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The Non-Expert

Auld Lang Syne

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we offer ways to avoid being kissless on New Year’s Eve.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: It seems like every New Year’s Eve comes and goes, and I’m left sans a kiss. This year is looking to be no exception! What should I do? —Anonymous

Llew Hinkes Blames It on the Council of Trent

The arbitrary need for celebration and companionship on what amounts to a random stopping point in the Gregorian calendar system can be persuasive, but please, try to hold out. It’s essentially the same impulse that tells people to get high at 4:20: a chronological novelty. Do you really want to make kissy-face with some random stranger just because the day’s numerical representation is a pentagonal pyramidal number? Unless you are Aleister Crowley, probably not. Although it improves on the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar by correcting for the length of a solar year, the Gregorian calendar’s main purpose is to move Easter to a time that coincides with the vernal equinox. Something that the Council of Trent approved so they could remember when to eat. To worry over a thing as trivial as the end of one year and the start of the next just because the Council of Trent said so is beneath you, especially when you could be worrying over any number of other chronological oddities: leap years, extra days in February, bissextile days. There’s something called a Doomsday, which happens five times a year yet doesn’t end in the complete annihilation of mankind. It’s all a giant mess. Back in 1582, they lost count and had to eliminate nine days. Christmas is supposed to be sometime in January, but instead it gets celebrated on the Romans’ “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun”. Now that’s something to party over!

So maybe I haven’t changed your mind. Maybe it’s the social impulse or the mention of the word “bissextile,” but you’re still filled with false hope that “something’s gonna happen” on New Year’s Eve. Some friends you haven’t heard from in three years will call out of the blue and say they’re in town just for New Year’s so you can’t just sit around the house now. You’ll head off to the parties with cheap champagne in tow, only to realize why you hadn’t seen these people in three years: because they’re jerks. The guys are loud and the girls are louder. One of them will throw up in the taxi. And one will keep trying to convince everybody to break into the pool to go skinny dipping, which might be fun if you weren’t with such a band of loud jerks. So yes, everybody else is looking for excitement but has no idea what they’re doing. This is when you break out the cocaine. Not real cocaine, as these people would be insufferable if they were spastically twitching and telling you all the details of their DVD purchases. Instead use baking flour. Wrap a small amount in a plastic bag—not too much—and tell them you’ve been saving it for a special occasion for some time now. You will be the life of the party for about five minutes until the placebo wears off.

But if it isn’t popularity or karmic justice that you’re looking for, and instead a cheap, tawdry hookup, then just hang out at the library. My mom tells me it’s the place to meet chicks. Especially ones that will revel in your newfound knowledge of the Gregorian calendar system.

Liz Entman Goes Ape

The desire to mark a special occasion with a mating ritual is common throughout the world. In fact, since the significance of any event is almost entirely determined by the promise of sexual congress, it is reasonable to fear that forgoing that New Year’s Eve kiss will render your celebrations, and very likely the rest of your life, meaningless.

But don’t lose hope! There are plenty of important, inspiring, yet chronically unkissed individuals living today, like the pope, Morrissey, and Koko, the signing gorilla. The pope is awfully busy this time of year, and contacting Morrissey would violate my parole, but fortunately Koko was able to share her wisdom with us through a sign language interpreter.

TMN: Hello, Koko. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today.

Koko: Blue nipple. [Ed. note: “Nipple” rhymes with “people,” so Koko is trying to express her sympathy for the tragically single.]

TMN: Your mate, Ndume, treats you like a sister. How do you cope?

Koko: Shoe lipstick. [Ed. note: Koko means that she holds her feelings of undesirability at bay by improving her appearance with cosmetics in the hopes of seducing Ndume, who secretly adores her but just can’t find the right words to tell her, mostly because he doesn’t know sign language. Koko appears to prefer Clinique’s Peach Pop sheer gloss.]

TMN: How are you planning to ring in the new year?

Koko: Drink smoke. [Ed. note: Koko is not saying that despair over being single drives her to self-destructive behaviors, but rather that she likes to make martinis for her pet kitten, Smoky, and watch it stagger around the cage drunkenly as a way to mitigate her sexual frustration.]

TMN: What advice would you give our lonely reader who doesn’t have a date on New Year’s Eve?

Koko: Toilet kiss hurry. [Ed. note: Koko, having been hand-raised by humans all her life, displays a remarkable sensitivity to the nuances of human behavior. Here, she is suggesting that the reader take advantage of the curious tendency of certain subgroups of Homo sapiens sapiens—particularly omega males, known colloquially as “losers” or “meatheads”—to copulate with otherwise undesirable partners, identifiable by their solitary condition, in secret places like bar bathrooms in order to avoid an embarrassing post-coital group noogie from the omega’s peer group. This ritual seems to often be sanctified by a couple of Jagermeister shots beforehand and a cigarette afterwards.

TMN: Thanks again, Koko.

Koko: Apple juice.

So, Kiss-less, buck up. Slick some Peach Pop on your unsmooched lips and stride out confidently into that cold dark night, knowing that even if the Jagermeister fails to do the trick…well, um…I think I still have Morrissey’s number somewhere.

Jessica Francis Kane Needs You to Babysit

Are you at a party? Are you wearing festive clothing unmarred by spit-up or applesauce or red “washable” marker? Then forget the kiss, have another drink, and enjoy yourself! Most of my friends these days pride themselves on how lame their New Year’s Eve plans are and how early they’ll be asleep, all because New Year’s Eve is the toughest night of the year to find a babysitter.

Here’s an idea: If you want a kiss so badly, offer to baby-sit for a set of nice, young, tired parents and when the midnight moment comes, run into the nursery and give the little one a kiss. It will be warm and sweet, I promise. Just don’t forget and leave your drink in the nursery.

Rosecrans Baldwin Suggests Fewer Clogs

Obviously, you’re not desperate enough. Have zero expectations. Be open to all comers. Wear fewer clogs, and ask not why the action should come to you, but how you can attract the action. Remember: There’s nothing to fear except oral herpes, which, these days, occurs in more than 70 percent of adult Americans. Be more promiscuous at work. Start with your head; finish with a towel. As they say in Turkey, a missed opportunity is a camel with no humps. They also say, people who dream have less time for other things, like a casual feel. Don’t flinch. Bed-hoppers have more fun. During the movie’s last scene, leap out of your seat and French that chick down the aisle. Consider: virtue has six letters, and rearranged they spell trivue. Move to Albania and sell yourself into prostitution, but sew your passport inside your liver. Diary less, diddle more. Poke bros in the tushie. Philanderate thyself.

Are you still listening? Well shucks, aboard for shame! Seriously, my blessings on you. Just keep in mind: Sully your character. When drunk, say everything you think, particularly ideas that sound whorish. Not only get familiar, get fellating. If friends are up for it, lock them in your car and lose the key; they’ll get bored, but who cares, they’ll get horny too. Dive into fights drunk and have confidence you’ll lose and get laid as compensation. Let anyone have that thang. Judge performance when you’re sober. Wear no pants (clothing makes the tramp, particularly in Paris). Borrow intercourse where possible, and donate it widely—you may even land a second date! But most important, to thine own self be true and it will follow, as homicidal regret follows pregnancy, that someone out there will want to knock your hot bod back.

Later! My blessing season this in thee!

Andrew Womack Watches the Clock

On my bathroom wall I have a battery-powered, analog clock. It hangs on a single nail, and is placed high on the wall so that when I shower in the morning, I can peer over the top of the curtain to see if I’m running late. It performs its job magnificently, and in six years of use, I’ve had to change the battery—one double-A—only once.

For some reason—maybe because it’s hung so high on the wall, and thus out of sheer laziness—ever since daylight-saving time ended this year, I’ve neglected to change the time on this clock. Yes, I changed all the other clocks in my apartment, but no, not this one. And, I figured, as long as I remembered to subtract one hour from the time on the clock, I’d be fine all the way to spring, when I’d have to remember not to subtract an hour—that is, remember to forget.

But only recently I discovered a nice trick. You see, the clock has a circular frame and a circular face with no numbers on it, only lines that mark out the hours—you’ve seen the design before. I found that if I reached up and nudged the clock just a little to the right, what was the unnumbered “12” tic-mark before—the one at the very top of the face—was now one spot over, and so what used to be the unnumbered “11” tic-mark was now at the top of the face, which made it the new “12” tic-mark. So only by moving the clock, I could lose an hour, just like that, and catch up with Daylight Savings Time. And because the clock is circular, I could do this forever.

So, on when midnight strikes on Dec. 31st, don’t fret about loneliness, just get a clock like mine and start nudging.

Claire Miccio Has the Answer

Stuff your pockets with strips of bacon. It does the trick for me every year.