Birthday people are people who place a lot of importance on their birthday. They are devastated if friends and family forget their birthdays, or if planned celebrations and presents fall below expectations. They may announce their birthdays a week in advance so that their coworkers are prepared to take them out for lunch. And they will likely take off from work on their actual day.
Even though they make non-birthday people a bit exasperated sometimes, birthday people make a big deal about other people’s birthdays–even those folks who aren’t into birthdays. And that’s kind of nice.
It has been my experience that birthday people tend to be women. Not all women are birthday people (I am not one). But I don’t think I have personally met a guy who was into birthdays.
Is this something you have noticed as well? If so, why do you think this is the case?
I’ve also never met a male “birthday person” (although, as you said, most women aren’t into birthdays either). The shift seems to happen fairly early - in elementary school, everyone celebrates birthdays, while by high school, boys aren’t having big parties or anything. My WAG is that women are more “allowed” by society to take interest in frivolous things; it’s also the reason why parents aren’t quite as disapproving if their daughter wants to major in Fine Arts or Creative Writing as they would be if their son was.
Also, birthday cake, decorations, cards, etc, are largely seen as feminine, so it could be a chicken-or-egg type loop.
I taught primary school for many years. One of the greatest threats a child could make to another was to say “you can’t come to my birthday party!” Even if said birthday party was six months away and nowhere near the planning stages it tended to wound. I would see a child on the verge of tears and ask what was wrong, to be told “She said I couldn’t come to her birthday party!”
The pronoun i used there was not random. This specific threat was common among the girls in my classes. Among the boys, not so much. Even at age five, birthdays (or birthday parties anyway) seem to matter more among girls than among boys.
My husband takes his birthday very seriously (planning stuff to do & taking the day or several days off, not as in wild party). I am NOT birthday oriented, other than I like it as an excuse to go out for a really good meal. I don’t expect or want presents, and I’m horrible about remembering other people’s birthdays and I’m not a present-giver by nature. I’ll DO something for you, but I’d rather not try and get you something “special”.
I don’t really like big celebrations anyway. I’m not into big spreads at holidays, weddings make me cringe (even my own), birthdays and anniversaries and slightly more interesting, but not by much.
Agree. My ex-husband was really big into birthdays (and anniversaries and even stupid imagined anniversaries, like, “Do you know what day this is?” “No, what?” “It’s the anniversary of the first time we had pizza together! Oh, my god, how could you not know that?!”) But it always stood out because it was pretty unusual in my experience.
If I was going to try to give it a “why,” I’d speculate that the modern American birthday party is mostly about social celebration, and women (generalization alert) seem programmed to measure their social status by how much of an inconvenience they can be to others and still have those others willing to do it.
But maybe I just need another cup of coffee this morning.
I’m a man. I’m not into birthdays at all. I think it’s just a bizarre thing to celebrate. I mean, technically, it’s your parents’ accomplishment, not yours. All you did was show up, and you didn’t even have a choice in the matter.
I’m a woman and I’m completely baffled by adult birthday hoopla, but I think you’re right in that it’s usually women who embrace it, at least in my experience. My theory is that it’s part of the “princess” mentality, which I absolutely loathe.
I’m a woman, and my birthday happens to be tomorrow.
I seem to occupy some kind of middle ground: I retain a childlike giddiness about my birthday, which extends to the entire month, but I hardly ever mention it – outside of message boards – and I would never expect anyone else to remember/give a crap (except an SO, but I’ve been single on my birthday far more often than not). When I wake up tomorrow morning I will roll over and whisper to the dog, “It’s my birthday!” I’ll carry it with me like a special secret all day, and will enjoy feeling happy for no reason other than knowing it’s my birthday. I’m not turning 12 so I won’t feel the need to go around telling everyone, but I also feel no need to hide the information: some people at work already know (e.g., my officemate, and the team “cruise director” who knows everyone’s birthday), and it will show up on Facebook. My best friends offered to take me out to dinner tonight, but if they hadn’t volunteered I certainly wouldn’t have asked anyone to do anything.
(There was one year [not last year] when I threw a birthday brunch for myself, but interestingly enough it was a time when my closest friends were gay men and birthdays were a big enough deal that it was acceptable for single people to organize something for themselves. Asking a handful of good friends to go out to brunch with me on my actual birthday is just about the only kind of “throw myself a party” thing I can ever imagine doing.)
So I guess I’m a “birthday person” in terms of feeling happy about it, but not to the point of making others pretend to feel happy for me.
Once I got out of high school, I ceased to care about my birthday. I don’t want parties or gifts. I do like when someone acknowledges in the sense of “Sure glad you’re still around after another year” but beyond that, I just don’t care.
I got my pilot’s license on my 21st birthday - it was a coincidence, and the license meant much more to me than the fact of the date. I never cared to make a big deal about milestone birthdays. The next one that matters to me will be 65 or 66 (haven’t decided yet) when I finally decide to re-retire and apply for social security.
In 2014, my mom turned 80 and I turned 60 - it seemed a good excuse to go on a cruise together. And, frankly, the only reason I tied it to our birthdays was to keep one specific sister from “surprising” us by showing up at the ship. I just wanted time with my mom.
My husband, on the other hand, will let me know weeks ahead of time that his birthday is coming. I’ve thrown him a few surprise parties because he’s into that. I’m pretty sure it’s because his parents made birthdays an occasion while in my family, you got your choice of supper and cake, plus $3 (which was a lot of money to a kid in the 60s.) The only birthday party I had when living at home was one my best friend in high school threw for me. So I guess I’m predisposed not to care.
But it’s January 23, if anyone wants to send me a chocolate love offering.
I think it has to do with family culture, at least partially. My husband grew up in a large family that gathers for all celebrations. Birthdays and anniversaries are always marked by everyone. As someone from a small family that didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays beyond childhood, I find the expectation to remember and celebrate all those birthdays…tiring, to say the least.
Guess the above tells you everything you need to know, huh? I love celebrating everyone’s birthday. It’s just a chance to show someone you love them, eat good food and have fun. But I am female, so there’s that. My husband also likes lots of acknowledgement for his too, so I’m glad we’re a pair. I do, however, agree with the fact that this mostly seems to be a woman thing, in my experience as well.
Both me and one of my step-brothers have birthdays very close to Christmas. In that sort of situation birthdays rapidly get downgraded even at a young age and by the time you are in your late teens are essentially afterthoughts. Well, at least in my family ;).