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December 27, 2006

Happy New Year, bitches

Retrospective: Julia's New Year's Hats

2004: Chicago


2005: New York


2006: Vegas


This year I'll be in Cape Town, which is fantastic, obviously, except for the ratio of days shoved into an economy seat to days in actual location (like 18:1).  But that's what you get for not having friends with private jets.  I'll be gone until January 4th (I know, you're devastated), so until then enjoy last year's dating resolutions.

This years resolutions still TK.  Any suggestions?

December 25, 2006

Bright Lights, Small Shih-Tzu



Also file under: Fun Ways to Sorta Torture Your Dog During the Holidays

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, Baby

Lilly and I wish you a very Merry Christmas

December 21, 2006

DONATE to a Poor, Beleaguered Soon-to-be-Homeless Dating Columnist



Haven't yet given to a charity this Christmas?  Consider me.

Reasons You Should Donate:
  • So I don't have to run ugly ads.
  • Because I pretty much qualify for food stamps.
  • So I don't have to start selling drugs.
  • Because as of January, I'm officially homeless.
  • So I can one day afford health insurance.
  • Because I'm not really in the mood to "write a book."

And yes, I got the idea from my friend Jessica Cutler, who's always maintained a button on her site with the tag: "Donate so I can Buy Slutty Clothes and Drugs!"  When I asked her a few months ago if people ACTUALLY sent money, she said "yes - but they sometimes want my panties too."  Um ... sounds pretty reasonable to me.  If anyone wants my panties, we can make a deal.  But you're not taking the comfortable ones.

(Update: Um, you do know that, like most things on this blog, I'm kidding.  Right?  Kidding.  Well, not about the donating part.  But about the panty selling.  That's a joke.)

Tonight, FoxNews, 9 pm



I'll be on Hannity & Colmes tonight examining the douchebaggery of Donald Trump in the Trump vs. Rosie War of Moral Compasses.

Basically, my point will be this: Donald Trump is a bloviating 'tard, and arguing back with a personalized version of the "Yo momma's so fat" insult is just fucking lame.  "You're so fat, my friends could steal your girlfriend!"  Oooh!!!  I'm sure Rosie's really worried now, Donald!

UPDATE:  Watch an (edited) version of my comments here
 

December 20, 2006

Day 7: *FINAL* Holiday Party Crash - Wenner Media


Jann's tree has mag covers - mine has condoms.  To each his own.

I've officially completed my party-crashing duties and am now safely ensconced in my Chicago childhood home for a week, forced to decorate trees and walk dogs and such.  Fine.  I don't care what I have to do, as long as it doesn't involve A) wearing makeup B) talking to strangers C) flirting with bouncers or D) waking up at 6:30 am.  Okay, fine.  waking up at any point in the AM ...

Read the final party crash below, or on New York mag's website.

NO BAND, LITTLE BOOZE, BUT FOOD (FOR MUNCHIES?) AT WENNER PARTY

There was one last big blowout to catch before Holiday Party Season 2006 wound down: The annual Wenner Media extravaganza. With the bank busted on Rolling Stone's 1,000th-issue celebration in May, this year's holiday gathering was less glitzy in the past, with no big-name musical act slated to perform. But that didn't stop indefatigable party reporter Julia Allison. Her wrap-up — her final wrap-up of the season — is after the jump.

It was easy to find Ultra, the West Side club hosting the Wenner Media holiday party, last night: It was the bar with the 30-foot Christmas tree out front made up entirely of Wenner covers. Inside, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, and Men's Journal staffers were packed more tightly than at any holiday party we'd seen. With movement almost impossible and gridlock around the lone bar, some guests got cranky. "It doesn't feel like a holiday party," said one Rolling Stoner. It was loud, too, though we liked the music. (George Michael and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"? Did Jann approve of this playlist?). Photographers circled the room, and the picture-crazy crowd was more than happy to pose, whipping out their own cameras for additional shots, too — a behavior we did not see at any other party and for which we squarely blame Us Weekly. (Magazine editors — they're just like us!)

At one point bubbles — Christmas bubbles? — fell from the ceiling, but staffers were unimpressed. "This sucks," grumbled a guy who said he'd been at "hundreds" of Wenner parties. "Maroon 5 played one year." It seems the recent blowout 1,000th-issue bash left this party's budget lower than usual. "We only had money for food, basically," an event producer explained. It was good food, though: kabobs of various sorts; a sushi stand; and a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, strawberries, and Rice Krispies Treats. The liquor selection was apparently less impressive. "I asked for a single-malt scotch," kvetched one Rolling Stone editor. "I got Maker's Mark." (Judging by the sweet smell wafting from the VIP room, booze may not have been the big shots' inebriant of choice.) Even so, revelers looked happy. "This is ten times better than last year," said one. "Instead of congregating in cliques, people have to actually talk to each other." Jann and Janice were MIA — sick, said one guest; on vacation, said another — so we had to console ourselves with the "semi-credible rumor" that Justin Timberlake would attend. He never showed — and so he missed the gingerbread men frosted with "Wenner Media" given to guests on their way out. His loss.

Verdict: Food: 4; drink: 3.5; venue: 4 (if you like packed crowds; if not: 3); debauchery: 3.5; exclusivity: 3.5

December 19, 2006

Day 6: Holiday Party Crash - Daily News and Star Magazine



I couldn't be bothered to put on makeup last night, so there will be no photographs posted of the actual evening (just a Slutty Santa stock photo, done up Perez Hilton style).  I'm in the home stretch of holiday party crashes, and suffice it to say, I'm very close to NEVER WANTING TO GO TO A PARTY EVER AGAIN.

In the meantime, enjoy my reviews of last night below, and on New York mag's website.

EATING - AND EATING! - WITH THE 'DAILY NEWS'; DRINKING AND DANCING WITH 'STAR'

With less than a week left till Christmas, company-holiday-party season is nearing its end. But for a last few fabulous nights, it keeps going strong — and naturally crasher extraordinaire Julia Allison is there. Last night she hit the Daily News do at the Copa and the Star shindig at Dirty Disco. Which one had a face-painter? Which one had only caffeinated vodka? Julia's reports await.

• The immense West Side dance club Copacabana seemed an odd choice for the employees-only Daily News holiday party. Did they really need that much space? Would they really use the enormous dance floor? Was someone really under the impression it was hip? ("His name was Morty; he was a mogul …"?) Actually, in the newspaper biz, one thing is most important: proximity to work. "In case we have to crawl back afterward," a Newsie explained. Neither Rush nor Molloy was sighted, nor editor-in-chief Martin Dunn — perhaps they'd already crawled back — but a 200-strong gang happily devoured dinner at several dozen tables while others washed down their meals by the large bar. A fedora-wearing face-painter made his rounds; only one employee — from the Brooklyn bureau — took him up on it, though that was one more than we'd have guessed. Later, as the lights were dimmed and the music turned up, a brave handful actually started dancing. "I'm not Latin, but I feel Latin being here," said one. We didn't feel Latin. We felt like we were at a bar mitzvah with old people and good food. Really good food. Did we mention the food? It was the best we've seen in our holiday-party-crash career: Three massive buffets held grilled veggies, couscous, chicken, lamb chops, fish, steak, and shrimp. And the desserts! Chocolate cake, apple pie, carrot cake, a selection of fruit — raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple — and a sundae stand. Columnist Michael Daly was chewing roast pork alongside colleague Denis Hamill. How's the party? "There's an old saying," yelled Hamill, still chewing his pork. "If it ain't jaded, it ain't journalism." Um, okay. Any favorite part? "The applesauce." He didn't so much as smile.
Verdict: Food: 5; drink: 3.5; venue: 3; debauchery: 3; exclusivity: 3.5

• Down on 14th Street, at Dirty Disco, we strolled easily past the velvet rope and bouncer and into Star magazine's party. At one point more than 200 people had crowded inside, we were told, but by 9:30 the party was clearly winding down, with just a few stragglers still dancing on tables to blasting hip-hop. (As we entered, it was "Promiscuous Girl." Hmm. Then again, the invite featured a winking, Santa-hatted Janice Dickinson.) Yelling was the only possible method of communication, and so adorable deputy New York bureau chief David Caplan had lost his voice — if not his holiday spirit — by the time we arrived. There were specialty drinks — "Star martinis," featuring caffeinated vodka — but nothing else for free at the bar, to not a few guests' chagrin.) There was also no food, so intoxication levels were high. Who was invited? Star employees, of course, but also: "Basically there was a list of haves and have-nots," explained Caplan, giggling. "I only wanted the haves." (See "high intoxication levels" above.) Apparently this included famous party-crasher Shaggy, who gave us some advice: "Just put one foot after the other." Britney Gastineau had arrived, clad in "full-on fur," toured around the party, took photos, and exited to meet Jonathan Cheban, waiting outside in a car. Bonnie Fuller, too, had been and left. Did she dance? "Bonnie was very sensible," Caplan said diplomatically. Fellow editor Jon Auerbach was less cautious. "Bonnie was crazy," he said, "doing the robot and the running man. She and Joe [Dolce] did the lambada!" He was also probably pulling our leg.
Verdict: Food: 0; drink: 4 (if you really like caffeinated vodka; if not: 1); venue: 3.5; debauchery: 3.5; exclusivity: 3.5

Today, Fox News, 11:35 am. Discussing Issues of Importance to The People. And by "The People" We Mean, No People.


C'mon, is this the type of girl who would party too hard?  Oh.  Right.

Will be on FoxNews today at 11:35 discussing the pressing issue of WILL MISS USA BE DE-THRONED FOR DRINKING AND MAKING OUT WITH OTHER HOT GIRLS???

The whole thing's been keeping me up nights, so I'm glad that an opportunity has presented itself to just get my real thoughts and feelings out.  Like, for example, "Who the fuck cares?"

December 18, 2006

Day 5: Holiday Party Crash - News Corp
(A Very Murdoch Xmas!)



While you were at your classy upper east side / swanky downtown / anywhere but Times Square holiday celebrations, I was hanging out with 8,000 News Corp proletariat.  And the Hilton security guard who snuck me in, then wrote me an email saying he was glad he met me, but that he realized he was "just one of your pawns in your pursuit for gossip."  Busted.  I would feel guilty, except that he was the only thing standing between me getting in, nabbing some quotes, and then collapsing into bed after going to EIGHTEEN PARTIES IN ONE WEEK, and well, I really freaking wanted to sleep.

Read complete review below, or on New York mag's website.

RUPERT MURDOCH WISHES YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY HOLIDAY

There's a general rule of thumb that work events are always held on Monday through Thursday nights, because Fridays are reserved for real friends or for family. Who could flout that rule? Rupert Murdoch, of course, who held the annual holiday party — and it's called a holiday party, not a Christmas party, Bill O'Reilly — for all New York News Corporation employees Friday night. It's a huge event, for everyone from HarperCollins editors to Fox 5 local-news guys to 20th Century Fox PR people to Fox News ideologues to all their associated sales teams and managerial staffs and all that. Naturally, Julia Allison was there, and after the jump she takes you on a tour of Rupert's world, with stops for frat-party booze and trans-fatty food. Yum!

We're not sure what we were expecting at News Corp.'s annual extravaganza for 6,000 of Rupert Murdoch's favorite employees (plus their plus ones), but it wasn't the bizarre menagerie that greeted us at the Sixth Avenue Hilton Friday night. The invite — not that we actually had one of our own — promised "a trip around the News Corp world without leaving New York City." How, uh, clever? We flirted our way past a security guard, arriving at the almost three floors taken over by what we can only say was the randomest party we've ever been to. Each ballroom was decorated to represent a continent, and each attempt was almost entirely unsuccessful. There was Australia, represented by a lifeguard. There was Asia, with video games. There was Africa — wait. Where was Africa? "It's an American, Republican, Fox view of the world," laughed one guest. "No Africa." Far away from hoi polloi, from a VIP section in the balcony above "Europe," Murdoch gave a brief toast, shook a few hands, then made himself scarce. Loaded onto a 50-foot buffet was the nastiest food we'd ever seen — mini hot dogs, fried chicken, meatloaf-burger patties reminiscent of White Castle, and something identified as Sheppard's pie. (As in, Shep Smith? Was that the joke? Ugh.) The bars — and there were many — held your typical frat-party liquor: Bacardi, Jack, something with orange juice. "In our defense," said one News Corper, "it's really hard to plan a party for between six and twelve thousand people." We saw his point. "And if you think about it, it's a pretty economical way to thank people." Ah, yes, thank the plebes! And, to be sure, although we searched for hours, we saw absolutely no boldfaced names — no on-air talent, no major execs. (Later, though, we were informed that HarperCollins chief Jane Freidman was there, freshly de-Regan'd and merrily singing karaoke with her colleagues.) When the clock struck eleven, the party was instantly disassembled. Merry Christmas, from Rupe.

Verdict:
Food: 3 (if you like trans fats; if not: .5); drink: 2; venue: 2; debauchery: 3; exclusivity: 2.

December 15, 2006

Day 4: Holiday Party Crash - Gawker and NY Observer.
Try to Contain Your Schadenfreude.

ughghhhhhhh ... no moreeeee media partiessss

***LAST NIGHT'S REVIEWS***

Will post the reviews for last night's events when I get around to writing them, sometime between now and 10 am.
   In the meantime, enjoy a little good-natured three am bitching.  And no, I haven't had anything to drink.   (Hmm ... maybe that's the problem??)

3 Reasons I Do Not Like Attempting to Interview Other Reporters at their Holiday Parties:
  1. No one ever wants to be quoted, which I find generally inexplicable.  It's a freaking holiday party, not an expose on your recent divorce.  WTF?  fuckers.
  2. Those who do talk, proceed to narrate for what feels like hours, only to conclude with "it was a great party."  AWESOME.  YOU REALLY THINK I'M GOING TO USE THAT?  IT'S A RETARDED QUOTE AND YOU KNOW IT.  again, fuckers.
  3. The final few - those who don't want to be quoted, but still want to talk - just try to interview you back.  I almost always fall for this trick, but I'm wising up.  See expletive in previous two points.
At least Nick Denton consented to a slutty-santa photo at his gawk-festivus last night.  Note my adoring gaze.  In general, those are reserved for gift-wielding boyfriends or people who defend my right to be an (amusing) publicity whore.  Denton is most definitely the latter.  Awww.

So I've got that going for me ....  Which is nice.



December 14, 2006

Day 3 (Part B): Holiday Party Crash - Forbes Life


Forbes Life President Bob Forbes, Publisher Jack Laschever, Boss Editor Chris Buckley and ... me

EGGNOG WITH FORBES LIFE
The Forbes company likes its parties on home turf.  Whether that turf is the yacht, the townhouse, or their venerated Forbes building, if they’re hosting a party, it’s probably going to be at one of them.  So when Forbes Life, the “lifestyle supplement” with glossy ad pages headed by the cheerfully sardonic editor in chief Christopher Buckley, invited us to crash its holiday celebration last night, we weren’t surprised to read “60 5th Avenue.”  And when we walked up to the offices, it seemed incredibly appropriate that, instead of a Christmas tree, there sat a shiny white Rolls Royce with an enormous red bow.  Merry Christmas from the Capitalist Tools!

Inside the garland-and-tinsel-laden lobby, the 12 person editorial staff mingled with the business side, and both chatted up the advertisers.  (Unlike most magazine’s holiday parties, they were warmly – shrewdly? – invited to join in the festivities.)  A four-person brass band played from the stairwell, and the two front rooms held upwards of 60 guests, as well as a silent auction to benefit the Salvation Army, an ornament engraver, and a magician who did tricks with a dollar bill (of course).  The building’s revolving doors were shut off to hold a makeshift bar, and the red-tablecloth’d buffet looked like a slightly bigger version of your family holiday party – carrot & celery sticks with dip, crackers & cheese, a ham, and a big tray of red and green sprinkled Xmas cookies.  We almost missed the sushi station with fresh sashimi and California rolls because we were too busy staring at the eggnog.  It was the first party we’ve been to that actually had eggnog, although it didn’t look like anyone’s actually sampled it.  “I’m told it sits like a bowling ball in your stomach,” confided associate editor Taylor Antrim.  “This is my third Xmas party and I’ve never had it.”  Buckley thinks he knows why. “We put polonium 210 in there.”

Sartorially displaying holiday cheer with his bright red Christmas-tree tie, Buckley admitted that he’s been doing this whole “Forbes holiday party thing” for a while, and, he told us, “If I die tomorrow I want it on my tombstone: ‘I made it through 16 consecutive Forbes Christmas parties in the temple of capitalism.’  That’s enough for a posthumous bonus!”  “This party is very calm,” said one staffer who we’ll refrain from naming, “The one that’s really good is facilities – security, kitchen, IT.  It was on Monday and apparently it was WILD.”  “You really can’t compare it to other outside parties,” explained senior editor Thomas Jackson.  “You have to compare it to other FORBES parties. This is like a house party – it’s a known quantity.”

Just then we spotted Bob Forbes, President of Forbes Life (and brother of Steve and Tim and Chris).  So, we asked him, why choose to have the party here instead of … “going to a really cool hotel in Singapore?” the eavesdropping Buckley interjected.  “No,” we insisted, turning back to Forbes.  “Instead of, you know, another space?  Here.  In New York.”  “Well,” said Forbes, pretending to muse philosophically, “the reason is very simple: Scottish thrift.”  Ah.  That explains the Rolls!  We snagged a gift bag on our way out – Amstel light glass, a Thank You for Smoking DVD, and Armani code cologne.  Sometimes we love capitalism.

Verdict: Food: 2.5; Drink: 3 (If you like eggnog: 3.5); Venue: 2.5 (If you don’t work there: 3.5); Debauchery: 1.5; Exclusivity: 2

Day 3 (Part A): Holiday Party Crash - Portfolio and Marc Jacobs

Four parties, five hours of sleep and $40.50 in cab fare later, I'm exhausted.  is this how Tinsley Mortimer feels?  ugh.  Actually, she probaby has a driver, so I'm guessing not.

Anyway, here's a recount of Evening 3 of my holiday party crashing ... (the Forbes Life write up was rejected as "not important enough" Read the review here! )

Re: the Marc Jacobs fete, really, nothing I write can possibly describe it.  I spotted Mel Rose from America’s Top Model, who gushed, “this party is insane - a picture is worth a million words.”  If she fucked up that axiom on purpose, she had every justification.  In this case, I think she's right.  Witness the below photo:


Lita Austin and Jasmine Taylor, friends of Jacobs' and fundraisers for an AIDS charity

Damn.

December 13, 2006

Day 2: Holiday Party Crash - Allure and The New Yorker, Gravitas-Heavy Edition. Okay, Except Allure.


For Day 2 of my Holiday Party Crash, I actually smuggled myself into The New Yorker bash over in Soho.  Didn't even bother to try to get in at Allure at Double Seven; I'd rather spy on Gladwell and harass the poor kid who has to sort through 5,000 reader cartoon captions every week (hi Zach!)

You can read the account of last night's crash here, or below ...

One part I left out (for their sake) - asking two inebriated New Yorker cartoonists, "Are you comedians who can draw or artists who can make jokes?"  Their answer?  “We’re losers who can drink,” one cackled, and both dissolved into giggles.  Uh ... you said it, not me.

*******

SUSHI WITH THE NEW YORKER, PAD THAI WITH ALLURE

Another December night in New York, another round of company Christmas parties. Last night our roving party reporter Julia Allison hit The New Yorker's annual fête — where she was allowed inside! — and Allure's far more subdued affair. After the jump, her reviews, complete with our four-category, scale-of-1-to-5, vaguely Zagatian party ratings. (Spoiler: The New Yorker won.)

The New Yorker threw its annual holiday party at Lure Fishbar in Soho last night, and the venue was the perfect size — just crowded enough to feel celebratory but not crowded enough to suffocate. Tweed-attired literati mixed with young-Turk assistants, long-serving editors, perky ad reps, and loopy cartoonists, and everyone was in extremely high spirits, perhaps buoyed by the more-than-liberal flow of alcohol (or perhaps by the two separate oyster and sushi bars). "It's the only event the entire year where advertising and editorial get together in the same room," one guy noted. "We don't have much to say to each other." We spotted Malcolm Gladwell and his hair from across the room; he was dressed in a black suit and gray striped tie and clutching a glass of water. How did this party compare to his other holiday events? "I have nothing intelligent to say," he insisted. We were skeptical. "I haven't had anything to drink yet." Two convivial cartoonists who clearly had sat howling with laughter at a banquette. What would a cartoon of the party look like? "Beetle Bailey lying down, with Xs over his eyes and champagne bubbles from his lips," said one. Both dissolved into giggles. Anything noteworthy about the party? "I tried the clam chowder, but I noticed that as I ate the final clam, it turned to Wrigley's Spearmint gum," said the other. Talking to New Yorker cartoonists is like reading a New Yorker cartoon: It can be difficult to figure out what the joke is. One lanky guest said he'd just confessed his admiration to Lillian Ross. "She said, 'Do you? Because the last person who said that spilled an entire beer on me.'" The party's scheduled 10 p.m. end came and went, and still they partied on. "It's not like the dinner dances they used to have at the Plaza," sniffed a 30-year vet. "But it's pretty good."
Verdict: Food: 5 (if you like raw fish; if not: 1); drink: 5; venue: 3.5; debauchery: 4.5 (for nerdy types; for anyone else: 2); exclusivity: 4

• Over in the meatpacking district, beauty-tip loving Allure employees mixed at Double Seven, the same club that will host brother pub GQ later this week. (Did Condé — uncharacteristically — go for a volume discount?) With under a hundred guests — "80 percent women, 18 percent gays, and 2 percent me," said one apparently straight male guest — and strictly limited to employees, very little rambunctious behavior ensued. Indeed, some groused that it wasn't enough of a "scene." "It was a typical meatpacking-district, loungy bar, very dark," one Nastie said. "It wasn't crowded, and there were no celebrities — really just people who work at the mag." Editor-in-chief Linda Wells, perfectly blonde and perfectly dressed, held court while her staffers, apparently "not drinking much," munched on pad Thai and beef salad served in boxes with chopsticks. "It was very sedate, very mellow," said a guest. "Although it was a schmooze fest." Aren't they all?
Verdict: Food: 3.5; drink: 3; venue: 2.5; debauchery: 1; exclusivity: 3.5

December 12, 2006

Day 1: Holiday Party Crash Stand-Outside-And- Harass-Guests - Hearst, Vogue, Ken Sunshine PR

So, it was my bright idea this year to do Holiday Party Crashes for New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer.  (Last night's parties: Hearst, Vogue, and Ken Sunshine PR.)

My thought process was more or less like this:

I like parties.
I like the holidays.
I like New York magazine.
Therefore, I would like to write about holiday parties for New York magazine.

What I failed to realize was:

I would not be invited to (most of) these parties.

Oh well.  It wasn't cold, so skulking outside for quotes produced only mild discomfort.  At Hearst people were nice enough to talk, although "How was the party?" invariably ensured a host of really bland platitudes like "it was fun!"  Great.  You had a good time.  I'm really happy for you.  Now tell me who you schtupped in the bathroom after one too many white cranberry cosmos.

Vogue, on the other hand, was like The Cult of the Cigarette Smoking Bitches.  I've been treated pretty rudely before, but never, ever, have I seen anything like that.  (And I wasn't even wearing my Slutty Santa suit!)  They didn't deign to acknowledge my presence with EYE CONTACT, let alone and "I'm so sorry" or "Anna Wintour will skin my alive like her minks if I talk to you."  Even for the type of women bitches drawn to Vogue, that level of insolence takes serious practice.

In other news, the PETA people were really nice.  Sigh.

December 11, 2006

Holiday Special Part 1 - Gifts That Really Really Suck


Lilly and Langdon are known for their astoundingly bad gifts, like dead birds and chipmunks.
Well, only one chipmunk.  But it stood out.

Feeling badly about getting a framed photo of Jon Stewart for Chanukah?  From your boyfriend??  At least no one got you a freaking deer head.  See today's AM New York article about really shit xmas gifts, below.

Also, please do not send me stuffed animals of The Clap.  No matter how funny you may find it.

HOLIDAY GIFTS GONE TERRIBLY WRONG
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
DECEMBER 11, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON

One Christmas, almost a decade ago, my then-18-year-old-boyfriend surprised me with a large, unwieldy package.  Enthusiastically I tore off the crudely taped snowman wrapping paper and giant red bow to reveal … a mounted deer head.  Yes.  You read that correctly: A Mounted Deer Head.

Did I mention I was President of my high school’s Animal Protection Club?

So, yeah, that present took first place in my Top 10 Most Inexplicable and Heinous Gifts of All Time, a list which also includes the war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” a vacuum cleaner, a dentist appointment, and yes, a cardboard dolphin mobile.

Although one almost expects disappointingly banal gifts from grandmothers (socks … again?  Wow.  Thanks!), we justifiably raise the bar for our significant others.  In other words, a war novel from a boyfriend does not a romantic holiday make.

There are worse gifts, of course.  Like the one broker Chris Cullen, 28, got from the girl he started seeing “two days” before Christmas last year.

“I replied ‘thanks, but I got you nothing,’” he says.  “I would also like to point out that the gift she gave me was shoplifted.  I realized this while trying to put the shirts on and the security tag almost ripped off my nipple.”

Unsurprisingly, “that relationship ended quite badly.”

And speaking of badly-ended relationships, try the gift Gridskipper blogger Joshua Stein sent his ex after she not-so-gracefully dumped him this year, just before the holidays: an iPod with 600 photos of them together, along with one uplifting song called “Tears of Rage.”  Adding to the cheer, Stein had it laser engraved, “You’ve made a terrible mistake.”  Just proving there’s more than one way to say “Merry Christmas, bitch!”

Of course, sometimes it’s the gift YOU give that stinks.

Angela Casolaro, 22, wanted to get her boyfriend, “a total guy’s guy” who “loves football, gambling, cars, and meat,” something "special but not overboard.”

After deciding to buy him a personalized teeshirt, she wracked her brain for days about the appropriate slogan, first considering “Meat Loving Frat Boy,” then reconsidering (“I was told by several friends that a shirt like that would NOT go over well,” Casolaro said, “I didn't really get why not – I thought it was cute!!”)   She settled for an olive green tee with fuzzy blue letters that read: “I Heart Meat.”

She wasn’t sure that was enough.

“I wanted something more flippant,” she explained, “so I got him a stuffed animal of The Clap.  Like the STD.  He’s a Chemistry person, so I thought it was fitting and sort of funny.”

It didn’t really work out as she had hoped.

“Suffice it to say, he’s never worn the shirt, the Clap sits in a drawer, and I was mortified when I actually had to give it to him.  It was the weirdest gift I've ever given, and I don't know WHAT I was thinking,” she said, still cringing over the memory.

“He got me white tulips and wine.  At least one of us is normal."

December 08, 2006

SSAD Sack

SINGLE & SSAD DURING THE HOLIDAYS
AM NEW YORK – “THE DATING LIFE”
DECEMBER 4, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON

This being my first holiday season spent single in several years, a thought occurred to me as I listened to Christmas music sans significant other last weekend.  The thought was: “this sucks.”

I really liked the idea of being single when I had it back in August.  Going on first dates (even unmitigated bombs) amused me; there was no pressure to have a late summer or early fall evening filled entirely with love.  Lust – or a good war story (“And then he humped my leg!  No.  Seriously.”) – would suffice.

But the same leg humping that was so entertaining in September is just depressing in December.

Why?  SSAD – Single Seasonal Affect Disorder, of course.  In my haste to trumpet the joys of bachelorette-hood, I forgot all about it.  You know, that ineffable casual-dating malaise that begins just in time for Thanksgiving and lasts through the New Years hangover (at least).

You feel it when you buy a wreath – alone – or a tree – alone – or venture bravely down fifth avenue on Black Friday – alone.  You feel it when you go to holiday parties minus one.  You feel it when you think of your New Years plans.  Or lack thereof.

It’s not that it’s harder to find dates.  It isn’t (hello, holiday parties?).  But really, who wants to ‘grab sushi after’ with some random guy when it’s (supposed to be) snowing and you’re (supposed to be) snuggled with your true love under a blanket and he’s (supposed to be) thinking of ways to take you ice-skating or egg-nogging or Rockefeller-tree-gazing?  (Or, er, diamond-ring-buying?)

Sushi suddenly seems anticlimactic.  Unseasonable, really.

And then there’s the Holiday Hibernation, a theory espoused by my friend Christine.  “If you’re single on Thanksgiving, you’ll be single through Valentine’s Day,” she says.  “If you’ve got someone to curl up with at Thanksgiving, you’ll hold on to them through February.   Of course, then Spring Fever sets in and who knows?”

Great.  So if you’re sans S.O. and SSAD now, get used to it.

In spite of that, many people insist there are upshots to avoiding serious relationships during the holidays.

“That’s one less person you have to worry about getting a goddamn present for!” says Jennifer Chick, 23, a paralegal.

Good point.  Of course, that’s only if you’ve gone on a date or two.  What if you’ve gone on four dates – do you get a present then?  Send a card?  Dress up in a Sexy Santa Bikini Suit and do holiday-themed role play?  Do you invite them to Christmas dinner?  What are the RULES??

Actually, I think I can answer those: yes (a small one), if you want, absolutely, no and as far as the “rules” of holiday dating go, see below.

“One rule and one rule only, derived from bitter experience,” writes college professor Jeremy Mayer in an email message, “Do not, under any circumstances, short of physical abuse or voting Republican, break up with someone on Dec 31st.  MUCH better to break up on January 3rd, or even Jan1st, as some sort of twisted New Year's Resolution (‘Sorry, I resolved to stop dating psycho hose beasts’).”

If you haven’t yet entered into such a relationship (with psycho hose beasts or anyone else), Sean Smith, 39, has an idea.

“There should be a “New Relationship” time requirement where it’s understood that ‘hey, we just met and I really like you so please don’t be offended but let’s have a holiday ‘time out’ and I’ll see you on New Year’s Eve’… How’s that?”

That, my dear Sean, would probably not go over well with the “Santa, baby” crooning ladies.

Those are the types of ladies another Sean, Sean Evans, 25, seems to date.  “You always end up with someone who thinks the relationship has become more serious than you do,” he explains via email.  “This leaves you in a lovely predicament as she will inevitably invite you home to her house for the holiday, or out to dinner with her parents when they come to the city.  Then you stand there, with your mouth slightly agape, quickly trying to come up with an excuse to bow out.”

What sorts of excuses work in this situation?

“I’ve used such past beauties as ‘My mom needs help stuffing the turkey so I have to go home’ or ‘My dog has separation anxiety and cannot be alone for that long’ and my personal favorite: "What?  And miss the 24 straight hours of ‘A Christmas Story’ on TNT?  I think not, woman.”

Of course, some people think there’s nothing that makes the season brighter than a little casual holiday sex – enough sex to make the SSAD go away, perhaps.

“The holidays are gruesomely bleak and the only thing that can pick them up is a deliciously regrettable holiday hook-up,” says writer Jim Behrle.  “They expire in early 2007, no need for holiday gifts, and love should be made at least once during Snoopy’s Christmas or It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Hmm.  You could even make a game of it.  You know, “every time a bell rings …”

Merry Christmas, everyone, indeed.

December 07, 2006

Back.

  • Horsebacking riding on Dominican Republic beach in bikini = good.
  • Bruises covering my butt and thighs from galloping frantically past startled tourists = bad.
  • Not ever posting the photos I took on the ATV / topless sunbathing = priceless just a smart all-around idea.
 

December 02, 2006

Fuck It, I'm Outta Herrrrre.

On Vacation Pink.jpg

I'm fleeing the country for my first vacation since last January.  Yes, LAST JANUARY.  Is it possible a dating columnist works harder than some investment bankers?

No.  But it's possible she's too poor to go on vacation that doesn't involve the subway and/or parents shelling out frequent flier miles to Chicago.  And we all know how much of a vacation Chicago is.  Um ... right.

Anyway.  I'll be back on Wednesday night.  Don't wait up.