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Oh come all ye Ghosts of Christmas Past

Posted by Karyn Polewaczyk  December 27, 2013 12:45 PM

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“Btw,” I texted my friend earlier today. “Do you know if there’s a technical term for guys who roll through around the holidays?”

“You know,” I continued, “The ones who send the ‘Was just thinking of you & wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas, how are you, what’s new?’ texts. Those guys.”

“Those are strays,” my friend replied. “And if I had a nickel--”

“We’d be flying to Vegas tonight,” I said, finishing the thought.

Strays. Blasts from the past. The Ghosts of Christmas Past. Lost ones. The Forgettables. Skeletons in the closet. Et cetera.

Whatever you want to call them—if there’s a technical term, I’m not aware of it; a Google search for “Exes, etc., who call on Christmas” sent me to a TV Land webpage—they show up in droves this time of year. It’s a phenomenon I talked about over dinner with my recently-single cousin on Christmas Day. Her own ex, whom she’d cut out of her life months ago and who reappeared within her online dating “Suggested Matches” weeks later, had shown up in the form of a, “I miss you. Can we talk about things?” text late on Christmas Eve.

And the answer, if you’re a smart woman, is no. You cannot talk. You cannot catch up. You cannot grab a drink, see what’s new, or collectively reminisce about good times gone by.

Because, typically, there is a reason things ended (I refrain from using the term “break up,” since casual dating, IMO, is not a relationship). Or maybe multiple reasons—there’s a myriad of explanations as to why some people just don’t work out. But the point is, it’s in the past. And while some people might argue that it can be fun to dip a toe into the swirling waters of yesteryear, especially when everything is merry and bright and decked out in tinsel, if you’re single, you risk staying there, instead of looking forward at the opportunities in the now.

I used to be a Christmas texter myself, which is why I feel some level of authority in addressing this bad behavior. I’d cloak my entire contact list with a “Happy Holidays!” text, knowing full well that 1. there were a few men whose numbers should have been deleted long ago, 2. I’d secretly hoped they’d see my [number] and immediately think, “Whatever happened to that amazing girl? I’m going to call her and reconnect,” and 3. group texts are a surefire way to annoy pretty much everyone you know. Naughty! Reprehensible. It takes restraint to not send these deceptively well-meaning messages at first (text a friend instead—or go for a walk, whatever you need to do), but it gets easier with each passing year, I promise.

Go ahead and call me militant if you’d like: I suggest cutting the offending ghost texter loose as quickly as possible. “I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not interested,” I said to one (a guy who I casually dated over the summer and who promptly disappeared once fall arrived) who seemed genuinely confused—even wounded—by my dismissal. “I’m out of the country now,” he said, “but I think we should talk about this when I get back.”

And my answer, since I’m a woman who’s learned from her wicked ways, was no.

Stay strong, soldiers.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Karyn Polewaczyk lives and writes in Boston, and believes that heading out into that good night, like any adventure, begins with the first step. Let's Go Out is a conversation about dating and nightlife in our notoriously chilly city, with first-hand tips from the trenches. Karyn's writing, which focuses largely on women's lifestyle topics, has appeared in the Weekly Dig, Jezebel, xoJane, Northshore Magazine and, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @KarynPolewaczyk.

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