Hooray It’s A Party! A Queer Holiday Horror Tale

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…


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:

Neat little groups. So tidy.

Neat little groups. So tidy.

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


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.

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Effing Dykes

Krista Burton writes the award-winning blog Effing Dykes and lives in Chicago. When she’s not writing, she travels for her job, tries not to stare openly at cute girls, and spends inordinate amounts of time in drugstore makeup aisles.

Krista has written 6 articles for us.



    Be still my beating heart. Lordy, this will come in handy over the holidays. We need a colour-coded chart to figure out who will tolerate being in a room with whom.

  2. You know, this really makes me wish I had gay parties to attend, however uncomfortable it might get.

  3. I literally screamed “EFFING DYKES POST!” in my thinly-walled apartment just now. You have made my life, yet again, much less stressful. Thank you.

    • I yelled this in my head because I’m at work but I’m glad other people have the same reaction as me.

  4. yay yay yay Effing Dykes on AS! my favorite thing!

    Unlike this party. This party is a particular circle of hell I’d like to avoid at all costs.

  5. Welp, this sounds horrible. Thankfully, as an introvert who lives in a smallish city without a ton of queers, this party will not happen to me.

  6. This will be useful now that my distant ex who is a lovely person and my not-so-good emotional trauma-ish ex are DATING.


  7. Minefield indeed … I think I’d be using the ‘Safe Space’ I recently made now and then during this holigay extravaganza.

  8. This is just… it’s eerily like my real life. Walk into any given room, and oh look! There’s six people I know from entirely different circles of my life, and some of them are talking to each other. Cause that’s not at all awkward. Nope.

  9. This was hilarious and horrifying.

    On a separate note, even though I know it was just a joke, I just have to say that if your friend’s terrible ex shows up, the best thing is probably not to be rude/threaten to make a scene. That will just isolate them and make them more likely to go back to the terrible ex. Be supportive and let your friend know you care about them and their happiness! /PSA

    • …Yeah, people have shitty exes (at one point, I’ve even been that shitty ex) and really, you kind of have to leave your buddy to her own devices. Don’t be shitty or rude to anyone. Just be neighborly. Solves a lot of potential problems. Also keep a handle on what you’re drinking. Queers + Alcohol = Tears and making out with people who you’d rather not.

  10. this is how i’ve felt for the last year.
    i’ve definitely said ‘how is it possible that *person* and *Person* and *PERSON* are all at this party when i’ve never seen all of them in the same space ever before’ at more than one gathering of queers.

    and then i stopped going out for a few months, because parties are supposed to be fun, not stressful… and then i thought maybe i need to start dating people from out of town/or who have only been here for 2 months or less.
    that will work, right?

  11. I wish I would have played spin the bottle AFTER I figured out my lady loving ways. Definitely not at a party like this though. Ohhhh no.

    • yes, every camp i get a few more “please don’t put me in the same cabin as [ex] [girl my ex hooked up with] [ex’s ex] [girl i liked who didn’t like me back] [ex’s girlfriend]” requests, i look forward to the volume of these requests increasing over time

  12. #4 is relevant to my life as I have a semi-secret crush on my friends new roommate and I am sure our paths will cross again at some point. I think the problem with crushes who are friends of your close friends are if it doesn’t work out it becomes somewhere between #5 and #1.

  13. why oh why did I have to choose engineering? I live in an (almost) all-boy town :(

    The only girls that go to the local gay bar are my ex-‘Girl I’m sort-of-kind-of dating’ and her new girlfriend.

    • Because engineering is wicked, and queer engineers are wicked squared (at least I would like to think we are)!

      Pro-tip for queer engineers in university – if your school does multi-disciplinary mixers (my school did engineering/nursing socials), then GO! That one queer girl in nursing who got dragged along will lock eyes with you, and then it’s on!

      • Queer engineers… engiqueers! How have I not thought of that before?

        Now I wish I could go back in time so I can come out while I’m in college and then throw a HoliGay party for my fellow EngiQueers.

  14. Seriously #7 has always been my biggest party problem, I am somehow able to rise above it when it’s my shitty ex, but when it’s somebody else’s shitty ex, all bets are off

    • Same! I recently heard of the misdeeds of a very dear friend’s (now ex) girlfriend. I went hoarse screaming to the person that told me “I CAN’T BELIEVE WE TRUSTED THAT BITCH! WE LEFT HER INTO OUR LIVES. I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE HER AT THE BEGINNING. SHE WILL NEVER DO BETTER THAN HER. IN FACT SHE WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR HER ANYWAY. I’VE ALWAYS KNOW SHE WAS POISON” This mad rant finished with the two of us literally screaming the word “VENDETTAAAAAA” at the top of our voices in the local gay bar. The very drunk baby-dyke sitting opposite us in our local gay club looked equal parts amused and terrified.

      So, needless to say, things will be interesting for my social circle this holigay season!

        • I know, it’s the worst. You’re looking at this person that you invited into your queer family, thinking “who the hell are you?” Eugh, humans are the worst sometimes.

  15. I saw Effing Dykes and I nearly lost mah shit. What the fuck is UP Krista?!?

    Also, this will be so useful this month, you don’t even know. I think I need to carry a copy of this around so when a friend comes to me with a crisis I can make them read it. Good to see Effing Dykes on Autostraddle again!

  16. i am a lonely queer who will not be attending any holigay parties this season (it is sad and weird living in a foreign country) but i loved this so much that i want to read fanfic about it

    • That made me cry. We can put our lonesomes together, and have a virtual holigay. If you want. D;

  17. I totally am the friend who throws this party and watches friends with a “knowingly, with a smug look on her face.”

    Sorry not sorryyyyy

    • Of course you are. If you can convey that look over facebook chat I can only imagine what it’s like in person!

  18. OMG KRISTA! ARE YOU HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL?! I LOVE YOU. Your blog was the first thing that got me over my internal homophobia. Nothing like straight up in your face lesbianness to jolt an unsuspecting baby gay awake. Did I mention I love you? I’ve been waiting since August… I am so glad for you and Autostraddle and oh, merry merry!

  19. I’ve lurked for a very long time and flirted with the idea of signing up and commenting. I always said, nope. They are so smart and funny, I’ll just sit here and enjoy/be intimidated/what have you. You may ask yourself, what convinced me otherwise? That would be me screeching “YAY EFFING DYKES” so loud the cat hightailed it into the bedroom. So YAY and hello!

  20. This was awesome. I’m never in this situation though,since I don’t know any queer people here. Maybe I’ll save it for future reference.

  21. This is every Good Friday party my friends and I have ever had. Its like a standing thing in our calendars, every year we have a Good Friday party, so inevitably, by the time the night comes around, a couple that both got invited has split, or somebody is kissing somebody’s ex . However, this line:

    “The party is always really fun and kind of insane, and people always go out for breakfast afterwards. It’s gonna be good.”

    reminded me that even with about eight years of accumulated dyke drama, it’s still totally worth it.

  22. this is both the funniest and most horrifying thing i have read in a long time. krista i feel like you have this genre on lock. bless you.

  23. On one hand I wish I had enough formerly involved queers to even make such a potentialy drama filled party possible, but then I remember that I can’t handle even the slightest levels of shit-just-got-realness without sprinting for the nearest exit and wishing I just went with the damn Netflix and wine.

  24. I am not sure how this would happen. Every time that I try to become involved in any type of queer community, it seems as though every one else is in that circle except me. Every one knows everyone and gives you the side-eye if they have never seen or heard of you or seen or heard of your friend, who your dating, etc.

  25. Thank god this article wasn’t as graphically terrifying as the fingernail article, I was worried when I saw horrortale in the title and that is was by Effing Dykes.

    If Best Friend’s Shitty Ex is there I’m watching that person like an eagle all night to make sure they don’t fuck with Best Friends.

  26. I am going to print out this article and staple it to my brain because this stuff happens literally every time I try do do something cool/slightly gay regardless of the season or upcoming holiday. Krista, thank you for blessing me with this knowledge

  27. I am really happy this is here because I super miss Effing Dykes. Also, even though I don’t have any Holigay parties to go to I feel like this could be relevant in any situation.

  28. This article should’ve been titled “The Cheat Sheet”, might be the first Autostraddle article I’ll actually print… who even does that anymore? Also, when #5 & #7 combine, it’s the worst. THE WORST.

  29. Dang, I’m having a holiday party tomorrow and am seriously hoping that there isn’t any awkward used-to-be-dating going on amongst my guests, unknown to me…

  30. I have hummed and hawwed about creating an account here for agggges and i just got so worked up reading this i had to finally just do it, hello new distraction!

    I dont forsee me attending a party like this over the holigay season but i am circulating it to people who will be, and i know they will be!! At least now, they will prepared!

    Yay! Lesbians!

    • YAY! so glad you gave in to what will be the best distraction of your holigay season & new year, i promise.

  31. As a super introvert, this is my worst nightmare. And admittedly happens quite often when my poly, queer, geek and kink circles meet and suddenly everyone I’ve ever fucked is at one event. So thank you, is what I’m saying. I needed this pep talk.

  32. I couldn’t not comment, it’s another Krista post yay!! Yet my joy is strangely conflicted with agonising horror as I’m pretty sure I’ve done the exact opposite of everything on this list. Fuck this drama, man…

  33. this is the story of my holidays. only instead of a city it’s a small-ass liberal arts college. oy. freaking. vey.

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