The Austin Chronicle

The Luv Doc: How Much Spirit Do You Like in Your Christmas?

Some people like to have a reasonable expectation of how the night will unfold

By The Luv Doc, December 14, 2012, Columns

The Christmas party season is about to get into full swing and I am dreading it because my husband always ends up drinking too much, and we either a) end up leaving parties too soon because he’s too drunk to function, or b) we end up staying until the very end when there are only a few people left and it’s really awkward. I always feel like a party pooper. Any ideas on how we might find some middle ground?
- Pooped Already

First Pooped, I would like to commend you on your choice of pseudonym. At the very least no one will accuse you of being constipated. That’s good, because the text that precedes it might lead folks to assume you have a bug up your ass, and I don’t think that’s entirely fair. The way I see it, you simply want to be able to go to parties with your husband and have a reasonable expectation of how the night is going to unfold. Your husband, on the other hand, may look at parties as an opportunity to dive into an alcohol-lubed wormhole that leads to some alternate universe – like an all-night Mexican karaoke bar, the Elks Lodge pool room, or a cornfield outside of Giddings. These two contrasting expectations will inevitably lead to disappointment and conflict. Further complicating the matter is the holiday season itself. Most people have huge expectations about the holidays – not just about the traditions associated therewith, but about how people are supposed to feel about them. For instance, at a Christmas party you might want to sit and have a pleasant conversation with good friends over some eggnog and frosted cookies with holiday sprinkles on them. To your husband, an evening like this might be just slightly preferable to gouging his eye out with a rusty fork. He might also feel the same way about caroling, wassailing, trimming, and mulling (which, let’s just be totally fucking honest here … by either definition is an abomination in the eyes of any truly loving God). In fact, he may just be a 66-percenter. You know: The hefty chunk of the global population that doesn’t celebrate Christmas? You can imagine then, that when confronted with the prospect of an evening spent chatting amiably with people dressed in crocheted reindeer sweaters, gorging himself on cheeseballs, candied pecans, and chocolate that has been violated with the unholy taste of peppermint, he might want to make a hasty exit through the hosts’ expensive bottle of 12-year-old Scotch, aka “Christmas cheer.” I have to tell you, Pooped, that short of an intervention (and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the Western Hemisphere to quit this Christmas thing cold turkey), there’s not much you can do to keep your husband from going on a holiday bender. Here’s an idea, but it’s a lot of trouble: Before the party, communicate exactly what your expectations are for how the evening is going to go and give your husband the chance to do the same – maybe even come to some agreement. That may not work, so just in case, bring cab fare.

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