Turkey dropping is a cute-sounding name for an awful phenomenon: getting dumped on or right before Thanksgiving. It’s particularly common for high school sweethearts who go off to separate colleges and realize right around Thanksgiving break that they want to “keep their options open.” This happens in the adult dating world as well, when the stress of the impending holidays starts to settle in and the questioning half of the couple decides they don’t want to forage ahead through Christmas and New Years together.
I was turkey dropped almost exactly five years ago today by a guy who I had dated in college and had decided to give another chance to a decade later. Looong story, but the fine fellow ghosted me without explanation the week before the holiday. To say I was completely devastated would be an understatement. I sobbed while watching “27 Dresses” twice in a row if that gives you any indication of my emotional state. But I took solace in the fact that my parents were supposed to come and visit my brother and I in NYC. Then, two days before Thanksgiving, one of my family members got sick and my parents had to cancel their trip. This is how I ended up eating dry turkey on the floor of a stranger’s tiny apartment. This might have been the lowest point in my love life. Actually, now that I think about it, it definitely was. But I survived. And you can, too. Here’s your turkey dropping contingency plan:
1. Make some Thanksgiving plans. You’re not allowed to stay home alone on Thanksgiving and wallow. I repeat, you must make plans. Even if the only place that will have you last minute is one of your brother’s friends’ co-workers who you’ve never met before. Even if you are the fifth wheel to two couples. Even if you have to eat burnt stuffing off of a TV tray while sitting on the floor. Or volunteer at a soup kitchen, for goodness sake! Get out of your soft clothes, buy a pecan pie or tie on an apron, just do something. It’s non-negotiable.
2. Make some post-Thanksgiving plans. You’re going to need to be alone and process you’re dropping at some point, but you don’t have to do that until Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. Find out who’s in town and fill up your dance card. I’d say try to do things you like, but you’ll probably be in throes of some deep existential anhedonia, so don’t expect to enjoy any of the things you do, just do them. Watching “27 Dresses” on a continuous loop is fine as long as you have someone to watch it with — preferably someone who thinks its as lame as you do so, at least you’ll have something to direct your anger toward.
3. Put yourself on social media lockdown. Vow to stay off of Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and all social media outlets until you have made it through the most sensitive part of your dropping. The urge will be strong to see what your dropper is doing for the holiday and if he/she is having the time of their life while you’re crying with Katherine Heigl. DON’T DO IT. Social media has a way of making everything seem glossy, even a piece of poop, so you’re better off padlocking your laptop and hiding it in the closet for the weekend.
4. Lay off the food, alcohol, exes and Tinder. Comfort comes from where it comes from: pecan pie, pinot noir, the arms of an ex, the promise of finding someone you’re actually attracted to who won’t dump you on Thanksgiving. It’s understandable if you want to dive headfirst into these sorts of comforts. Try to dip a toe in rather than dive. One slice of pie, one glass of pinot, one “hello” text to a kind ex who you have no desire to sleep with and at least one month (or maybe until after New Years) before you start trying to put yourself back out there in the dating world. The truth is that when we are trying to date while still reeling from a breakup, we’re probably not gonna have so much luck. People can smell heartbreak. Take some deep breaths, make it through the holiday season, regroup yourself and make re-entry into the dating world on January 3rd (or whenever you feel ready).
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