’s what friends are for. The party is always really fun and kind of insane, and people always go out for breakfast afterwards. It’s gonna be good.
Fast-forward: it’s 9 p.m. on December 14th and you’ve spent an hour on the dip, carefully arranging little gluten-free crackers and veggie sticks on the tray. You’re clean-showered—your hair looks great, you smell fresh to death and you’ve got your most killingest outfit on.
You head over to your BFF’s. As you walk up the two flights of stairs, tray carefully in hand, you can hear the party already, the laughing, the music. Ahhh your bestie always throws such a great party. You’re filled with fondness for her, suffused with happiness, excited for what the evening will bring. You open the door and…
OH SWEET GOD SORRY WRONG APARTMENT THIS IS CLEARLY THE SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL.
Everyone is at this party.
It took years, but it’s finally happened: you’ve swung the door open to discover that all the queer circles you’ve ever hung out with have merged.
Your social life used to look like this:
Now it looks like this:
This is it; you’re at the end of the line—you officially know every ghey in your city.
Friends. Friends of friends. Roommates of friends of friends. Exes. Crushes. Ex-flings. Acquaintances you always, always see out dancing but never actually meet. They’re all here, goddammit, and there’s nowhere to hide—there’s an awkward encounter waiting to ambush you in every room.
I know you’re busy freaking out and looking for the vodka, but don’t worry, bb! Mama has already been there, and that’s why I’ve made you this:
The Official and Totally Scientific Guide to Managing All the Heavily Interlinked Queers in Your Life This Holiday Season
You see, everyone is connected. Everyone in the whole world. But when you take “everyone in the whole world” and narrow it down to “people your approximate age who live near-ish to you in your city and are also connected to the queer community,” things tend to get a whole lot more connected, a whole lot more quickly.
Now, some people are connected by one degree, like you and your best friend. Some people are connected by two degrees, like you and your best friend’s roommate. And some people are connected by three or more degrees, which is how come you see both that one girl with blue hair from OkCupid and that boi who works at the co-op giggling together over the hummus rightthissecond.
And sometimes being heavily connected to everybody is awesome! Sometimes it just means you get more friends!
But sometimes… it leads to some seriously awkward encounters.
Deep breaths. We got this. Deep, calming breaths.
We’re gathered here today to talk about some of the more difficult encounters you might face at this, your own personal holiday horror party.
Get ready, hunnybun, cause here comes:
1. Your Raw, Painfully-Recent Ex from a Serious Relationship
OH MY GOD YOU CANNOT EVEN DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW WHERE CAN YOU HIDE. There they are: the person you just got out of a serious relationship with, the person you didn’t really want to end it with, the person who just moved out a few months ago. They took the good coffee maker and left the cat. You cried for days, weeks. You went through every picture and played every song you two ever fucked to while sobbing and eating vast amounts of complex carbohydrates. So many feeeelinnggggs aggghhh.
Why she’s here: You and your painfully-recent ex joyfully merged all your friends when you were together—her friends are your friends, and vice-versa. Your Serious Ex is good friends with everyone you know, and when you corner your best friend in the kitchen while holding a cheese spreader in a threatening manner, she sheepishly admits that she “couldn’t not invite your ex—we’re all friends, it would hurt their feelings!” (Plus she knew you wouldn’t come if she told you your ex was coming. Plus you told her last week you were totally over it so she thought you were over it.)
Plan of action: AVOID AVOID AVOID. If your ex situation is so painful and raw that you are literally still picking the pieces of your heart out of your teeth and it took several months of bawling on friends’ couches and Facebook-blocking to get into this enlightened, on-the-mend state, then going and talking with your ex is the worst idea ever, sugarplum. Think of all the work you’ll be undoing! Espesh when you see how much they’ve been working out…fuck.
Ok. Maybe, if you want…say hi to The Ex. Then vanish every time they enter any room you’re in. It’s ok. Really. Take care of yourself—don’t worry about what anyone else at the party thinks. It’s not like every faggette in the room doesn’t know what’s going on, anyway. #inthefolds
2. Your Raw, Painfully-Recent Ex from a Serious Relationship’s…Date
HOLY FUCK YOUR EX BROUGHT A DATE. WHO EVEN IS SHE OMG IT’S THAT DITZ FROM HER JOB.
Are they fucking? Do you think they’re fucking? DO YOU??
Plan of Action: AVOID AVOID AVOID, unless you are forced into an introduction. If this happens, be nice (it’s not her fault you are going through the worst breakup of your life) and act normal—you are careless and carefree, the light of the party, and you couldn’t care less that she might be fucking on your beautiful, beautiful ex who understood you better than anybody and thought it was cute when you laughed so hard you sharted that one time. Be nice to your ex’s date, even if you are dying inside, because guess what? You’re both queer, and you’re going to see each other again. Probably next week, when someone else has a party.
3. The Bad OkCupid Date
It was a bad date. Well, not that bad, just…boring and a waste of time, and you guys didn’t ever click, or really even have much to say to each other.
Also she talked about her sister obsessively in an odd way. Also she “forgot her wallet.”
Also you hated her stupid winter hat shaped like a monkey. WTF YOU ARE A GROWN WOMAN YOU DON’T GET TO WEAR CLOTHES FOR TODDLERS. Ok shut up, shut up, it was a bad date.
Plan of Action: Say hi, be nice, don’t talk shit about her, and go about your merry way. She’s not interested in you, you’re not interested in her, and you can see the knit monkey hat peeking out from the pile of coats in the bedroom. Different strokes, sugarcube.
4. Your Secret Crush
HOW. HOW ARE THEY EVEN HERE. Unaware, you walk past your secret crush, freeze like a startled moose, and look up to see your best friend watching you knowingly, with a smug look on her face. Christ on a bike, are you that transparent?
Your secret crush seems to know everyone at the party already, confirming your opinion that they are the white-hot burning secret center of the universe, and they are laughing with their stylish friends and wearing what is quite possibly the most attractive plaid shirt you’ve ever seen. And I mean you’ve seen some plaid shirts.
Plan of Action: Try to breathe normally. Try to act normally. Try to figure out how your secret crush is at this party. Who did they come with and how are you connected to them???
Let us cross our fingers and pray to the Goddess that one of your good friends knows your secret crush well, and can give you all the vital information. (Ok there are actually only two pieces of information to know: IS YOUR SECRET CRUSH SINGLE AND WOULD THEY MAYBE GO FOR YOU?)
Maybe later, when you’ve pulled yourself together and mopped your lathered brow, you can try joining the conversational group your secret crush is in and making a devastatingly witty comment. Maybe you can even try…talking to them one-on-one. I know.
5. The Casual Fling You Never Thought You’d See Again
So it was Pride and it was late and you were really drunk and she was suddenly there on the dance floor, grinding up on you, and you made out and it was hot, and then you blew off your friends and went home with her and woke up in the middle of the night and puked as quietly as you could in her bathroom—it’s possible she didn’t even hear you.
In the morning you two snuggled briefly, were friendly with one another, and both pretended you had somewhere to be. You exchanged numbers as you parted. You said you’d call. You were brunching with your friends by 11.
You never called; you don’t know why.
That was six months ago.
Plan of Action: Go say hi if she sees you, dum-dum! Here is a nice person you hung out with intimately, however briefly, and you had a nice time and it was six months ago. There is no need to be awkward or horrified she’s there—she does have a life, somehow, that did not end when you didn’t call. She had your number, too—it is entirely possible that neither of you felt anything more than, “Yay, I got laid” about the whole encounter. In which case: maybe you have a new friend?
6. The Girl You’re Sort-of-Kind-Of? Dating? (Sometimes?)
She came! You weren’t sure if she would. She looks great tonight, what is that, glitter eyeliner? You guys haven’t seen each other in over a week, and you haven’t really been texting much, but maybe she’s busy? It’s the holidays etc.
You know, she’s really cute. You’re happy to see her and the sex was fine-veering-towards-pretty-good, but you don’t have anything nailed down, and it feels really casual, and sometimes she responds to your texts unbelievably late, like we’re talking three days late. But she’s here now! That might mean something! Your friends all like her too, but no one really knows what’s going on with you guys—especially you.
Plan of Action: Depends. Do you really like her? Do you want to move forward into something solid with her? Or…do you want to keep things in the casual, nebulous zone? Sometimes that’s nice.
Go talk to her, doi. Find out what she’s thinking for the night. Did she come here thinking of this party as a date? Were you hoping, if she came, that she’d go home with you? Or does she seem happy to flit among all the queers, talking with everyone and not really paying you much mind? Anything could be happening here.
7. Your Best Friend’s Shitty Ex Who Is Really Bad for Her
Surprise surprise—they are never going to go away. I know they’re unpredictably mood-swingy and teetering, if not cartwheeling the fuck over, the line of being an alcoholic, and that they made your best friend cry on a regular basis and that they once bashed the door of her car in by kicking it during a fight, but here they are again, cute curly hair and zip-up hoodie, sitting smiling on her couch and drinking PBR and greeting you like they’re not a psychotic motherfucker.
Plan of Action: Be cordial and keep your distance. You are not friends with this person, and you don’t have to be, but you don’t have to start something, either. Go find your best friend—does she even know her shitty ex is here?
If she doesn’t and freaks out, help her figure out how to get them out of her apartment. If she does know, give her your most scathing look of reproach, the one that burns like an untreated bladder infection, and remind her She Is Someone Who Is Worthy Of, and Deserves, Love, Respect, and Happiness. Then threaten to make a scene.
8. Your Distant-Past Ex
She fits you like an old glove. You spent years together, broke up horribly, and now…a lot of time has passed. Everyone’s moved on. You haven’t seen her in ages, but it’s almost like a relief to see her, this person who once knew you so well. You smile at her, wave, and discover something: what happened doesn’t matter anymore. You’d…you’d like to be friends. Real friends.
If this is maturity, you will take it, especially if immaturity meant creating a fake Twitter account to follow her and make trolly comments every time she talked about Doctor Who.
Plan of Action: You’ll know what to do, bbcakes. A big hug would probably help. Maybe she can even help you with the LANDMINES walking around the room, waiting to RUIN YOU at every turn. Hole up in a corner and talk shit together—it’s what we queers do best!
Happy holidays, faggettes, and remember:
Under no circumstances should you agree to play Spin the Bottle at this party.