"It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid,
at Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade"
Okay so these lyrics refer to a terrible famine that afflicted Ethiopia and subsequent efforts to raise money to alleviate the terrible suffering that arose as a result.
Yet there's another famine affecting London. The trials of the lonely single traipsing the streets only noticing the distinct lack of dating gold to be found in the lanes and alleyways of the capital.
Now, I'm not of course comparing the terrible and deadly results of a drought to the apparent paucity of eligible amorists in the city. But there is a certain desperation that creeps in during the festive season. I'm not sure what it is, but it seems that the promise of gathering together with family and friends to share gifts and a general spirit of good will leads to an impending sense of desperation to find a mate, any mate, to share the promise of such good times.
Besides, as I wrote in a previous article, almost all of us wish to avoid the terrible attentions of a drunken grandmother trying desperately to match us up with our cousin because 'at least it stays in the family'.
In order to help you avoid such tribulations, or at the very least to avoid further use of a slightly crass and offensive analogy between famine and yuletide singledom, here are my top 10 Do's and Don'ts for finding a date by Christmas.
10) DO MEET PEOPLE!
Seriously. This may be a continual thread between all items in this list but unless you actually make a promise to yourself that yule (geddit?) actually go and meet people, the following tips are a little moot. Staying at home and whingeing that you'll never meet the right person will guarantee failure.
9) DON'T AVOID GOING TO COUPLES XMAS PARTIES
It may be patronising but at the same time you're worrying you'll be alone getting slowly drunk on eggnog and port, your friends are feeling sorry for you and busily digging out other single friends to bring along to their parties for you to meet. Do it. You've nothing to lose but hours of self-loathing masturbation. So nine is NOT SAYING NEIN TO MEETING ALREADY COUPLED FRIENDS.
8) DO COME TO A DATING EVENT
Preferably one of ours but it's up to you. There are loads of dating events in London for singles in the run up to Christmas. Lock & Key parties are a great night out beyond the staid 'standing in a pub with mates' routine. Make coming to a Lock & Key Party a Christmas treat for yourself. Even better, bring along a couple of single friends as a present to them. Cufflinks and scarves are so spinsterly. (Check out our Christmas party here BTW)
7) DON'T TRY AND PICK UP AT MIDNIGHT MASS
I was brought up as an Irish Catholic. Once I got old enough to drink, had solidly renounced the authority of the church and declared Christmas the ultimate capitalist scam I still found time to head to midnight mass with a bunch of mates after the pub. It's cultural innit. But picking up at church is a little like searching for a steak at a vegan buffet. Piety is only marginally more oppressive at Easter and guilt is particularly acute for Catholics.
6) DO GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
Seriously. The possibility of bumping into people is literally unavoidable. Just choose wisely where you shop. Locate a trendy but not too expensive store, pass hands over the bargain bucket and wish someone Merry Xmas. As you exchange Christmas pleasantries extend an invitation for a drop of mulled wine and Robert is your fathers brother with whom you will not have to share the left over cranberry sauce with while watching the Queen's speech.
5) DON'T WALK AROUND WITH A SPRIG OF MISTLETOE
Or worse still wear one of those ridiculous Santa hats with plastic mistletoe attached. It's not cute. It's not funny. It's scary. Particularly when you're drunk. You are not a jovial anti-scrooge type character getting into the festive spirit. You're a lonely pervert on day release.
4) DO JOIN A CAROL SINGING GROUP
Four words. Charlotte Church & Aled Jones. Okay so the latter is a little too saintly in a reindeer jumper Harry Secombe way, but people who sing in choirs appear so… innocent. And you know what they say. And if you don't know what they say, just watch Catholic Boys. WARNING: Make sure it's not a school choir.
3) DON'T REJOICE IN THE LORD ('S TAVERN OR WHATEVER YOUR NEAREST LOCAL IS CALLED)
I know there's a recession on and more and more people are opting for the local boozers Christmas party. But you'll still end up fending off the drunken attentions of a Pat Butcher look alike while watching the two local drug dealers fighting over territory at midnight. And even though many pubs now describe themselves as Gastro, it's more gastroenteritis than gastronomy.
2) DO VOLUNTEER AT A SOUP KICTHEN
I'm not being cynical. I genuinely believe in such philanthropic pursuits. We owe it to the poorest in our community to help them at this time of giving. Besides, your charitable goodness will not go unnoticed by the plethora of young professionals who also help out charities through their company's triple bottom line schemes. Now the rich tax dodging blood suckers are under the spotlight they've suddenly discovered the joys of giving and staff are often required to fulfil a number of charity hours each Christmas. And who has more time than most to do so? Single people.
1) DON'T USE THE OFFICE XMAS PARTY TO HOOK UP
This one is essential. The office xmas party is traditionally a time for folks to relax, blow off a little steam and generally embarrass themselves. However, you have to work with these people for another year.
Photocopying your backside is border-line acceptable. Trying to chat up the boss's wife/husband/PA is not. The former they are married to. The latter they're having an affair with. The trick is to either leave early - you made an appearance and your solidarity has been noted - or get so drunk you're incapable of making even drunken passes at people.
Besides, it's a well-known fact that the monotony of the office renders the dowdiest individual attractive. It's a trick. Do not be fooled. Unless you intend to quit in the New Year.
1A) DO COME TO AN EVENT
I know I've mentioned it before but I feel it's so important I thought I should mention it twice. We run amazing events. If you haven't been before or are not sure which to attend, check out these articles. I mean, you didn't seriously think I thought anything was better than what we do did you? We run singles events! And we have done very sucessfully for 10 years!
So book now and remember, if you don't meet anyone you're attracted to, you get another event free! That's our guarantee. If you come you'll certainly not be single by December 25th. Happy Christmas!
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS