holidays and relationship

Yes, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving kicks off the annual relationship freeze which lasts through the New Year. Much like government wage freezes that leave DMV workers and other civil servants with salaries stuck in 1973, the annual dating freeze cements you for three months in whatever relationship situation you happen to be in on November 15. Singles and couples everywhere can feel mid-November bearing down on them like tax day.

What does it mean? Well, if you're single and dateless, it means you're probably going it alone for the next few months. Sure, you'll have to endure seven or eight hours of pitying glances and "So, are you seeing anyone?" at the holiday gathering, but at least it's less agonizing than your Aunt Leona grilling you in front of grandpa about your sex life or the new hottie you met on the Internet last week.

And if you're in a less-than-fab relationship, well, you're pretty much stuck until the holidays are over. There will be office parties and family gatherings to attend, and somehow your plans will propel you frenetically through the season like a goldfish down the toilet bowl. If you start to feel like you're not going to be able to go the distance, reality will whack you on the head and you'll realize you don't really want to be known as the heartless jerk who ruined Christmas. Just the image of your current steady blubbering into the yams is enough to make anybody hunker down and endure a few more weeks as a couple (however unpleasant they might be.) Fortunately, before you know it, the whirlwind will die down and you'll be whooshed smack-dab into the middle of January.

If it's the thought that counts, what the hell were you thinking?

Assuming you're in a relationship, even a new one, some sort of gift exchange is generally expected. With a budding romance, however, things are a bit more complicated, especially for women.