Bad Date Santa, a story by Dorothy Koutsos at

Bad Date Santa

Bad Date Santa

written by: Dorothy Koutsos


Have you ever been set up on a date and showed up to discover they brought their date? Yup, that happened to me. Last night. Well to be fair, he did not know it was a date. My friend thought he and I might have a lot in common and that we might like each other. She knew he was single. She thought if she got us in the same place in a casual, no-pressure sort of way, we would connect. It could have been the perfect storm. Oh, it was a storm all right. But thankfully not my storm.

My friend invited me to her holiday party. She invited him to her holiday party. I spent extra time getting ready. She spent extra time hoping her matchmaking skills would pay off. But in her attempt to establish a casual meeting, she left out a major detail: I knew we would be meeting; he didn’t. In retrospect, the meeting would have had a better chance at success if he knew. Maybe he wouldn’t have brought a date. Who knows, maybe he would have. But my friend was trying to keep the meeting casual, no pressure. I have heard lots of opinions about dating with a wide range of perspectives. But one common thread that all of us agree upon is that there is always pressure. No way around it.

The evening was going wonderfully. Great food, great conversation, great holiday spirit, great drinks flowing… And then he showed up. With a woman. And he was in a Lucifer sweater. Well actually, I googled it and it was a ‘bad Santa Claus’ sweater depicting a German tradition, Krampus, who steals children at Christmas if they had misbehaved throughout the year. At least I learned some new cultural traditions. Scary ones, but my horizons are now broadened. Silver linings are so easy to find at the hap, happiest time of the year. Did you just sing that in your head? I hope so.

Anyway, I never actually met him. His date followed him around like a Child terrified of losing her mother while shopping in the holiday hustle and bustle of Walmart. Because, of course, she knew nobody there. Who could blame her? Who brings a first date to a friend’s Christmas party? That is what I learned. So I quietly and curiously observed their interactions. At one point, he had himself nestled in the corner of an empty office room, in a way that might imagine Krampus would, eating chicken wings, while she held the line in between the almost empty room and the actual party wearing an intense expression that vacillated between a scowl that screamed “I am trapped!!” and a sardonic smile that indicated she was reminiscing and contemplating which dirty deed earned her a visit from Krampus (similar to the little kids that Krampus steals) Who can blame her?

That was my final observation of him as I departed the party for the night. Some might think that I was jealous that she was his date. I think she was jealous of my freedom to walk out of that door at my will. Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes and are often surprises. Nobody, not even Krampus, could steal the gift of freedom, and the joy that accompanies it, from me that holiday season.

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