WARNING: Don’t bother reading any further if you’re looking for objective, even-handed information. This month we explore my least favorite time to be single, and no punches are being pulled. If the thought of raging neuroses parading themselves on the page makes you ill, turn back while there’s still time.

Oh boy, it’s holiday time, and you know what that means, don’t you? It’s time to Get Dumped! Yes, this is the traditional time of year for folks to shop for Next Year’s Model, and you may have Discontinued written all over you.

Be on the lookout for signs of the impending Holiday Dump. For several months your Significant Other has been imagining spending the season with you (including meeting your family), and the thought scares the shit out of them. Meanwhile, some new attractive option has been made apparent to them, and since they know very little about this person, the thought of intimate nights by the fire and a glorious New Year’s Eve seems more romantic than the idea of ringing in the new year with someone who drools in their sleep after too much champagne.

The mechanics of this process are simple. First, the Dumper suggests some kind of pleasant social activity, preferably something out of the ordinary or memorable. Then, the Dumpee gets his or her romantic pink slip on the Thursday night before the Dumper goes on a weekend jaunt to some cute bed-&-breakfast that you could never afford. Dumper has everything lined up for the season, and you get an early start on that heavy holiday drinking.

Here are some helpful hints in dealing with the Holiday Dump:

1.) Don’t do Christmas/Hannukah shopping. Until you fall asleep 12/24, you’re not really sure it’s going to happen, so why waste money on a nice present? Instead, wake up before they do and run to 7-11 and buy fruitcake, two dollar champagne and some Slim Jims. Not only will you save money, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll get dumped next year.

2.) Put the new Love Object on your Christmas-card list and send them an early one next year. Detail the exact sequence of events and the timeline, so that they can spend Halloween to New Year’s waiting for the ax to fall. If the two of them make it till next holiday season, s/he will blow it with paranoid statements like, “Oh, you want to go shop for a tree, do you? Is that so you can dump me as soon as I’ve done some strenuous labor like last year?”

3.) Have fun making up stories to tell the family about why you’re suddenly unattached. Tell different stories for different gatherings. At the office party, you found out that your enamored decided to resume his/her career in porn; with the folks, tell them about his/her involvement with a secret Iranian-arms-for-gay-sex deal. So, when you're watching It's A Wonderful Life on TV this year, and the final scene is playing, you'll have a different reason for blubbering like a baby. When everyone is smiles and hugs and singing "Auld Lang Syne" to Jimmy Stewart, you'll be crying over what's coming nine to ten months down the line. According to my Gaelic speaking friends (of whom I have heard "Auld Lang Syne" translates roughly into "Get ready for the shaft" Don't believe me? Just look at how the song starts: Should old acquaintance be forgot..."

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