Thursday, 2 September 2010

Let's get together (and be alright)


My birthday is on Saturday. I know I mentioned this the other day, but those who have read this blog for years will be well aware that International Jo Day stretches way beyond the 24 hour mark in my calendar.

A lot of people don't like birthdays. I, on the other hand, have never much minded them. Any excuse for people to give presents and generally lavish attention on you is never a bad thing in my book. Sure, there's the whole getting older thing to consider - but at 26, droopy breasts and fine lines aren't really a concern of mine...yet.

In fact, I've come to believe that the main thing people don't like about birthdays - myself included - is the social gathering that you feel obliged to have as a result. Ok, so maybe 'obliged' is the wrong word. Like the presents, any excuse for a drink-up with friends is fine by me. But whereas the rest of the year you can arrange a mass-matey-get-together and be quite content if it's just you and one other at the end of it all...a birthday is an entirely different matter.

There's something about gatherings - birthday or otherwise - which makes people a little bit flaky. Maybe it's just that you notice who's there more because the celebration is personal, and if someone's not happy enough about you being born to show up in a bar and say so, then surely that speaks volumes about the friendship. Maybe it's just because people genuinely do get the most horrible cold 15 minutes before the designated start time. Maybe it's because they just simply can't be arsed and assume others will be there to paper over their 'no show'. We've all done it, let's be honest.

Either way, when holding a party or gathering in your honour, you will always be subject to the jittery "who will turn up" nerves. Will others feel embarrassed? Will word get round that no one turned up? Will those who do show sit in silence and then make their excuses an hour later? No, of course they won't. One, two, five, or ten of you will all get pissed and forget any one else was ever meant to be there - but try telling yourself that before the event when the 'Ah, I'm really sorry but I can't..." texts start dribbling in.

This Saturday, with many of my friends either abroad or incommunicado, I will be opting for my usual tactic. There will be no designated party, no empty room to fill. I will be sending the name of a bar and a time to a list of people. I will go to said bar with the Boy and a few other 'definites' (read: friends who would get hung, drawn and quartered in Leicester Square if they didn't show), and see what happens. No stress, no worries. No need for excuses. No expectations. Come if you want, don't if you can't.

When it comes to numbers, who's counting?

This year, not me.

11 comments:

theperpetualspiral said...

International Jo Day

That makes me smile every year! I hope International Jo Day 2010 is great fun and you get a suitably fantastic present from the bf.

cynicalscribble said...

I don't consider birthdays a big deal and I'm not keen on the attention. Although my sister wants me to have a 'do' in my honour before I leave, I'm not convinced for fear of a half empty room!

Happy International Jo day for Saturday :)

jman said...

The US is having a 3 day weekend in your honour. It's too bad you are not here to celebrate with us!

nuttycow said...

I'm with you Jo. I never had a "formal" party. I just send round a pub and a time and turn up with my group of friends and see who else turns up. Much the best way.

soupemes said...

For a number of years I stopped 'celebrating' my birthday because I was so nervous about people not showing up and feeling like I had no friends. I'd go for dinner with my boyfriend or my family and pretend that it was because I would prefer to have a quiet do like that.

For the birthday just gone, my best mate sent out the message. It was a good night. Bit random. Some people turned up that I didn't expect, others surprised me by not being there.

Birthdays. Odd things.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Perp - It's the event of the year! An annual celebration the whole world can enjoy. hurrah for Jo Day!

Cynical - I had a do before I left, decided to have it around my house. There were a lot of cancellations and TFL didn't help matters by doing engineering works all weekend on my tube line...but it was still a really fun night.

jman - How considerate of the USA! Obama got my email, then.

nutty - it's just a lot less stress that way. There's nothing worse than having a room to fill.

soupy - Yeah I've come close to feeling that way too a couple of times. But then I feel like if I did the 'quiet thing' once, it would only lead to a downward spiral. I'm always a bit nervous before the night kicks off, but then it all comes right in the end. Good on your mate though, that's a nice thing for her to do :)

London-Lass said...

Happy Birthday Jo :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Thanks m'dear x

nimpipi said...

Happy Birthday then, fellow virgo! I'm three days older and I could learn something about frequent posting from young (well, I'm one to talk) aspiring travel writers such as yourself.

Have a lovely day + year + may you find a non-boring job that lets you write and get off work early.

Amen.

roseski said...

I hear ya. You know I hear ya!

Hope it's a good one Jojo.

not twitter said...

Did I miss the party? Pissed yet?

 

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