So, I called an old friend of mine whose 40th birthday is today. I was hoping she wouldn’t get all mental about it. Luckily, she didn’t and had the same take on age as I do, it’s just a number and you’re as old as you feel, and so forth.
I mentioned to her that Mrs. Blue Sky’s 40th is next month and I was trying to figure out what to do. I then went on to tell her that my 40th will be in August and I have already decided that I do not want any kind of anything to commemorate the event. Why? Well, I don’t really give a flaming rat’s ass about the whole situation. More importantly, I HATE SURRISES! Always have. Always will. I am too damned anal. I don’t make any apologies for this. I accept my situation and hope that others will too. If not, fuck 'em. My friend (of 25 years) KNOWS this and replies (as do 99.999999% of ALL people), “You’re no fun”.
Well fuck me for not living up to your standards of what fun is. Yes, I certainly appreciate the fact that you think enough of me to want to do something “fun”, but YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN THAT. Why do you seem to forget it? I have said it many times in the past and, unfortunately, I’ll have to say again many more times in the future - I HATE SURPRISES.
The details of why I hate suprises shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well - I do not like to be in a situation where I do not have control of myself of events that directly involve me. I’m not a control freak by any means EXCEPT when it comes to me. That is one (amongst many) reasons why I don’t drink or use drugs. It also means that I don’t take a lot of chances. A LOT of people find this to be, well, boring. I am very particular about the things I like and don’t like. Also, I’m a very bad actor when it comes to things like surprise gifts and such. Mrs. Blue Sky has accepted this and we have known each other for only 9 years. When Christmas comes around (yeah, I’m an atheist, but I can play along* when neccessary), I give her a list of things I’d like to have and she’s chooses accordingly. Yeah, that’s boring as hell, but that’s just the way I am. I, on the other hand, am pretty good at surprising her with gifts and such.
Double standard? Perhaps, but there you go. I like the way I am and I have no plans on changing any time soon. I just can’t fake it.
There, I feel better already.
- and by “play along” I do not mean any insults to any religion of any kind. I’m not going to be a buzzkill just because my beliefs are different. To each his own.
Hey, Mr. S can be lots of fun, but I know never to throw a surprise party for him. He likes to have an idea of what’s in his immediate future also. (Although early in our marriage we learned the hard way about how I like to plan things like trips and “bumming around” days, while he liked to just “bum around.” We had a few skirmishes about it, but one disastrously unplanned vacation brought him around to my way of thinking.)
Unfortunately, the flip side of this is that I’m pretty sure he’ll never throw a surprise party for ME, which I would just love. I’ve thrown how many surpise parties for toher people, but I’ll never get one for myself.
You’re no fun.
Good lord, I managed to get this first? However, 40 is a milestone for a lot of people, why don’t you plan on a get together or something on that day - dinner with friends, a movie, anything. Not only will everyone get to celebrate your birthday, (even if you don’t want to, they will) it’ll prevent you from having to deal with the posibility of a suprise party on that day.
Also, you should try to recognize that the feeling you get when you suprise someone with a gift or throw them a birthday party is pretty nice and you’re denying your friends from getting that feeling themselves. So, while you can prevent the suprises, you should try to recognize that the people who care about you want to just show you that they do care and try to accomodate them.
The trick is to find one good friend who shares this loathing of surprises, and make a pact that you will always, always, always, tell the other person if a surprise party or gift or anything creepy like that is in the works. Then you can just not mention your hate of surprises to everyone else (thus sparing yourself the “you’re no fun” lecture), and rely on this friend to give you the heads up when necessary.
And if your anti-surprise partner ever decides to join the enemy and surprise you … well, you know what happens to double agents.
No. I’m out there with Mr. Blue Sky on this one (hope you don’t mind the company, mate).
Fuck off. I hate surprise parties. I hate the chorus of slightly bored waitresses and wanna-be performance artists(*) singing some arrhythmic off-key version of the Bugaboo Creek version of “Happy Birthday” while bringing some strange dessert while all my alleged friends look on and smirk.
The best arrangement I’ve got is the following. A close friend always invites me to her New Year Party. She knows (and has admitted knowing) that I will never come to her party, but wants me to know that I’m being invited as a gesture of her friendship to me; she knows that my comfort in declining her invitation is also a gesture of my friendship to her. Strange? Feh.
(*) “performance” in this context, of course, is a synonym for “talentless”.
This is the real reason people tell you you’re no fun. Everyone knows you can’t have fun without alcohol!
Wow. We just might be brothers. I hate suprises. I hate getting presents, especially when I have to open them in front of people. I hate people recognizing my birthday. I hate holidays. My idea of a great time is to get together in a small group, make and eat some great food and have interesting conversations. No drunkeness and no fucking Pictionary (I think you have to be drunk to enjoy this).
I turn 40 this year too and my friends and family know better than to make a big deal out of it.
I am lucky to have such an understanding wife.
My feelings exactly.
To add a bit to what you said…I also hate having to open presents in a restaurant. Not only do you have tables of strangers staring at you, this is often the thing that causes the waitstaff to come and sing at you and shower you with dried-out yellow cake.
My own worst experience with this was a birthday lunch with a family friend. My dad knew she was going to give me a gift basket; since I figured such a gift would be easy to hide, I agreed to meet this friend and my parents at a local restaurant. When I got there, the friend pulled the gift basket out of the trunk of her car.
That basket could have held two weeks’ worth of my laundry. And, to make matters worse, there was multicolored tissue paper sticking up at least a foot over the basket. I wanted to stay out in the parking lot to open the gifts, but the friend insisted on taking it into the restaurant. The basket was so big that it wouldn’t sit down on the seat of the booth; we had to balance it between the table and a window ledge. While no one came by to sing at me, several waitresses (and the hostess) had to come by and squeal about the basket.
And I’m dreading my 21st birthday. People make such a big deal out of it that I’m going to be embarrassed to order any kind of alcohol in public.
I am not wild about surprises, myself, and no one who knows me well would consider giving me a surprise party. Oh, I’d deal with it if it happened; I’d be polite and all that; but I wouldn’t enjoy it especially. I have other ways I’d prefer to celebrate.
Given all that, Hideo Ho, I would find it very strange if a friend or family member gave me a surprise party. I would not think, Well, OK, who am I to deny my friends the ability to throw me a surprise party; I would think, Gee, I thought they knew me better than that.
An analogy: I love baseball, and I love going to games with other people; but there are certain people I know who’d hate it. Forget my pleasure in going, forget my enjoyment over sharing this thing I enjoy with someone else; I’d be remiss in being a friend if I dragged some of these people to a game and said, “Hey! Enjoy it!” The purpose of a birthday party is to honor the guest. Right?
Oh, and Scruff–
Heard a wonderful [fake] ad on the radio the other day…the CD of Birthday Songs From Everybody’s Favorite Chain Restaurants. Six adenoidal off-key teenagers warbling along representing Bugaboo Creek, Applebee’s, Perkins, and 13 more!!!
Believe me, I share your pain.
I hate SURRISES too!!
Sorry, couldn’t resist out-analling you on such a thread as this!
(insert IMAX-sized smackie here)
Hmm. I find that the real way to deal with this issue is simply to not let anyone know when your birthday is. People who know me well enough to know when it might be time to throw a surprise party also know me well enough to realize that if they do, someone is going to be eating through a straw for a month.
OK, so you don’t like surprises. How do you feel about set-ups?
I submit, for your perusal; a true tale of one-up-manship for those that don’t like surprises.
I have a friend that raised five children to adulthood. When any of her children turned 16, she would make a big production of taking a full-sheet birthday cake into the cafeteria of their high school and loudly singing “Happy Birthday To You!” to the intended victim in front of the whole school.
When her youngest child was days away from her Sweet Sixteen, she told her mother “If you bring a cake and embarass me in front of my friends, I. Will. Kill. You.”
Undaunted, my friend ordered the Youngest Child’s birthday cake. She picked it up from the bakery, and then delivered it to the Youngest Child’s cafeteria. In place of the traditional 16 candles, she had 16 sparklers blazing on the cake. In front of all of Youngest Child’s friends; she belted out “Happy Birthday to You!” In a bathrobe. Wearing slippers, curlers in her hair and her face smeared with cold-cream.
Nearly ten years later, Youngest Child is now a missionary in Africa. I believe it’s because she still doesn’t want to speak to her mother.
God damn you Blue Sky, they can throw a birthday party for you against your will if they WANT TO, dragging you there kicking and screaming, so THERE!
I’m feeling very contrary today.
I had a close friend that hated surprises. He told his wife if she ever threw him a surprise birthday party, he would walk out. However, he was born on December 31, so every year she got to throw a New Year’s Eve party and the guests all had to bring him a pair of socks. He would have been 41 2 weeks ago.
I don’t like things for my birthday, but not because I don’t like parties. There are less than a dozen people, almost all family, that know my birthday, and that is the way I want it. If I could get my family to forget it, I would.
Geez…what a bunch of party poopers.
I’d hate to have someone throw me a surprise party, and I’ve never thrown anyone else one…nor do I ever allow anyone to tell the waitress it’s my birthday. (I used to wait tables at a restaurant that made you sing to people…and to my mind, nothing is more lame than celebrating your friend’s birthday by making a bunch of strangers sing some stupid clapping song to her. I hated doing it and I would do whatever I could–leave the building, if necessary–to avoid the “birthday song roundup.”)
Having said that, I haven’t had much fun on my birthday in recent years, and I would love to have a big party on my next one. The big Quarter Century’s coming up. I was raised to believe birthdays are special and I still believe in marking the occasion. Even friends who say “No gifts! No party! No nothing!” still get a card.
I’d be perfectly happy spending the entire 24 hours of my birthday without hearing the words a single time. Ooh, I made it all the way around the sun again, what an accomplishment for me. Where’s my medal?
That said, I’m willing to play nice when friends and family insist on a party, and presents, and whatnot. I do my damnedest to appear appreciative and greatful (and I am greatful for the sentiment) and just get through it.
However, they also know that pulling a “presents in the restaurant” gig will end in me going on a shooting spree, so nobody tries it.
A question for my fellow party-poopers:
Anyone have kids? I ask because I found that last year, for the first time in a lotta years, I got through the cake and pictures a lot better. See, the Skeezling was a year and half at my last birthday, and she wanted to help daddy open presents and blow out candles, and it was suddenly not as bad to deal with.
I always brushed off the idea that having kids changes you. But I’ll be snookered if it hasn’t, at least a little. I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with having the person who thinks I’m one of the two most important people in the world pitching in.
Weird. I’m becoming mainstream. Never saw that coming.
[sub]Anyone tries putting a party hat on me, however, is still gonna draw back a bloody stump.[/sub]
It dirves me crazy that on my birthday I’m suddenly supposed to do what everyone except me wants to do. Witness HideoHo’s post.
I’m sorry I’m denying you the warm fuzzy of throwing a party for me, but I don’t want one, and it’s my goddamn birthday. You want a party? I’ll be happy to come to your birthday party, bring a gift, blow a horn, whatever, but on my birthday, the finest gift you can give me is to leave me the hell alone. I don’t mind if you tell me Happy Birthday or something, and if you give a gift, that’s very nice and I will thank you for it, but it’s not expected or required. If you’re truly my friend, I know how much I mean to you and don’t need a special day to find that out.
This business of me being the bad guy because I’m denying my friends the chance to throw me a party is bullshit. Have a party. Do it on my birthday. But I probably won’t show up, because I don’t like parties in general, even on my birthday, and I certainly don’t like them when suddenly it’s my “special day” so I have to be the center of attention. No matter how many heartswells that gives you, it makes me goddamn uncomfortable, which is not how I want to spend any day, much less my birthday.
And god help you if you get a waiter to sing for me. You might do it because you’re my friend, but let me assure you that as of that moment, you no longer are.