I love my birthday.
A lot of people hate birthdays, but for me, it's the one day out of the year I can lord a small but significance amount of power over my friends and family- and get away with it. I'm sure it's how Paris Hilton feels every day of her life.
I usually start two weeks before my birthday by requesting my girlfriends take me out to an overpriced restaurant. I always tell them we'll 'keep it small this year', and then proceed to invite about twenty extra people (my friend's niece, the guy in the mail room at work, etc.) to the list. After my friends end up scrambling to negotiate with the restaurant to add additional people to the reservation, I usually 'change my mind' and request another venue.
"But we had to move heaven and earth to get twenty-six people on the 8:45pm reservation Saturday night," my friend Bree complained over the phone to me. "I don't know why you don't want to eat there anymore- I even got us seated up front by the window."
"I just think the lighting washes me out at that restaurant," I sighed into the phone, staring at my cuticles. "I mean, it's my birthday. Shouldn't my guests be able to view me in soft candlelight? I don't think that's asking too much."
Bree sighed. "I'll figure out another place."
A few days before my big night out, I like to complain that I have 'nothing to wear' for the birthday dinner, and then my friends all rush to calm me.
"You have that adorable red silk dress," Holly cooed to me over drinks at our favorite happy hour place. "You are SO gorgeous in it."
"So you want me to look like a fat fucking whore on my birthday?" I accused, bitterly, and slammed the rest of my wine. "Because that's what I look like in that dress. A fat fucking whore. It's like you don't care about my birthday at all." I managed to tear up a little bit.
"Um...er- no, no, honey!" Holly quickly tried to back pedal. "Really, you look great in that dress- but- well, did you want to borrow my new BCBG dress? You know, the one with the sequins? I haven't worn it yet, but it's your birthday and all..." I could tell she didn't really want to lend it to me, but I had her painted into a corner.
"Well, if you insist," I sniffed, pouting.
On the night of my birthday, my friends picked me up and drove me to the restaurant, fawning over my cute hair and wardrobe and basically tiptoeing around me like I was a minefield really to blow. I was seated at the head of the table like a Russian Czar and then proceeded to complain about everything, mostly because I was enjoying the negative attention I was receiving from my friends as they breathlessly assured me how great everything was.
"What is this wine?! Grape juice mixed with iodine? It tastes like shit," I complained dramatically, spitting some of it back up in my glass.
"No, it's great wine, the best, the most expensive- we spared no expense." Bree talked quickly. "We spared NO expense," she repeated.
"Well, okay, but the waiter hates me," I whined, sticking my bottom lip out. "I can tell."
"No, the waiter LOVES you," Holly interjected. "When you told him he's moving slower than a resident at an assisted care facility, I think he thought it was cute," she said, lying. "Here, open this gift I got you!" She was trying to distract me with a shiny pink package.
"Thanks," I said, sadly, like an abandoned orphan, and opened it to reveal a spa gift card for a facial at a fancy salon. "Oh...." I frowned.
"Well, a facial- I guess you think I need one with all the wrinkles I'm going to be getting in my old age," I said, a tear sliding down my cheek. "It is hard enough turning 34 without you rubbing it in my face- no pun intended." I dramatically put my head into my hands.
"No no no, you look so young," Bree said, with Holly nodding furiously next to her. "Like a college girl- no, like a HIGH SCHOOL girl, NO- you look like a pre-pubescent 6th grader," she continued, emphatically.
I sniffed through my tears. "Really? A 6th grader?" I felt a little better.
"Yeah, like, I'm surprised they didn't bring crayons and a coloring book over for you when they sat us all down." Bree didn't even flinch as she was feeding me these lines.
When the check finally came and everybody took out 2nd mortgages on their homes to pay for it (probably because I had ordered both the steak AND the lobster), I clinked a fork to my glass, and stood up.
"Speech!" The guy from the mail room at my work shouted from the end of the table.
I cleared my throat.
"First of all, I'd like to thank you all for coming out tonight to celebrate my birthday," I said, as I looked out on a sea a faces staring back at me. My girlfriends, who had organized the event, looked tired but relieved that the night was finally ending.
I continued. "I'm sure there's a lot of people in this restaurant wondering what a beautiful girl like me is doing at a table full of degenerate misfits, and I have to be honest- it's partly because there's nothing good on television on Saturday nights, and partly because some of my other, more attractive friends are busy tonight." I paused and sipped my wine, watching the smiles on my friends faces grow tighter. "But really, I am glad each of you are in my life. I mean, sure- do I know hobos with brighter futures than half the people at this table? Maybe. Do dogs have better tables manners than most of you? Yes." I paused again, and dramatically looked off into the distance. "But that's not what's important. What's important is that we're all together- celebrating my birthday on this cold December night. And while youth fades- friends are forever." I raised my glass as my guests awkwardly did the same, their eyes shooting daggers at me.
"To me!" I shouted, gaily.
Later that evening when my friends dropped me off in front of my place and peeled away, the tires of their car squealing on the asphalt, I sighed as another birthday slipped by.
Can't wait until next year!
Quarter Life Whatever
4 years ago