FRESH YARN presents:

One Single Christmas
By Jenny Bicks


If you're single, Christmas is a really good time to kill yourself. At least, that's what the statistics say. Apparently us single people can get through the year coasting on our meager accomplishments and lying to ourselves about our happiness until Thanksgiving, where the first wave of disappointment hits. "Oh, you're still single… well, slide in there next to Uncle Bobby, he's alone too, because he drinks." Then it's all downhill to New Years where you try to look very interested in your fancy velvet pants when the clock strikes midnight and people all around you kiss and you wonder how long you have to stay at this party before you go home and, apparently, stick your head in the oven. Assuming you have an oven, and not a sad little single-person hot plate.

But some of us are lucky. We find mates to kiss on New Years. And some of us are even luckier -- we find a show to write on that not only accepts our singleness, it practically demands it. Every one of our sad, bizarre and frightening single-person stories finds a home on our show. The truth about our group at Sex and The City is this -- we're probably better at writing about relationships than having them. Six unmarried women, one gay guy. The only one of us to try the marriage thing ended up with a gay guy, and it wasn't our gay guy who ended up with the gay guy…so the rest of us have pretty much steered clear. But those who can't, write about it. And we have a great time doing it. In fact, such a good time that we've forgotten we're supposed to kill ourselves.

Death was the farthest thing from my mind Emmy night, 2001. It was a magical evening. We weren't supposed to win. We never expected to win. But we did. It was amazing. They announced our name and we turned and kissed each other, because, of course, we had no one else to kiss, and then we took each other's hands and marched up the aisle… past Brad and Jen… Courteney and David… all the smug couples who had lost to us… to accept our bright shiny Emmy. We had done it! Yes, we may have been losers at love, but we were winners that night! The euphoria continued for hours. The backstage press photos! The television interviews! Champagne! Would we like to go to the CAA after-party? Why of course we would! A quick stop to pick up our goody bags, and we could pile back into the limo to be feted at a new location! And what a goody bag it was-t-shirts, make-up, this cool lotion that had real gold chips in it…

And the piece de resistance -- the Emmy Christmas ornament. An ornament so special…so rare…you had to sign for it at a special table manned by special Emmy cops. Frosted glass it was, with Emmy etched in beautiful script. I approach, Emmy in one hand, goody bag in the other, and reach for my boxed ornament. "Stop!" One of the cops yells. Oh, I think, is there an even bigger ornament for Emmy winners? And then she asks, "Where's your date?" Um, I point out, I don't have one. As if that's any of her business. Well then I'm sorry, she says, you can't take an ornament. THEY'RE ONLY FOR COUPLES. Really, she said that. But…I won an Emmy! I write on Sex and The City, where it's okay not to be a couple! That's nice, she says, but there's only one ornament for every two people. Well I'm only one person. I'm single. (By the way, this is something one should not have to point out on one of the biggest nights of one's life). At this point, I pull out the big guns. "You know, I'm going to write about this on the show!" Even that didn't stop her. She was good. She was not going to let that frosted glass ornament go, and so I had to quickly fabricate a date (another gay guy who works on the show, single, of course) to claim my gift. A gift we would apparently have to time-share at the holidays. Yes, I needed a beard for Santa. Because even when you win an Emmy, you're still a sad single person and I had forgotten for that moment that, apparently …SINGLE PEOPLE AREN'T ALLOWED TO HAVE CHRISTMAS.

That's probably what Leslie Jeffs, 35, of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan was thinking two months later when she and her sister decided to take a Christmas trip to New York City. There would be no ornaments for them if they stayed home. And so the two single gals set out to have a good time in the big city. It's almost like a musical. Or a show I write. But more on that later.

The holidays in Manhattan! Lights, shopping, shows! One can only imagine Leslie and Caroline stepping off their Northwest flight armed with their Fodor's guide, tickets to 42nd Street and sensible walking boots with just a bit of height to wear with both slacks and skirts.

Now I am editorializing here. It didn't say that part in the Times Wedding Announcement I read last Memorial Weekend. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Gernot Senke, 41, of Jamesburg New Jersey was single and alone on Christmas Eve as well. And so he decides that night to depart for the Big City, to meet a friend for dinner.

But before dinner he decides to come in from the cold and have a drink, by himself. Drinking alone is sadly what Gernot had gotten used to, working as he did in Jamesburg, New Jersey and y'know, being single. He chose the Monkey Bar on 55th street.

It was a fateful night. Because who else would enter the bar that night but Leslie and her sister Caroline. "Gernot was the only person in the bar and was sitting next to me, and I just struck up a conversation," said Ms. Jeffs. Hmm. Sounds like something that would happen on a show I write.

For his part, Gernot, quote, "wasn't really tuned in for a full-on conversation," unquote, perhaps because few in Jamesburg, New Jersey, have "full-on conversations."

Leslie and Gernot ended up chatting about South Africa, while Caroline began to quietly drink herself into a stupor, realizing that once again her sister was going to get laid on vacation, and she wouldn't, and no one was going to kiss her on New Years Eve. For her part, Leslie told the New York Times, "This was a person I wanted to see again."

But the two sisters moved on to their next destination, Il Cantinori, never expecting to see Gernot again. But a week later, and this time without her sister, who no doubt had finally checked herself into rehab or stuck her head in an oven, Leslie went back to the Monkey Bar. Where Gernot was, again. This time, they talked in earnest, and one thing led to another and that Christmas, 2001, two months after I won an Emmy and was denied my ornament, Leslie Jeffs and Gernot Senke realized they were meant for each other. And last Memorial Day weekend they got married.

And so, let us be joyful that two suicides have been averted. Leslie and Gernot found each other and this year they get to celebrate their very first Christmas together. Perhaps I will send them my Emmy ornament, still boxed, for them to hang on their very first tree. Once I check with my gay co-worker and make sure this isn't his year to have it.

Perhaps you've guessed that I have more than a passing obsession with Leslie and Gernot. Well, here's the thing. Leslie and Caroline didn't just pick the Monkey Bar out of their Fodor's Guide. This wasn't blind luck that Leslie and Gernot found love. Oh no. Leslie and Caroline came to New York armed with more than sensible boots. They came with a guide. According to the New York Times, the sisters had fashioned a home-made tour of places they had seen on their favorite show -- Sex and The City. And the Monkey Bar was top of the list. And, you see, it was I who put the Monkey Bar into one of my episodes, "Defining Moments." Which it certainly was for Gernot and Leslie.

Do you all see the irony here? Because I'm a screwed-up single person, I don't get Christmas, but because I'm a screwed-up single person who can write, there's a couple getting their first Christmas this year.

What if I'm some weird idiot savant single girl television cupid? What if our whole writing staff is? Why just last month a friend passed by one of my fellow writer's buildings and saw a man down on his knees… and this man wasn't puking, he was PROPOSING! And not to her! Why that stoop out of all the stoops in this city? Was he magically drawn there by the single-girl pain leaking out from apartment 1B? For God's sake, ladies and gentlemen! How many matches will we have to make before we are handed what is rightfully ours -- that frosted glass Emmy ornament!

I know, I know. Christmas is not really about getting a shiny award or a gaudy ornament …it's about giving. And I'm just happy that I could help two people find love in the holiday season. I gave them my single girl stories so they could get married.

And come to think of it, by getting married, they gave me one more story to tell. You can't hang that on a tree, but that's a pretty damn good gift.

Maybe this single girl got her Christmas after all.

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