I recently spent my 23rd New Year’s in a row with no midnight kiss. For most of those years it never really mattered but this one was different. For some reason, this one hurt and it really shouldn’t have. I was surrounded by great friends and many more strangers at an exclusive invite only spot in Austin. We count down: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and the balloons dropped, lights flashed and then nothing. To my left a couple kissing, to the right two strangers making the most of their collective loneliness and then there was me wondering where I went wrong. I don’t mean this to sound like a poor pity me post at all. In fact, I had started a much more generic post about how the New Year is a time for self-examination and change but then realized it was so typical. That combined with an abundance of Facebook posts about midnight kisses made me quickly realize that I wasn’t experiencing the same thing as my peers.
In wondering why this is the tradition that so many people seem to focus on I tried to figure out the reasoning behind it. According to the great prophet Dr. Wiki Pedia, there are some cultures believe that the first person you interact with and the nature of the interaction set the tone for the New Year. In this case, people lock lips in the hope of guaranteeing themselves a year full of love. Apparently, failure to do so ensures a year of loneliness, which might explain why my curse remains unbroken. In my mind, this is all a bunch of garbage of course. (But do you expect anything different from the bitter single man?) To my Disney obsessed self, the midnight kisses should hold so much more significance. If we look at the most famous of Disney kisses, (In my humble opinion) that of Princess Aurora, we get the tale of the Sleeping Beauty. We all know as a girl she is cursed so that she will not wake up until kissed by a prince. While not necessarily related to the January 1st it for me symbolizes the effect of the midnight kiss as a way to wake us up to the New Year, full of possibility and potential. Now not everyone gets a handsome prince to turn to at the end of the night (L), but when you turn to your partner make sure that kiss means something. Use it to wake up your relationship and move forward into the New Year together.
There is something so cinematic about the whole ordeal. Growing up we watch movies, television shows, read books, see plays with a scene to the same effect. A bunch of people dressed to the nines at a club, in a backyard, on the beach, downtown New York gathered around the disco ball waiting for the clock to strike twelve. The glitter falls and people shout and scream greetings to the newest year and then the camera zooms in on the perfect couple. Streams of silver and gold flicker behind them in slow motion as they turn to each other and lock lips. We are surrounded by this image of what is expected at that moment that we don’t take the time to realize why. That kiss has been handed down to you by generations of men and women before you. This simple moment apparently fore told by the folk lore authors of old to make or break your chances of love for the rest of your year. That is wayyyy too much pressure for one kiss. Does it only mean something for couples, or also for alcohol induced hookups? What creates real luck?
I recently read a book by Jandy Nelson titled, I’ll Give you the Sun. Besides it being a great book about coming into your own skin and one that truly gives you an inside glimpse into the mind of an artist, it has a plot line dedicated to that of artificial luck. One of the main characters, Jude, has her Grandmother’s “Bible”. A book was written by her deceased grandmother who had left bits of wisdom, superstitions, and home remedies for different situations. Some of these included tips on what brings good luck and how to fix bad luck. Things like give a potential new love interest an orange and they won’t be able to stop thinking about you and red beach glass is a powerful good luck charm, nestled underneath the fabled four leaf clover. While it can be fun to carry these trinkets, it really sets you up to believe that luck has to be created or earned and that isn’t necessarily true. According to Webster’s Dictionary, luck is "A purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favourably or unfavourably for an individual, group or cause". In my own short time alive you can put as much faith as you want into symbols or tokens but luck is an unpredictable source of a happiness that can easily be taken advantage of. This, of course, hasn’t stopped me from making a wish at 11:11 every day for the last 8 years or so. The wish has never changed nor been granted, yet wish I still do in the honest attempt at fulfillment. I don’t think I expect it to work, but the idea of it is addicting. Beyond that I still let black cats cross me, walk under ladders, and drop pennies for others to pick up heads up. Luck is relative and also unpredictable, so all of you, who like me received no midnight kiss, don’t fret. It is not the end of the world, it’s just the beginning of the year and you will have plenty of time to find your good luck charm, real or otherwise.