Holiday Helper

Have yourself a filthy little Christmas . . . and a naughty New Year.

Yahoo! The holiday season is upon us, and as I write this, I'm 99 percent done with my Christmas shopping! Though I lost a frantic eBay bidding war for a 1966 Lucha Libre Mexican lobby card that had my boyfriend's name written all over it, I found my boss' kid a borderline obscene Sid Vicious T-shirt that'll probably get him kicked out of his ultra-PC Montessori school. Score! My brother's getting a Swiss kitchen grill, and for my sis I found a freaky tube top that has the word "Meow" printed on top of a Union Jack. (I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but it's just weird enough that she might like it.) My dad and his wife are getting coffee mugs with my face on them, and my man will be getting an assortment of prezzies that I can't really name here without giving it all away.

So imagine my mood, sitting in my living room, staring at the colored lights flickering on my pretty little tree, filled to the bursting point with Christmas/ Hanukkah/Kwanza spirit, when what appears in my inbox but a press release titled "Office Christmas Parties Can Reveal Workplace Affairs."

Nothing like a shot of paranoia with your eggnog! According to "infidelity expert" (who wants that job!) Ruth Houston, "if you think he might be romantically involved with someone on his job, attending his office Christmas party with him is one of the best chances you'll get to find out whether or not what you suspect is true."

So what Ms. Houston suggests is that instead of taking advantage of the open bar and savory snacks, a savvy spouse will instead keep a hawk's eye on her honey and watch to see which of his lovely co-workers he snuggles up with under the mistletoe.

That doesn't sound like much fun at all. I'm going to my Special Naked Friend's office party on Saturday, and the only thing I plan on worrying about is having my beverage refilled in a timely manner. Fa la la la la!!!!

The holidays must be big money time for the experts, because no sooner had I finished reading about festive philanderers than I got another press release, this time on "Holi-Dos and Holi-Don'ts" for the freshly minted couple.

Some of Dr. Helen Fisher's tips—like "choose a gift that shows you care"—make sense. But others ("don't give a gift that causes the receiver to feel like they didn't spend enough") are just plain crazy talk! Jeez! What if my boyfriend sees that?! Wrong!!! Give, give, and give until it hurts!

The good doctor also advises against having your gift "wrapped for free at the mall." Obviously a woman who has never woken up to a sad little package taped together by moi. Other admonitions include "don't become wildly inebriated" (yeah, right!) and "don't ask her to 'sit on Santa's lap.'" I ask you—what's Christmas without a little wildly inappropriate role-playing? Certainly not a holiday I feel like celebrating.

But Dr. Fisher isn't all wrong. Her suggestion that you not invite your spankin'-new sweetie to dinner with your family is a sensible idea and one I feel even long-standing couples should adopt. No reason to put someone you like through dinner with Aunt Sassy and her wandering bridgework.

Unlike Ms. Houston, Dr. Fisher advises against bringing your SO to the formal work party. Sure, this tip is for new couples, but something tells me Doc Fisher would frown on attending the function on a fishing expedition.

Being cheated on sucks. But advising people to sneak around their SO's Christmas party is almost worse. I mean, what kind of so-called expert thinks, "Hmmm, it's the holidays, and everyone's a little cheerier than they normally are—let's stomp that happy feeling with the advice equivalent of a stocking full of coal." Thanks a lot, Mrs. Scrooge.

As someone who's been paid to dole out advice for almost seven years now, I'm going to weigh in with my own holiday advice—have fun, be filthy, be festive. I have no rules for you to follow or games for you to play . . . well, except for "Hide the Candy Cane."

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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