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Single-Minded: Werewolves and Winter Boos


My friends say I've been acting weird. But really I've just been werewolfing myself lately. "You know when a dude knows he's going to turn into a werewolf and locks himself into a jail?" explains Tracy Jordan to Liz Lemon on NBC's 30 Rock when she finds him locked in his dressing room.


Basically, it's a Hail Mary move. A last-ditch effort to avoid an inevitable loss by avoiding life. Lots of folks do it around this time of year, despite the fact that it never works in the movies. 

I got an e-mail a few weeks ago from a good friend, mapping out all the holiday parties we should be sneaking into this month. One of the main goals (aside from free drinks), according to her, was finding a "winter boo." Because if we're bored and want to board up against the cold, isn't everybody else, too?


Not three days later, a popular celebrity blogger posted this on her Twitter page: "I'm trying to find a winter boo and industry events is not where it's at #thingsmyfriendssay." After I retweeted it because of the déjà vu of it all, another one of my "tweeples" asked if I coined the term. No. But I did get it in print.

The same time last year, the Washington Post published a profile of me that I still consider the Lord Voldemort of my professional career: that which shall not be named. In it I was quoted as saying about a gentleman caller, "He could be my winter boo. I need a boo. My life sucks. When your life sucks, a winter boo with his own apartment would be awesome to have."

Now, hyperbole is a dish best served in person. Obviously my life doesn't suck, and if it did, being "booed up" is hardly a cure-all for seasonal loneliness.

The Post writer went on to define the not definable: "A winter boo is someone you hook up with when it's cold outside, someone good enough to take to office holiday parties, someone who has a car and who can drive when the wind is whipping down the sidewalk."


And a genius named Helena added, "It's like a booty call, but it's not," followed by, "A winter boo doesn't know he's a winter boo." Whack. Last year, that all made sense in the same way that locking yourself in jail to avoid killing your loved ones makes sense to a mutated man staring at a full moon.

The very concept of a winter boo is nothing but a Band-Aid for a broken heart. It's useless, but it beats standing around and doing nothing. (Or allowing yourself to admit how much that last hit hurt.) So for the uncoupled, the onslaught of social gatherings — from the annual legislative conference of the Congressional Black Caucus to the nondenominational holiday-party season — is an opportunity to secure a fake relationship before the last leaf drops.


"This is like the worst time to get into a relationship, because you don't know what you've got until the spring," joked a comedian I saw on Tuesday. What looks good in a puffy coat and snow pants might not pass the test come April.

What's more, having spent the winter avoiding emotional mirrors, you probably won't look as good in the spring, either. But none of that matters when you don't want to hibernate alone.


On Wednesday, one of the designated nights for winter boo watching, I ran into two "exes." One's getting married. We spent half an hour talking about buying houses and having babies. Listening to him, I've never been happier. While everybody else is playing "the numbers game" on Facebook, reaching out over cyberspace for a status message of intimacy, he ignored the stats and beat the odds.

So I'm changing things up this year. I'll be acting weird this winter, werewolfing myself in the hope that I won't reach out for a warm body out of boredom. It rarely works in the movies, I know, but that never stopped anyone from trying to beat the odds.


Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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