In my experience, birthdays as a single person are challenging. When someone in a couple has a birthday, it’s kind of the partner’s “job” to make her feel special, throw a party, invite friends to dinner, and so on. When you’re single, it seems a little attention-seeking or even pathetic to arrange your own festivities. Now, I’m all for celebrating the wonderful woman I am. When I bought my house, I took the opportunity to invite my friends over for a joint housewarming/birthday party to celebrate this accomplishment as well as my 27th birthday. It was one of the few times I’ve had a group of people over, as I’m not much of an entertaining type. But as years since passed, I’ve never understood how to commemorate my “special day”. My opinion is that others should be celebrating me on that day. I balk at the idea of bringing in snacks to the office – what the hell, I have to bake for you jerks? – but of course I always do, because, well, that’s what one does in corporate America.
So when people ask “what are you doing for your birthday?”, I always feel a bit uncomfy. I’m not one to typically make a big deal of my own birthday, but somehow it seems a bit lame to have to respond “nothing”. So this year, when I received a postcard from a local Mexican restaurant with an offer of a free meal during my birthday month, I thought what the hey. While out celebrating another friend’s birthday, I asked a couple of friends of mine if they liked Caliente, the Mexican restaurant offering my free meal. I explained that I have a free meal coming for my birthday. One friend responded “Why, you don’t want it?” as if I was offering up my coupon to someone who would. Yeesh. “Uh, no, I was asking because I’m looking for someone to go with me.” The embarassment increased when my other friend, the first friend’s husband commented “So, you’re the only one who gets a free meal, but you want to drag the rest of us out there with you?” He’s always been a bit of a curmudgeon, but this seemed a little cold even for him.
The following Friday night, while out celebrating the birthday of a dear friend’s girlfriend, I told the friend about my meal at Caliente and asked if she’d like to join me. She told me she’s been really busy at work, so could we play it by ear? I said sure, that’s fine, and then lost hope that anything would ever materialize, given her non-committal nature.
I gave up on the meal until another friend of mine called to tell me she wanted to take me out for my birthday. Whew, finally. I told her about the free Mexican meal and we made plans for April 29, just on the verge of expiration. So tomorrow night, I am getting my darn birthday meal. Then today, the second friend I asked to join me who wouldn’t commit, asked if I wanted to go to Caliente to celebrate “our” birthdays on May 1, her birthday, one day past expiration of my coupon. Two days after eating there with my friend, it wasn’t the most appealing option. But it’s her birthday, so what am I gonna say? The real bitch of it is that the first couple I asked to go are good friends with this gal as well, so likely they will be there too. I have half a mind to skip dinner, eat on my own and meet them for a margarita afterwards, but that seems kind of petty. It’s just a bit irritating, and to be honest, the restaurant isn’t all that great to begin with. Not somewhere I’d want to go eat two meals within the same three day time period. Sure, take my birthday. I didn’t want it anyway. BAH