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Question: I really hate being single at this time of year -- going to the office party alone, doing all these Christmas-y things by my lonesome. So I placed an online ad about two weeks ago with the headline: "Desperately seeking a holiday girlfriend," and said: "Single lesbian looking for a temp girlfriend for the Christmas holidays. No LTR sought." I was kind of surprised to get so many responses back, and even more surprised to find myself really liking this one woman, whom I've seen four times already (lots of holiday parties on my calendar!). Now, I'd like to keep her past her expiration date of 01-01-12. How do I switch gears?
Answer: In the not so distant past, some people actually told their friends (if not on the phone, then over a drink), that they were in the market for a "holiday girlfriend" (or boyfriend). The idea was after a year of meandering (... or was it philandering?), to find someone presentable enough to bring to holiday parties, the office shindig or (God forbid) a family get-together. These days, who needs real-life friends to help you find a girl toy when you can go online with the handy-dandy search term, "Holidate," and find any number of potential candidates.
By the way, in case you doubt that this is a real phenom, check out Urban Dictionary (the cheeky arbiter of what's hot and what's not):
Definition: "The person, of a romantic nature or not, that you take with you to mitigate the insanity of being near family during major cultural events that require a lot of gathering, eating and spending quality time together. Examples of such holidays include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter."
In a sentence: "My holidate, Chris, and I will be playing the 'racist and homophobic comments drinking game' when he comes home with me for Thanksgiving this year."
Not surprisingly, "the geighs" were -- as usual -- at the forefront of this latest chapter in dating (as we had been with speed dating and the use of GPS apps for hook-ups). Now, the straights are closely following in our footsteps and it's become big news. Just the other week two straight ladies' search for "seasonal boyfriends" garnered national attention (as though they were the pioneers!) as did this recent online ad placed by a hetero fellow:
"WANTED: HOLIDAY GIRLFRIEND. Let me be clear. I want a girlfriend. But, I don't really want a girlfriend. I just want one for the holidays."
Now you're breaking the cardinal rule of holidating by telling me that you want an extension on your contract because you actually like your new "girlfriend." In the same way that a "friends with benefits" relationship quickly jumps off the tracks the first time someone suggests spending Valentine's Day together, so, too, you're about to mess up a relationship built on purposeful emotional detachment and clear lines of disengagement. But you've got to take that God-awful ugly step, where you have to say, "I'm really into you." Horrors, right? Likely so, considering the circumstances under which you met.
So, before you ask her to go away with you for the MLK weekend (or even worse, Valentine's Day), do the nasty and 'fess up to your change of heart. Who knows -- perhaps, she, too, has shifted gears and sees you as more than a Santa baby. But if not, you may as well find out now -- and "break up" -- and then quickly repost your ad or call back some of your runners-up.
But I'd check my list twice this time, my friend, before you post. Make sure you really do want naughty and not nice.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever ventured into holidating? Is it a mistake or a great idea? Let us know in the comments section.
STEVEN PETROW is the author of Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners and can be found online at www.gaymanners.com. Got a question? Email him at email@example.com or contact him on Facebookand Twitter.