Last year John Lewis released a Christmas advert, you know, the one with the Lily Allen song featuring a bear and a rabbit. I happened to really like that advert. It was cute and captured the spirit of Christmas.
I mentioned this at a gathering I had at my place and one of the girls mentioned how much she hated it. Her reason was because she had gone through a break up around that time and she felt an increasing amount of pressure during that time to be coupled up. She said Christmas as a whole made her feel insecure that year. Lo and behold, another one of the girls said that she agreed. She also felt that being single at Christmas was a lonely time especially when being bombarded with continuous messages of warmth and joy. I wondered if this was a regular occurrence and so I mentioned it to a taxi driver casually. He said that every Christmas he had lots of single, female passengers in his cab who had breakdowns and tearful episodes whilst telling him about how awful they felt about being single at Christmas. The more I spoke with people the more that I realised that this wasn’t uncommon.
I then wondered whether this was also the case with single men at Christmas time and I was very surprised by the responses I got which were at opposite ends of the scale. I started with a group of guys in a shopping centre who said that they were perfectly happy being single at Christmas time because they got to spend time with the lads and spend all their money on themselves and a few people that they bought presents for. Another group who were in a pub said that they enjoyed being able to go out without having to check the time for when they needed to be home with a girlfriend.
I decided to meet with some of the guys on a one to one basis and the majority of them did stick to their guns and said that they were happy being alone because they had freedom while some did say that they’d be happier if they had someone to share Christmas with.
I then decided to change tack and go up to men sitting by themselves in a coffee shop. Their responses were less celebratory. Many of the men said that if they had a girlfriend then they wouldn’t be sat alone in a coffee shop doing mundane things (most were either reading a book, looking at their internet dating profile or checking on football). “If I had a girlfriend then I’d have someone to put a tree up with or buy presents for which is quite nice” said one fellow, another said, “It’d be nice to have someone to wake up next to on Christmas day”. An elderly gentleman I spoke with who was widowed said, “I’ve always thought giving is better than receiving on Christmas and I miss having someone to give something wonderful to.”
The split was very down the middle and it was fair to say that when I questioned people that were in groups, they were less forthcoming about saying that they did feel lonely at Christmas. Some of the things that they missed would earn me a spanked bottom from my editor if I was to include them in this column. I decided to meet with some of the guys on a one to one basis and the majority of them did stick to their guns and said that they were happy being alone because they had freedom while some did say that they’d be happier if they had someone to share Christmas with.
I spoke with 120 single men, 61 of whom said that they weren’t lonely being single at Christmas and 59 of whom said that they’d prefer to have someone to spend it with. Does this group of men represent the majority of men out there? Maybe, maybe not, but they did all like the John Lewis advert.