52949-kiss-under-the-mistletoeDear Mary

Every Christmas Uncle Vern carries fake mistletoe in his pocket, surprising the young women in attendance throughout the day by sneaking up behind them and dangling it over their heads and demanding that “tradition be upheld”.

The more he drinks, the more frequently he produces the mistletoe and the sloppier and handsier his kisses become.

Signed, I hate to be impolite but…


Ah sweet child

There is no more fitting metaphor for the extended family Christmas than the mistletoe – in botany speak it has a “cosmopolitan distribution” which just means that it is bloody everywhere and it comes from the order Santalales (seriously).

And it is a parasite.

Although there are many native Australian mistletoes, your uncle probably produces the more photogenic red or white berried version to stake his claim on your lips. But you are well within your rights to refuse to participate as it is a complete shit-stick of a tradition.


The word “mistletoe” derives from two Anglo-Saxon words “Mistel” meaning dung, and “tan” meaning stick.

In spite of Justin Bieber’s blatant misrepresentation of the attractiveness of the tradition, justin-bieber-kissing-underthe mistletoe is never brandished by anyone you would like to lock lips with.

So what to do?

First, deflect.

I find that there is nothing older white men like more than hearing young women speak loudly about menstruation.

So next time he goes in for a smooch, why not treat old Uncle Vern to a detailed lecture about all of mistletoe’s interesting applications through the ages?

I’m sure he’d love to hear that long before some doubtlessly plug-ugly bloke in Ye Olde England decided to transform a Norse tradition of associating mistletoe with love and friendship into his swift path to finally getting some action, the ancient Greeks were using it to treat menstrual cramps and spleen disorders.

Or that it has variably been used to promote muscle relaxation before childbirth, to hasten menstruation or to boost fertility. Maybe you could then lean in quietly to helpfully suggest that he resurrect its traditional use in treating impetigo, dandruff, ulcers, warts or syphilis or in increasing urine production. Then smile sweetly.

If the old bugger hasn’t shuffled off shaking his head by then, switch tactics and do what every woman – of any age – should do when confronted by a man wanting to force his attentions on her – stand your ground and very loudly and very clearly shout “Take your fucking hands off me right now”.

Then, take your lips-over-which-you-and-you-alone-have-complete-control, touch them to the edge of a glass of champagne and toast yourself.

Cheers darling!




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