For most of my life, I hated New Year’s Eve. I mean, I really hated it, just as much as I hated eating broccoli, going to the dentist or wearing a tuxedo — that kind of hate. Let me tell you why. Growing up in the 1950s, I felt pressure to have a “special” date on New Year’s Eve — somebody for whom I was head over heels, a person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
No such person existed when I was 15 or 25 — or 35, for that matter. This expectation caused me unlimited anxiety reminiscent of my high school prom, but, in this case, the stress recurred annually.
Each November, I looked over all the available members of the gentler gender and concluded that none of them quite fit the bill. I waited and hoped that by December I would find Miss Right. Of course, by mid-December, nothing had changed, so I decided to “settle” and then the calling began.
“No, Burt, I can’t go out with you New Year’s Eve. I already have a date,” was the most common refrain, although, occasionally, the words “I wish you had called me earlier,” were charitably attached. As I sadly went through my rolodex, rejected by one and all, I finally ended up with somebody in whom I had little to no interest, but being alone on New Year’s Eve was absolutely out of the question.
This depressing pattern of hope smashed by reality ended 33 years ago when, at the last minute, a friend of mine asked me to come to a small New Year’s Eve party, and, for the first time, I ventured forth dateless.
It was after midnight when our eyes met. She was hot! I could hear Ezio Pinza, the star of the Broadway show “South Pacific,” singing “Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room, and somehow you know, you know even then … ” and trust me, I knew then. A powerful magnetic force drew us to one another, and we have never been apart since.
I no longer hate New Year’s Eve. On the contrary, I celebrate the time I met my bride, our 32 years of marriage and our two children. For those of you who are alone this New Year’s Eve, try not to despair like I did all those years. Sometimes life works out in unexpected ways.
Happy New Year!