Everyone looks forward to their birthday.
It’s the one day of the year when your friends and family stop, just for a second, to realise just how utterly brilliant you are – and the day comes complete with perks:
You’re older; you’re turning into a wise old sausage now.
There are presents; everyone likes presents.
You get lots of attention; it’s always nice to be in the limelight, right?
Cake; you’re never too far from an iced-strawberry sponge on your birthday.
So with all that said, it’s fair to say that I absolutely…
Do not look forward to my birthday. Ever.
(Although I do laugh whenever I hear the word ‘sponge’)
Firstly, I’m older; I’m one year closer to being dead.
How do I know this? Wisdom.
There are presents; brilliant – but there’s also the awkwardness of having to give ‘the reaction’ once you’ve opened them. You know which one I mean; when you make a point of showing just how grateful you are, maybe with an over-the-top “WOW THANKS” for something as simple as a Walnut Whip.
I’m not saying I don’t like a Walnut Whip every now and again, but I’m yet to come across one that makes me act like I’ve just laid a golden egg.
I would love to lay an egg.
What if people, who see my bodged reaction, start thinking I like Walnut Whip SO much that, for the rest of my life, all anyone ever gets me for my birthday is some chocolate-nut thing? No thank you.
I’m not the most animated of people, either. I could be jubilant that you’ve just bought me a white chocolate Toblerone and a box of Lego, but whenever I try to give ‘the reaction’ I try so hard that I either end up sounding sarcastic or, even worse, looking like I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m disappointed (although, seriously, I would be genuinely devastated if someone actually got me a Walnut Whip for my birthday – don’t you love me?).
For this reason, as grateful as I am to receive them, I like to open my presents in private – preferably in my room.
Or in a cave.
Onto another birthday perk; you get lots of attention.
Justin Bieber gets lots of attention.
I am not Justin Bieber.
Am I shy? No I’m not, but just the thought of being the center of attention makes me cringe. It’s not for me.
Last year, on my birthday, I walked into a lecture at my university – only for most of the class to break into a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ – easily the most cringe-worthy moment of the entire year. It was bad enough that I was standing in front of around 25 people all singing to me, but the cringe meter hit the danger mark around 30 seconds in, when people were getting bored of singing it, so it started trailing off (like when old people sing at Christmas but fall asleep half-way through). Then, of course, came the compulsory “HIP HIP HOORAY.” By this point most people were either asleep or had left the room, leaving one person to shout “HIP HIP” – followed by complete silence.
A tumbleweed may have bobbled past, I forget.
A similar thing happened this year at the local Chinese restaurant: Imagine lots of Chinese people (don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this); now imagine lots of Chinese people staring directly at you as your friends sing happy birthday.
Does anyone know the Chinese for CRINGE?
If you’d like to wish me happy birthday, great thank you! But put it in a card, or say it on my Twitter or Facebook page, don’t put me in a situation where I feel like I’m having that ‘turning up for class with no clothes on’ dream, please.
Finally, there’s cake;
I like cake.
So there it is. In case anyone was curious, I’m now 24. Next year I’ll be a quarter century old – like a tree. I can see that strop being a big one. I’m giving you a whole year to brace yourselves.
All moaning aside, I actually had a brilliant birthday this year.
To everyone who bought me presents or cards, said happy birthday or even embarrassed me in the presence of our Chinese brethren – BIG THANK YOU!
What? I’m not being sarcastic!
See what I mean?