Goth Is Dead

Dating, for me, comes in a very predictable cycle which can easily be mapped out like, say, photosynthesis or recycling.

Mounting sexual frustration → Hope as biproduct of sexual frustration → Clouded judgment → Internet dating website → Hilarious/miserable first date with a stranger → Sleeping with someone I already know → Disappointment and awkwardness → Vow of chastity → Deleting of profile on Internet dating website → Triumphant smiling → Boredom → Afternoon spent watching music videos by Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nick Cave, et. al. → Mounting sexual frustration → Hope as biproduct of sexual frustration → Clouded judgment, etc.

Now that’s a flow-chart.

Through a few years of partaking in this pathetic rigmarole, I can chalk my lack of success up to three things, as illustrated thusly:

73% – my taste
7% – my age
20% – the website itself

Further explanation of this chart is as follows:

7% – my age
At my age, most people* are married or pumping out their first two children. I know that, in five years, Divorce Season will likely start for my generation, and I’ll have my pick of the litter. But, until then, I’m stuck with individuals who were either too fucked up to find someone in their twenties, or have a serious flaw in their system. I can say this as somebody who, without getting sober, would just be starting to question why I was always alone, as I tripped over the six empty bottles surrounding my leaking, borrowed (read: stolen) air mattress. Fortunately, with a clear head, I can tell you why I am single, and no longer sleeping on the floor. It’s because when everyone was partnering up for the dance I was draining the punch bowl and trying to pickpocket the chaperone.

20% – the website itself
I don’t think I’ve ever been contacted via FastCupid, the amalgamation of,, and The Onion personals sections. Considered the “smart person’s” dating site, there’s plenty of pretense, and an equal measure of insecurity. Either that or I’m just really ugly. OkCupid appears to be an STD/STI vending machine and an example of how Darwinism has failed. While I’ve gone on more first dates because of that site than I’m willing to count, all of them – and I do mean all of them – have amounted in hilarious failures, or at very least a sad, sad mismatch of two computer-savvy people, algorithms be damned.

And that final 73%? My taste. This is not an insult to my ex-boyfriend, who is as awesome as I am. This is also not an insult to my ex-domestic-partner-wife-sort-of from when I was in my early, early twenties. She’s…she’s nice. Still. And can handily kick my ass, after taking up boxing and sword fighting after we broke up. (Not kidding.)

But my taste in men and ladies, generally speaking, is where the true crux of my problem lies.

Generally speaking, I like hardass, butch women who go for high-maintenance, super-feminine girls, of which I am not one. Try to put me in conventional-colored lipstick and a dress and you get what looks like a boy in fourth grade being suckered into a stunt that is a direct result of being beaten up by mean-spirited school chums. I coped with not scoring the women I wanted in the same way that many straight men do, I got drunk and slept with girls I wasn’t entirely attracted to. Call it charity work.

Once I got sober and started being an equal-opportunity harlot, I learned that my taste in men, while more multi-faceted, was just as disappointing. In fact, my taste in mates seems to be biologically predestined to phase out my lineage, as the single unifying and establishing characteristic across the gender board is a lack of attraction to yours truly. While the Gina Gershon in Bound doppelgangars and Jenny Shimizus of the world can be accepted as the women I would like to fuck but never will, no matter how much Ecstasy they’ve consumed, the men, for the sake of this post, will be limited to one sub-genre of failure: goth boys. (Yes, tall, unemployed hipsters with bicycles, I like you, too. Even though you don’t like me.)

For the record, I blame my dad. After he left my mom, his first girlfriend was a goth twenty-one years his junior. They would go to The Batcave and tell me all about it during our visitations. It was then that the mold was cast.

Observations on the Male Gothic Subgenera

Ensnaring a goth boy, on paper, should be simple. Unlike hipsters, whose interests can be as varied as Dura-Ace to Campagnolo, or Xanax to Vicodin, goth boys pretty much fall into two camps that are factory-assembled and easy to understand.

The romantic male goth.
Similar to: Morrissey; Trent Reznor prior to any film scores; Robert Smith from The Cure prior to his discovery of donuts and hockey; that girl you had a crush on in chem lab; any of the male characters from Interview with a Vampire, though these men often feel a particular affinity towards Tom Cruise’s vampire Lestat.
Interests: looking down, England, wearing repurposed women’s clothing, sitting in graveyards, reading dead poets, working with computers.
Listening to: Depeche Mode, Icon of Coil, Covenant, The Cure, bands no longer in existence.
Defining characteristics: black eyeliner; lack of smile; 28″ waist; rosary beads; possibly passing a kidney stone, or just that unhappy.

The industrial male goth.
Similar to: the members of KMFDM, Trent Reznor prior to sobriety, your German professor, a villian in a Jeunet film, any of the male actors from a steampunk haunted house.
Interests: looking angry, using boots, yelling while flailing, optics, explosions, working with computers.
Listening to: Assemblage 23, Front Line Assembly, Nitzer-Ebb, KMFDM, bands no longer in existence.
Defining characteristics: metal accessories, ability to holler one or two words in German, patience lacing eye-holes, usually a Miata or Civic with a black paint job that’s in remarkably good condition.

One would think that, knowing these established parameters, I would have concocted a foolproof plan over the past twenty years of crushing on these sub-types of a category. But much like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, or, somewhat more appropriately, Wile E. Coyote and his rock-and-anvil laden foiling by the Road Runner, this chase has been going on wholly unsuccessfully since Marilyn Manson was playing sports bars in Florida. (I think he may be back to doing that again now. And he’s another angst-addled artist who has discovered the dangers of donuts.)

Unfortunately for me, I was born with both a solid weird streak and a sense of humor. While the former makes me momentarily interesting to these men, the later launches the sexy train clear off the rails and into the canyon of rejection. I blush, even through white face powder. I giggle relentlessly. I make inappropriate jokes about what the ghost gansters say to their ghost molls (“I got you covered, boo.”) I don’t cry unless I’m cutting onions or suffering from an allergy attack. I don’t brood. When I’m attracted to someone, my m.o. is generally to make them laugh and to stare a lot, since relying on my looks and pocket-size has never worked in my experience.

But even if I were able to sustain the interest of a goth boy for long enough by wowing him with stories about how I interviewed Front Line Assembly, talked on the phone with Ogre, and ate with Nick Cave*…or if I simply taped the dude to a chair, what on earth would we have to talk about? His unsuccessful band? The trouble with trying to wear fishnets on your arms? How it’s difficult to be so overcome inside the dark chasm of human emotion while sustaining a job at Best Buy?

No matter. My attraction to Trent-types isn’t cerebral, so I’ll just stick a roll of duct tape in my purse and make sure to parse goth gatherings that contain folding chairs in dark corners. But, wait, where does one go to get a goth anyway?

Goth Habitat Evaluation with Reference to Mate Selection and Breeding Behavior

Unfortunately, even with the locations scouted and tape close by, there are some inherent pitfalls to this plan. For one thing, my bedtime is, on average, well before the opening hours of any goth or synthpop night that could still be in existence. And while I’d love to delude myself into believing that I would get out of bed in the middle of the night, dress myself in intricate black finery, and then stomp over to whatever sports bar or desperate club is hosting the event, I’m not going to kid myself. You know what makes me moody and withdrawn? Sleep deprivation. Fuck that.

You’re computer-savvy, obviously. You know that the easiest way to procure the obscure – from international spices to vintage tee-shirts – is to look online. What a brilliant idea! I can find my very own prince of gloom through the ‘net! Well…not so fast.

Checking through the forums, the most comprehensive of which was last updated in 2003, all of the local events and community pages redirect to that stock photo of the blond girl with the backpack. Domains no longer maintained. Or, even more depressing, the one site that’s still up is preserved in amber, stuck announcing the “First NYC Goth Picnic is Coming!” in 2002. (The photo of a poorly manicured hand holding what appears to be a Wheat Thin dunked into a container of paddlefish roe completed my crestfallen realization that this subculture is more dead than it had ever desired to be.)

So the apparent failure of the “gothnic” (goth + picnic = gothnic) in my town might lead me to believe, perhaps wisely, that goth is extinct. No, no. Not so fast. While the current state of local affairs might be sad (like goths!) there are certain sites dedicated to those of us who both listen to The Birthday Party and want to find love. [Editor’s Note: WE EXIST.] But, um, unless you have some painkillers on hand, or you’re happily married, don’t click on Goth Passions or Gothic Love Match, which also happens to be affiliated with Bike Love Match, Big Beautiful Lovers, and Horse and Country Lovers. These portals to passion and pain are, in a word, disheartening. Even my bitter and relentless sense of humor can’t buoy my way into filling out a profile. For now I’ll stick to OkCupid, and when that starts too feel too much like a petri dish filled with predators, I’ll take a peek at, “the #1 Online Dating Community for Gothic Singles and Friends!”

While all of this might seem wholly obvious and not all that interesting, I will leave you with this timely declaration. It’s New Year’s Eve. Tonight, the ball will drop, drunk people will puke, and, somewhere in the bowels of the East Village, a gothic New Year’s party will be coming to fruition. While it may not happen this evening, and perhaps not even this month, my sole resolution for 2012 is to have a dalliance with a goth boy. Or least two dates.

And you can bet you will hear about every attempt I make, duct tape in hand.

Maynard James Keenan. Yup.
* “People” being those who are, at the baseline, moderately attractive or not nauseating, employed or employable, articulate or not high on heroin.

** In the same restaurant, at the same time. Close enough.

The Story of How I Met Santa, A Cautionary Tale

For the first few years of my life, less than a decade, really, I had the Christmas every kid dreams about. The kind with a massive tree, lots of decorations throughout the house, and countless batches of cookies. The Johnny Mathis Christmas Album and Handel’s screeching Messiah would ring through the halls endlessly, mysterious shopping bags would be perched on every shelf above my head. (That would make every shelf in the house.)
Christmas morning there’d be gifts, so, so many gifts. Enough gifts that, even then, I knew there were too many. I wanted for nothing as a child, most likely as a result of my parents recognizing that their shitty, shitty marriage was irreparably damaging me. I mean, by first grade I’d repeatedly gotten in trouble for biting classmates, eating crayons, and failing basic math tests because I’d bark like a dog instead of writing down the answers. Barbie, Cabbage Patch, Light Bright, Rainbow Bright, Playdoh, you name it, if it was a toy in the 1980s, I got it on Christmas and broke it by New Years.

Other than excessive drinking, eating, and my cousins and I playing tag until we ripped our good dresses, there was one Christmas tradition that was kept more sacred than Sunday mass: Santa’s arrival. Each year on Christmas Eve, my cousins Sandy, Debbie, and I would conspire to convince their parents to let them sleep over. It would be nearly midnight when my aunt and uncle would begin to collect the shopping bags filled with unwrapped gifts and Tupperware containers of leftovers from my mom, ready to pile into their station wagon and head back to Hicksville, a seemingly interminable half-hour away from my house.

“Can we stay over?!” my cousin Sandra would exclaim, the princess and the youngest in her family of three kids. Well-accustomed to getting her way, it only seemed sensible that she’d ask first, as the three of us had determined that her parents would likely acquiesce immediately, succumbing to Sandy’s blond, pouty powers.

“No, sweetie,” my uncle would respond, searching for his coat among the pile of anonymous parkas on the couch, his cigarette and car keys already in hand.

“But we’re already heeeeere, and in pajaaaaamas,” Sandy’s older sister, Debbie, no more than ten, would diplomatically exclaim, yanking on whatever new pajama set that Uncle John had given the three of us girls, all identical, all pink, every year. (He’d still send them to us now, but he doesn’t have our addresses. Intentionally.)

“No. Santa’s going to come and you’re not going to be there…” their mother, Aunt Jackie, would say, exhaustion causing her words to run together, as though she, too, were excited for Santa’s arrival.

“But. But. But,” I’d stammer, the youngest, the dumbest, the one unused to negotiations since my parents had always just drowned out my whining with their marital spats. I was an only child and therefore unfamiliar with the UN Counsel-like statecraft of larger families.

“If Santa comes and you two aren’t home, he’s going to leave and not put any gifts out,” Aunt Jackie would finish, as though she’d known some poor child in her youth who’d suffered the grave effects of not being back at his house in time for Santa to do his work. A reputable Santa authority, that’s what my aunt was. She would then search the house for my cousin Vince, three years older than Debbie, twelve years older than me, and find him, wearing all black and cuddling with his goth girlfriend in front of some horror movie they’d brought to watch in lieu of partaking in the festivities. Vince and Quiet Scary Girlfriend did not seem to care about Santa, and they certainly weren’t clamoring to stay for the night.

Up until the age of seven or eight, the rest of the evening would go as followed: I’d hop around my stumbling parents singing, “Santa! Santa! Santa!” unaware of the fact that, after seventeen straight hours of hearing Johnny Mathis or Elvis sing about Christmas, punctuated by nothing more than liquor and a child screaming the word, “Santa!” like some Tourette’s-suffering cheerleader, my parents were regretting their shoddy methods of birth control. My mother would meekly succumb to my requests, leaving carrots out for the reindeer

“Why don’t you peel them like you do for me?!”
“Let’s peel them, mom!”
“No. Reindeer like the carrot skin. They need it…for their coats.”

And then we’d leave cookies out for Santa.

“Let’s leave out the oatmeal cookies!”
“Um. How about just chocolate chip? Santa loooves chocolate chip cookies.”
“How do you know what type of cookies Santa likes? Have you met Santa, mom?!”

And then we’d leave a note that I would then insist on writing.

“’Dear Santa, I hope you like the cookies and that the rain deer like the carrots with the skin for their coats. I am sure their coats are soft and shiny. If you want to wake me up and let me pet the deer like Rudof that would be really, really fun. I have been very good and so I should get a pony and if I do not get a pony I hope I get a Barbie and…” and…and…Mooooom! What should I say next?…”

Seemingly hours later, my mother would tuck me into bed.

“Let me stay up so I can say hi to Santa?!”
NO. No, no, no. Santa, er, Santa can’t work if every child stayed up, honey. He would, um, he would lose a lot of sleep. Time. He would lose a lot of time and not all of the children would get their toys. You really wouldn’t like that, would you, to cause Santa to neglect any little girls or boys?”

Guilty and still unconvinced, I would wait to hear my mother and father finish whatever clean up they were doing downstairs. This was often when, after hours of sugar-binging and Santa-obsessing, I’d pass the fuck out. If I didn’t, and silence finally descended upon our house, I’d sneak back downstairs and crouch under the dining room table, waiting to see Santa, so I could tell Sophie Steinbeck and Diana Baxter at school, and then maybe they’d stop calling me Anal-slee and pushing me in my locker.

As soon as I’d assumed my crouching post, the Catholic guilt would creep in. What I was doing was wrong! It was going to cause Santa to mess up…for the first time ever! I had to go to sleep, or I would ruin Christmas…for everyone!

Terror would seize my stomach and I’d race back up the stairs to my bedroom, hunkering down under the covers, hoping it wasn’t too late. Angry Old Testament God and Santa would get switched around in my head. I would be kept awake, plagued by fears that I’d get up the next morning to find Santa pitched over under our tree, frozen reindeer and bag of undelivered goodies on the roof, all because I’d try to spy on him.

Of course, if you’re an adult, you know that the Santa carnival can’t continue forever. (And if you’re a kid, let me just say, SPOILER ALERT.) I assume that most parents discuss how to best dispel this magic, they debate the safest way to burst the fairytale bubble and let their child down easy, teaching them that the true meaning of Christmas is rampant consumerism, religious skirmishes, and debating whether or not eggnog is a disgusting means of getting drunk. Of course, I wasn’t blessed with most parents. And so it was bound to happen.

I must have been around seven, maybe eight years old, that fateful Christmas. My cousins had been collected and said their goodbyes, I had showered and changed into my new pink nightgown. Downstairs was quiet. As always, I was convinced that maybe, just maybe, I could hide and steal a glimpse of Santa without destroying the holiday globally. If I didn’t interrupt him and stayed hidden and maybe held my breath, I reasoned, perhaps he wouldn’t lose any precious minutes. I could brag to my bullies and Santa could continue on his annual gig none the wiser.

The stairwell that separated my bedroom from the rest of the house was long, at least to an eight year old. Though more than a decade and a half has passed since I believed in Santa, I can remember counting the seventeen steps, taking them agonizingly slowly, creeping through the dark like Tom Cruise creeping through the darkest parts of his inner closet. The tree twinkled from the living room, I could see its multi-hued lights reflected in our polished floor. Once downstairs, I figured I would crouch in the corner, behind the table and chairs, a perfect hiding spot where I could blend in with the other homey objects in the dark. You know, side table, easy chair, curled-up eight year old asphyxiating herself.

“…of course you say it’s “not being a big deal,” you don’t have to lift a goddamn finger!”


My mother stormed out of my parents’ bedroom, clutching the fuzzy red stockings, swollen with gifts, to be hung by the chimney with care.

“If you weren’t so fucking uptight about everything…” a man’s voice hissed.

Um, Santa?

My father followed my mother out of the bedroom, a stack of presents barely obscuring his wine-flushed face.

“Uptight?! I have to do everything by myself around here! You just fucking sit there all la-di-da like a king!”

And, lo, the shattered marriage of my parents came upon me, and the glory of eternal single life shone around me. And I was sore afraid…until a little voice inside myself said, “Fear not! For, behold, if you go to bed and pretend that you didn’t see anything, you can at least have them think you still believe in the Easter bunny in April.”

So that’s just what I did. The next morning I was a little glum, but able to keep quiet about what I had seen. And, as spring arrived, I looked forward to getting my chocolatey treats, though suddenly the fact that I’d ever thought an overgrown rabbit brought easily-breakable baskets filled with candy to Catholic and Christian girls and boys seemed stupid. I mean, I’d seen live rabbits. They didn’t seem to have the capacity to discern religion just by looking at people, and they pooped a lot. My mother, ever influenced by the seasonal magic of holidays, cooed to me about how the Easter bunny was going to come. I smiled a wan smile. It was when she used it as a threat to get me to wear a new, lace-trimmed dress that I had to draw the line.

“Come on, Ainsley. Get dressed. It’s time for Church. If you don’t behave the Easter bunny won’t come and…”

“You don’t have to pretend that the Easter bunny is real. I know he’s not real. Just like Santa.”

If my parents marital spats had caused them to have any rift, the panic that seized them both that day was a uniting force. I was not the type of little kid to keep secrets. Weak, sensitive, prone to tantrums and fits of crying, I was nothing if not predictable. I’m sure my parents had each individually anticipated the histrionic blowout that would occur on that day in the future where the other parent would inform me that all of these whimsical, generous holiday figments were lies. Instead they got a resigned, crestfallen little kid sighing her way into a frilly dress, aware that the holidays were just a whole lot of stress over nothing.

I hate to say it, but it took a long time for me to get back into the Christmas spirit. I think I didn’t enjoy the holidays again until I learned to drink. (And then, once alcoholism took over, I had even more reason to dread them, Santa be damned. Sorry, family, for that whole thing with the screaming and the gravy boat.) This year, for the first time in nearly a decade, I’m looking forward to Christmas. Sure, my cousins are older, all but one married and creating families of their own. And, yeah, Santa is still make-believe. I don’t have kids or a husband, but I have a Chihuahua and a loving family, and being able to revel in a day that’s dedicated to warmth, cheer, goodwill, generosity, and some whimsical tale of giving is enough. I hope that, no matter what holiday you celebrate, even if you don’t celebrate any holiday at all, you’re able to enjoy it, dear Internet.

And if you have any doubts about whether or not you should get married, or exactly why we need to make merry, hide in your parents living room. There the true meaning of Christmas will be revealed.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Really. It is.

It’s mid-December in New York, which means that the streets are even more crowded than usual. Between the tourists, grumbling locals with shopping bags, and the Christmas tree vendors, it’s nearly impossible to do something simple like get a package of condoms from the bodega down the block without hip-checking someone you don’t know.

Usually I meet this time of the year with the sort of dread and resignation reserved for green, furry mountain-dwellers with dachshunds, the kind who indulge in major felonies and child abuse in order to cope with the holidays. Over the past five years or so I’ve been anywhere from destitute to unemployed, so dealing with the season of overindulgence and rampant consumerism usually consisted of me hiding my head under a blanket and praying that it would end quickly, with little as few carols and Christmas cards as possible. I expected this year to be no different.

Maybe it was the end of the NBA lockout, and the fact that they scheduled the greatest gift of all: a Christmas Day triple-header to start the season, featuring both my home team (the New York slightly-injured, AARP-eligible Knicks!) and my favorite team (the two-man Los Angeles Clippers!)

Or maybe it has to do with my puppy, who makes me view nearly everything, including excrement, as awesome and fascinating.

Maybe it’s because I dabbled in both prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications over the past year.

Maybe it’s because of Tim Tebow. It’s probably because of Tim Tebow.

Regardless, my heart grew three sizes this season, and I can only say that I’m full of glad tidings and tinsel. I am in the holiday spirit. What the fuck.

I even put up lights. Sorta.

(there's usually no dog on the radiator, or lights tied to the windowsill)

So I’m all holly and jolly and shit. And why not? It only comes once a year. I’m single, I’m sober, I own a shit-eating Chihuahua. There’s a lot to be grateful for, and I want to share the glad tidings of giving and all that. And cookies! I want to share cookies. With everyone. From my nearly constant use of the Internet and various social networks, I’ve learned that not all of you are in the mood to roast some chestnuts over an open fire. Kenny Chesney, maybe. But not nuts, unless they belong to a Republican candidate. But because I can’t bear for y’all to suffer through the season, here are some peculiar facts that will at least make it temporarily interesting. I hope.

Atheists! Avoid feeling awkward! Sure, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and the word itself is a contraction of the words Christ’s Mass, but putting an X up on the bitch doesn’t change the meaning. The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is ‘chi,’ which is the equivalent of the modern Roman alphabet’s letter X. So basically Xmas is actually an ecclesiastical abbreviation that’s been in circulation since, well, forever. This will also be awesome for those of you fighting with idiot conservatives who say there’s a war on Christmas ‘cause it’s written Xmas. No it’s not. Conservative FAIL, as per usually.

Feminist caribou! First of all, reindeer are technically a subspecies of caribou, a non-flying land four-stomached land mammal. What’s interesting is that all reindeer grow antlers, both male and female deer, but the men lose their headgear in late November through mid-December, while lady deer retain theirs until spring. Which means that, if you see Christmas cards, cartoons, or other depictions of Santa’s eco-friendly vehicle, and the reindeer have antlers, they’re female. Rudolph the red-nosed, slightly gender-confused reindeer, had a very shiny nose…probably because applying lipstick with a hoof is hard.

The Real Housewives of Christmas Baked Goods! More fun, feminist facts for your festivities: both gingerbread and fruitcake are the desserts of spinsters. In the 18th century, British wedding guests who were unmarried believed that if they put a piece of fruitcake under their pillow before they went to bed, they would dream of their future spouse. Meanwhile, other British single ladies would gobble down gingerbread “husbands” (ie, men) to garner some luck when it came to meeting the real thing, giving a whole new definition to the term “maneater.”

Tree munchies! While on the topic of holiday sweets, you might not know it, but those cool, little boxes of Barnum’s Animal Crackers were imported to America from England in the 1800s as Christmas ornaments. Their string was meant to make them easy to hang on Christmas trees, so maybe grab a few, string ‘em up, and then put out some animal crackers for Santa. Oh, and also, Christmas trees are edible. Pine needles are a good source of vitamin C, while the nuts and cones aren’t exactly bad for you. Tell that to your vegan guests, though they might expect you to serve something a little more delicious. Like textured vegetable protein. Yum!

Boo! If you visit the Ukraine, they’re not having a white trash Christmas by merely recycling Halloween decorations; they often decorate their trees with artificial spider webs since finding a spider’s web on Christmas morning is considered good luck. You still have no excuse not to throw away your rotten pumpkin.

Bad Santa! Thinking of taking your niece or nephew to get a photo with Santa this week? Maybe just take ‘em out for ice cream instead. Nearly 7% of mall Santa applicants were found to have criminal backgrounds, while the rest of them are just creepy. (Not a real statistic, but why take a kid and shove them in a holiday jumper to put on some strange dude’s lap? It’s kind of traumatizing. Case and point.)

The Twelve Days of Dogma! Like the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”? Find it hilarious when someone forgets the words or some large network forces overpaid athletes to humiliate themselves and sing it to their fans? Well, some believe that the song was created as a means for Catholic kids to remember important parts of their faith. Here’s the Rainman-like breakdown, though it’s been widely disputed by urban legend sites: A partridge in a pear tree would be Jesus; two turtle doves would be the New and Old Testaments; three French hens are faith, hope, and charity; four calling birds are the four gospels; five golden rings would be the first five books of the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Pentateuch, which records the history and laws of ancient Israel; six geese a-laying are the six days of Creation; seven swans a-swimming are the Seven Sacraments of the Holy Spirit; eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes; nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit; ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments; eleven pipers piping would be the eleven faithful disciples; and twelve drummers drumming are the number of doctrines in the Apostles’ Creed.

Another interesting numbers-related fact about a song that loves to count so much, if you got all of the gifts mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you’d get one up until the next time you sung it. The total is 364.

Thanksgiving carols! In 1857, James Pierpont wrote “Jingle Bells.” The only difference? It was called “One-Horse Open Sleigh” and it was originally penned for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. So when you start complaining next year about Christmas decorations making an appearance right after Halloween, just remember, they’ve been jingling the damn bells before Thanksgiving ever since the middle of the 19th century.

All howly night And, in case you want to tease me for buying Booger a special Christmas stocking filled with treats, a survey reported that 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts each year from their owners. I’m assuming that almost all of them were Corgis.

Next week: How I learned about Santa! Don’t worry, it contains childhood trauma.

A Very Tim Tebow Christmas Card