There’s a long-standing, widespread anticipation of celebrating the end of every New Year’s countdown with a kiss. Hollywood has built up our fantasies year after year, preparing us for surprise reunions that will never happen and mad dashes through crowded streets or airport security lines that should culminate in a Princess Diaries-esque foot pop. When midnight comes and goes without even a single wink in our direction, it’s like the whole year is ruined before it’s even had the chance to begin. So, naturally, if you’re single as the holiday approaches, it’s easy to fixate on one question: who the hell am I going to kiss this year? If I don’t go in with a plan, how am I supposed to set the ball rolling on my picturesque, perfectly scripted story climax?
If my best friend is bringing her boyfriend, her brother’s girlfriend is coming along, and my roommate’s on-again, off-again SO is rumored to be there, too, do I want to roll into our plans as the seventh wheel? Am I really to be left sitting on my own, watching everyone around me achieve my end goal, again? We all dream about embodying Bridget Jones in certain moments or kissing a fellow single in the bar, but I’m not a fictional heroine, and Omicron singlehandedly knocked a considerable percentage of NYC back into self-isolation in a matter of hours this week. This is not the year for my main character debut.
But just because the newly crowned king of a kingdom I almost singlehandedly destroyed isn’t on his way to ask me to marry him at midnight, and I’m not about to have a serendipitous introduction with the tall redhead I’ve been unsubtly tracking across the bar all evening (manifestation, where you at?), it doesn’t mean I can’t still kiss someone. It’s tradition, after all.
So here’s my proposal: forget about Colin Firth and the mysterious stranger that may or may not even give you their number (or Covid) when all is said and done, and kiss your homies this New Year’s Eve. Make out with your best friend, as long as he or she is down. Smooch your roomie on the cheek, or get the whole group chat to walk past you one by one with an air kiss to each side – whatever you, and they, are comfortable with. Nobody ever said you had to ring in the new year with a romantic gesture. For those who believe in superstitions, it’s who you surround yourself with on New Year’s that will predict the path of your next year. Who better to infuse you with good vibes and set you on the right track, right off the bat, than your best friends?
Then again, you could just skip the kissing altogether. For those who don’t believe in superstitions, the tradition is essentially meaningless. Whether or not you get that beginning of the year kiss – and who it’s with – has no impact on the year to come, so there’s no point in running yourself ragged trying to find the perfect person. Nobody else will be judging your lack of participation, so don’t judge yourself for it – embrace it!
Whether or not a midnight NYE kiss holds mysterious magical properties, I’m still going to surround myself with good vibes in the form of my close friends. Who better than to pass on the best intentions for the new year, if that’s really even a thing? If we kiss, that’s up to them. If not, at least I spent my night enjoying myself rather than agonizing over an over-hyped tradition.