2018’s Big Breakups May Have Destroyed Our Faith In Love - Again - But We Learned Some Valuable Lessons

From baby names (bad!) to BDE (good!).

From Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan (RIP, teenage you) to the emotional whiplash that was Pete and Ariana, 2018 brought love, patience and pain to those of us who project our own fantasies and hopes onto the relationships of famous people we do not know.

We may not have learned to, y’know, not do that any more, because we will never learn that. I refuse to.

But we did gather some other valuable wisdom to take with us on our path towards true love, or at least a big fat ring, two kids with dumb names and eventual matching Instagram breakup posts about respecting each other’s journeys.


Don’t call your son Bear

Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne called their son Bear, and Alicia Silverstone and her now ex-husband also called their son Bear. Both couples split this year.

Coincidence? Or did they sit up at night, staring at their sleeping partners, realising that’s a ridiculous thing to actually legally name your infant child, and wondering what else they might have been wrong about?

We may never know. But is it worth the risk?


Keep the number of matching tattoos to one or two, maybe…

Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande got at least eight tattoos for and about each other in the four months or so they were together, and they’re already having to cover them up. My poor heart may never recover from that rollercoaster ride.


…but hey, everything is a lesson

“Sry I dipped.”

We may never know if Pete was the one who taught Ariana patience, love or pain, but she seems to have emerged into a new creative peak period.

And he’s clearly been having a rough time since the breakup, but at least now everyone knows he has a HUUUUUUUGE penis – can’t hurt his options, right?


Some things really are too beautiful to last

Jenny Slate is obviously gorgeous and talented, but she’s still not necessarily the exact person you’d picture to end up dating Captain America. As the equal second-best of the Hollywood Chrises*, the fact that Evans’ taste in women runs to smart, slightly goofy indie actresses instead of, like, exclusively Victoria’s Secret models gave us a little hope that it might also run to, say, pale and perpetually tired-looking brunettes who write snarky things about pop culture for a living and eat noodles in bed. Just for example.

Unfortunately, they did not get married and stay happy together forever, therefore we’re all dying alone without getting to wake up next to Steve Rogers even once.

*For reference: 1: Pine, 2: Evans/Hemsworth, 4: Pratt. No correspondence will be entered into.


Airing your dirty laundry in public works… kinda

Cardi B and Offset do not have a reality show of their own (yet) but they might as well at this point. Whether it’s Cardi slurping coffee as she talks about how much she misses that “heavy” D “destroying” her, Offset interrupting her at work with embarrassing flower displays, or the two of them jet-skiing in Puerto Rico in an apparent reunion… only for Cardi to inform everyone that no, she just wanted that D, was she not clear about that?

So let that be your final lesson of 2018: the ultimate Big Dick Energy is being honest about what you want, whether it’s love and commitment, or just a BD.

Let that be the E you take into 2019.

To Get Through The Awkward Conversations At Your Family Christmas, Practice Saying No Thank You And None Of Your Business

Try this one weird trick!

Christmas takes a lot out of you. From the shopping and the planning to the travelling and the drinking, it’s all pretty exhausting – and that’s before you end up trapped in a house with the people who shaped the majority of the hangups that plague you in adulthood, some of whom are going to ask you a lot of questions about your life choices.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It can be hard to deal with rude or nosy people effectively because you don’t want to cause drama – and if it’s someone who’s older than you you might still feel like you need to be deferential, even though you don’t sit on the kids’ table any more.

But here are two things to remember: number one, you are a person, and your business is your business.

And number two: “No” is a complete sentence.

If you’re trying to drink less or not eating meat, and someone’s trying to hand you an extra glass of wine or a turkey leg, just say “No, thank you.” If they hit you back with a jolly “Oh, why not?” or call you a spoilsport or a scrooge or something, repeat “No, I’m good, thanks” with your blankest, politest smile.

I can’t stress this enough: it’s not rude to say “No, thank you”, or to decline to elaborate on your reasons for saying it.

If someone is interrogating you about why you’re still single at the ripe old age of 27, why you’re not eating meat, why you’re still with That Dickhead, why you broke up with That Nice Boy, why you posted about Trans Day Of Remembrance and what that is exactly, why you chose your current career over [insert lucrative but exhausting or largely evil industry that made someone’s son rich enough to buy a house at 22], why you’ve never had a boy/girlfriend (with the insinuation being that they suspect you’re gay, which is enough to deal with without trying to explain to Aunt Kerry what asexuality is), why you went to your partner’s for Christmas Day and you’re only with your OWN family for Boxing Day (“I mean, it could be Pop’s last year”)…

The temptation can be strong to mutter something awkward, or to snap back and ask them about whether they think they’re mostly to blame for their recent divorce, Murray.

But if they go low, you go high. Just say brightly and politely: “I don’t really feel like talking about that today, thanks!” or “Wow, that’s a bit of a rude question, isn’t it?” Get specific if you have to: “My relationship with my ex/my work/my body is really only my business, so let’s talk about something else!” Then ask what they’re looking forward to next year, or what they’re up to on NYE.

Most people will be so surprised by being called out that they’ll welcome the change of subject.

If they persist, you can just nod and say, “I think I’ll get a refill, do you need another one?” and head over to the esky, or turn to the person on your other side at the table and ask them to pass the gravy.

If it makes you nervous to straight-up shut someone down, you don’t have to come right out with it. Just immediately divert the conversation to your niece’s newly lost tooth, or a present you saw them getting from someone else.

And if they’re somehow immune to repeated, explicit feedback that they’re being rude – as drunk people and baby boomers often are – politely excuse yourself and find a job to do.

Go and see if someone needs help peeling potatoes or prawns, entertaining a sugar-buzzed seven-year-old, or just cleaning something. Gather the discarded wrapping paper for recycling.

Grab two glasses of bubbles or a sneaky plate of rum balls or shortbread, and go hide in the kitchen or by the BBQ with your favourite family gossip – or get very busy polishing silverware in a quiet corner with your favourite podcast. 

Because along with rude old people, one of the other constants of Christmas is that there’ll be at least one kitchen martyr who’s doing way more than their share of the work while everyone else is off asking awkward questions.

All I Want For Christmas Is 'Santa Tell Me', Ariana Grande's Massively Underrated Festive Banger From 2013

Because there's only so many times you can thrash Mariah.

To begin with: I intend zero disrespect to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’.

It is flawless, timeless, ageless, in a world where very few songs about anything are even one of those, let along songs about or set during the inescapably cheesy Christmas season. 

Me, skipping every version of ‘Wonderful Christmastime’.

Just last night I watched a bar full of grown men absolutely go off to every word. If it somehow wasn’t an undisputed classic in everyone’s mind before Love Actually, it certainly is now.

But ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is nearly a quarter of a century old. It was released in 1994, only ten years after Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’. It is closer to Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ (1973), chronologically, than it is to right now.

It is only six years younger than Die Hard and Scrooged, a mere twelve months behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, almost a full decade ahead of Love Actually and Elf.

It’s really hard to write a good, modern Christmas song. One that you sometimes want to put on in March just because it’s such a banger. One that doesn’t make anybody groan when it comes up on the playlist, that feels fun and festive and actually about something other than “CHRISTMAS IS SO AMAZING OMG” or “Christmas makes me kind of horny”.

And while there are have been some decent, quietly dreamy Christmas songs written in recent years by everyone from Coldplay and The Killers to She & Him and Sufjan Stevens, we are really lacking in new classics. Actual bangers.

Except we’re not. Because the undisputed queen of 2018 Ariana Grande gave us one five years ago.

If you don’t know about ‘Santa Tell Me’, now you know.

From her 2013 holiday album Christmas Kisses – before ‘Problem’, ‘Break Free’, or ‘Side To Side’, let alone ‘thank u, next‘ – ‘Santa Tell Me’ is like the shy little R&B sister to the all-out pop of Mariah’s classic.

It’s got everything you’d expect – sleigh bells, toy-like glockenspiels, sleek but dreamy strings, a direct address to Saint Nick regarding Ari’s love life which you really shouldn’t overthink from a logical perspective.

After the bridge it bursts into these lush layers of choir vocals, harmonies and a sublime handclap breakdown while she belts over the top, every dollar you’d expect to be poured a major pop release audible in the production. It’s a slower BPM, but it’s still fun as hell.

But it’s also surprisingly vulnerable, in some of the same ways ‘All I Want…’ has a raw, putting-it-all-on-the-line edge to it.

Santa, tell me if he really cares / ‘Cause I can’t give it all away if he won’t be here / Next year,” she pleads in the chorus.

“I’ve been down this road before / Fell in love on Christmas night / But on New Year’s Day I woke up and he wasn’t by my side.”

After a year where so many people fell unexpectedly in love with Grande, got invested in her ups and downs and the newfound emotional honesty of her 2018 sound, there’s no better time to embrace ‘Santa Tell Me’.

It’s the most perfect, sugar-sweet, emotionally real Christmas banger – of this century.

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