There are a whole lot of dates around at Christmas, aren’t there? Those strange dried-up dates in the coffin-shaped boxes, that you only see at this time of year, with the odd little plastic fork which bends as soon as it sees a solid object. Then all those unmissable dates like the nativity play, in which your dear little offspring appear in the costume you spent the entire term slaving over, only to discover that the child next to them has been sick all down it just before they went on stage. Or the school concert, where your beloved child is that tiny little blob on the far left hand side that you can just see from your rock-hard bench at the back of the hall. Unless they are, in fact, the second tiny little dot on the far left hand side after all ….
Then there’s the last posting date, the delivery dates which the postman unaccountably misses, the expiry date on the Christmas pudding (why is it always 24th December?) …..
And, of course, there are actual date dates. It’s the party season, so it’s mandatory to turn up with someone living and breathing to the office Christmas party, unless you want to get cornered next to the photocopier by the creepy guy from Despatch, or, even worse, your boss, allowed out alone for one day a year.
Luckily, it seems as easy as pie to rustle up a date these days, even if you’re a single parent living in the women-only world which revolves around small children. I remember years ago being introduced to a couple and a friend whispering, ‘they met through a dating agency,’ and us both looking at the pair as though they had not just two, but possibly fourteen, heads. It was considered really, really odd way back then. Now, of course, everyone is out there online dating. When a friend’s second marriage broke up, he was posted on a dating site before he’d collected his clothes from the front lawn outside his soon-to-be ex-wife’s house. There are even specific parent dating sites, so you don’t have to go through that tricky moment of revelation when you come clean about having children, and worry that the other person is going to make their excuses and leave (that did actually happen to another friend. Good riddance, we all said).
Obviously stick to the safe dating rules – always meet in a public place, never give out your home address, make sure a friend knows where you are, and most important, run if you don’t like the look of them. Ooops, no, not that one – it’s rude. But be careful. And happy hunting. Who knows, you may find someone to stand under the mistletoe with this Christmas.