Birthdays. Birthdays. The word signifies a 24-hour celebration. But no, that would be too simple. Gone are the days of single-night bachelor parties and one-night-only birthday celebrations. If you’re not getting dragged over the coals and spending at least $300 dollars over the course of what otherwise would’ve been an inexpensive off-weekend, do you even have a strong group of girl friends? Exactly. The only way you can truly show friendship is by saying to yourself, “Yes, I’m willing to attend a slew of meaningless events in order to preserve this friendship, and more importantly, to make sure Chris’s girlfriend doesn’t yell at him even more this weekend than she already will when things go don’t go perfectly to plan.”
Birthdays, birthday weekends, birthday weeks, birthday months – whatever they are, they’re a beating. And it’s all because of the shit you’re obligated to attend.
5. Cocktail Party
Throwing a proper cocktail party is an art form lost on most. By inviting people to public locations for your birthday, you’re essentially saying, “Here’s the bill, thanks for paying it.” Throwing a cocktail party says, “I’m going to financially invest in our friendship by paying for everything so I can enjoy your presence.” Sure, I’ll show up with a 30-dollar bottle of wine. And yeah, I might go dumb in Nordies buying a fresh shirt for the party so people think I’m more successful than I am. But shirts are something can wear in the future. Dinners only last ninety minutes.
Finding a birthdayzilla who’s willing to foot the bill is a rarity because their mentality is that it’s all about them. Have a friend that’s willing to do it? You’ve found yourself a keeper.
Listen. I’m hungover. Probably because there was an event for you the night before, but it’s also possible I just have an alcohol problem every Friday and Saturday night when I forget about real life. This brunch isn’t supposed to be fun – it’s just a jarring reminder that, yes, it is your birthday. And you know what we’re doing after brunch? Probably day drinking. And after day drinking? Probably something else that’s pre-planned for me where I have no say. Brunch is a gateway drug to spending more money that I otherwise wouldn’t have spent sitting on my couch catching up on some niche Netflix documentary that I was too hungover to scroll from.
The plus side? Attending a less expensive (than dinner) brunch allows you to cut your losses and move on. If you make it to brunch, it shows dedication to the birthday because you’re getting up for that shit. No one will even realize you didn’t make the party or dinner that night.
3. Group Dinner
When thinking about a group dinner, you have to ask yourself this: Would I have volunteered to go to this 4-star restaurant on my own accord without this birthday falling on one of the random 365 days throughout the year? The answer is probably “no” because a normal person doesn’t spend their weekends steakhouse-hopping spending $75 per meal (or double if you have a significant other). Sure, I’d love to pay for a portion of that half of the table’s $14 Martinis and for the calamari appetizer that didn’t make it to my side of the table. It’s not like I could’ve just met everyone out afterward for drinks. Nope. Pulling a stunt like that is a one-way ticket to getting slandered all meal.
Of course, I wasn’t going to get you a present because we’re not that close, but I’d love to spend triple-figures on you for your birthday. But when my birthday comes around, you can just send me a gift certificate to the address on my business card. Thanks.
2. Group Workout
Group yoga. Spin class. Hula-hooping. City Surf. Whatever you’re inviting me to, I probably don’t want to go.
There are two definitive issues that one faces when resisting a Birthday Week-driven workout: most people don’t want to workout surrounded by people they intimately know, and workouts almost exclusively happen in the morning or throughout the day which clearly means your hangover from the night before’s festivities is going to deeply hinder your ability to up the resistance at SoulCycle.
1. Pedal Pub
Aside from going to the gym and having sex, the normal human should profusely sweat somewhere around a dozen times a year. It should never occur intentionally, and one should never pay for the experience that directly results in sweating through their clothes.
Enter: Pedal Pubs.
There are two types of people in this world: people who like pedal pubs, and people who I want to be friends with. If you think I’m going to pony up thirty of my hard-earned dollars to go sweat in the middle of a city on a vehicle powered by my lazy-ass friends, you’ve got another thing coming. Inviting your friends to do a pedal pub for your birthday week is essentially saying, “This is a test to see how much you really mean to me.” Much like Facebook birthday notifications are a great way to weed out people you don’t care about anymore, actual birthdays (and more specifically, pedal pubs) are the perfect opportunity to see how far your real friends will go to appease you. While I’ll do a lot, I draw the line at pedal pubs..