Thanks to the #MeToo Movement, it’s become clear it’s high time to get rid of some long-standing traditions: sexual predation by men in power, friends and colleagues who turn a blind eye to — or worse, enable — misconduct, useless H.R. departments, answering the door in a robe, secret under-the-desk buttons that lock the office door, not-so-stealth over-the-phone masturbation sessions with guileless colleagues, forced foot rubs, pussy grabbing, mall solicitation of tweens, child molestation, roofies, date rape, stranger rape, and, oh yeah, fucking mistletoe.
First, did you know mistletoe is a conniving parasitic plant that attaches to an unsuspecting tree or shrub, viciously sucking the life-force from its host without consent? Its berries are also toxic, causing serious health problems to those who ingest it. So, mistletoe is basically the Harvey Weinstein of plant-based holiday decorations!
People in the Middle Ages thought mistletoe helped with fertility and vitality. You know what else people in the Dark Ages believed? That boar bile enemas were good for you and regular bloodletting via leeches was a smart way to stay healthy. Some traditions should be happily abandoned. Thank you, Science.
According to Wikipedia, the custom of kissing under mistletoe dates back to late 18th century England, but really picked up steam as an adorable little tool of Christmas-time sexual harassment and shaming with 19th-century Victorian men, who agreed to the following rules: any (old, fat, pock-faced, Scrooge-breathed) dude was allowed to kiss any woman standing underneath the mistletoe and, conveniently, bad luck would surely befall her should she have the audacity to reject his wet fish lips and probing Frankentongue. In some cases, the only way to get the forced face sucking to stop was to pick a berry off for every “kiss” until the branch was bare. (Apparently, a swift kick to the nuts wasn’t considered very lady like in Victorian England — and still isn’t today in most “civilized” circles.)
The clever (read: evil) placement of mistletoe over the door, often the only entrance or exit to a room, has given creepers over the last century the chance to plan their pouncing on unsuspecting women. Women who are just looking to get from one place to another without the threat of sexual sucker-punches. Women who are trained to be polite and accommodating and sensitive to delicate egos, who don’t want to rock the boat, cause a scene, or risk losing their jobs. Oh look, there’s Bill, the Head of Accounting, mischievously pointing up at the little berry-strewn branch tied neatly overhead with a festive red bow — kill me now! Mistletoe is the PG-version of Louis CK blocking the door with his dick in his hand.
Martha Stewart, get on board: it’s time to ditch mistletoe as a staple of holiday decoration. If we could count on a sweeping societal rewrite of the mistletoe tradition, then we could keep it around as just a harmless excuse for long-term couples to consensually engage in a little exhibitionistic PDA during the holidays to invigorate their sagging libidos. But as long as there are apologists (we’re looking at you Matt Damon, Bill from Accounting, and everyone’s creepy step-uncle) who claim this is just a little frisky fun for people who can take a joke, then fuck mistletoe.
Stick with a nice poinsettia instead.