Once upon a time I was stressed out about being single on New Year’s Eve, the constant chatter heard throughout the office about where you’re going and who you’re going with. That was back in my 30’s and early 40’s when I felt I couldn’t escape the hype of the holiday. The peer pressure to have a fabulous and exciting time, and to share a starry-eyed kiss at midnight. But as I’ve aged, I’ve decided the hype of the holiday and the plans to be made or not, are in my control and that I should be the boss of my day and decide if I want to be coupled for the night or single. I’ve done the glitz, glam and a man. I’ve done the prefix, sequins, dancing and endless champagne. I’ve done the couples party, as a single, with friends. I’ve done the hosting for my friends and their children. And, I’ve done the family night with my children. They have all been wonderful.
A few years ago, I’d been incredibly busy with my children, work, volunteering and a few other projects, so I made the conscious decision to treat myself to a quiet evening at home. I told myself that ringing in the New Year flying solo isn’t the end of the world and I was set to embrace my evening. I enjoy cooking and planned to make a special meal just for me, something that I normally wouldn’t have the time to make and the kids would not appreciate.
On New Year’s Eve morning, prior to taking my son for a golf lesson, I made a quick run to the market and the liquor store to pick up champagne, hors d’oeuvres and dessert, as well as the ingredients I needed to cook my main course. I was all set.
The kids and I arrived at the pro shop a few minutes early. It was a good time to catch up on his lessons and make small talk with the pros and the pro-shop staff. My hair was in a messy ponytail atop my head, my makeup was definitely last night’s leftovers and my clothes were the first thing I grabbed — thankfully they matched. I looked as if I was headed to the gym.
As my son was doing his stroll through the shop, picking up clubs and trying them out, I had not heard this: “He’s quite the expert on these clubs.” In typical fashion, for me, I did not even turn my head to look or see where or who was speaking. I wasn’t interested in making small talk with a stranger. My son’s golf pro, felt differently. He introduced himself to the stranger and vise-versa, and then went on to tell the man about my son’s golf ability and keen knowledge of the equipment. He didn’t overshare, so it was nothing to squawk at from my point of view. The pro then introduced the stranger to me and did his best to engage us all in conversation. I still wanted nothing to do with it, but I was polite.
The chit-chat was innocuous, the guy’s uncle lived in the country club community and he was visiting from Chicago for a few days, including New Year’s Eve.
My son and the pro headed to the golf course while my daughter and I went upstairs to grab breakfast. My new “friend” from the pro-shop followed us. As we approached the top, he said my name, as I turned to acknowledge him; he proceeded to ask me if I would join him for dinner that evening, New Year’s Eve.
Not expecting an invitation to dinner let alone anything else, I think the look of surprise on my face said it all, OH SHIT! Here is some complete stranger asking me for dinner plans tonight on New Year’s Eve, when I had the perfect “create-your-own-celebration” planned. My mouth was frozen. No response was formulating in my brain. I was in shock.
I skirted the issue and told him that I was heading to the beach after picking up my son and if he was serious, he could meet us at the beach and I’d give him an answer then. In a million years, I never thought he would show up, but he did. He arrived in jeans and motorcycle boots with his helmet and a small duffle bag in hand with his change of clothes. He spent the afternoon with my family. He didn’t take advantage of the situation and stayed the appropriate amount of time. As he was packing up to leave, he asked me if he passed the test and if I would join him for dinner – he said he made a reservation in hopes I would say yes.
He must have had some assistance in the booking department because dinner was at a fabulous, hard- to-get-a-reservation, restaurant. The evening passed in a minute and before I knew it, everyone was counting down the seconds until midnight. Mr. New Year’s Eve kissed me on the lips and it was beyond wonderful. My body melted and I was seeing and feeling fireworks.
What started off to be single on New Year’s Eve turned out to be one of the best unplanned, spontaneous, evenings I can remember. We dated for several months thereafter. My children truly thought he would be the one I would marry. To this day, we are still friends and see each other periodically when we are in the same state at the same time.