Monday, 3 October 2011

Engagement parties, weddings, baby showers: If these words sound like a page from your social calendar, read on.

Congratulations! You have reached the grand old age of being invited to Celebrate Other People’s Life Events.

Once reserved for people who have survived death for another year, now gifts, cards and parties are given to people who aren’t just living life, but, as far as society and Clinton’s Cards are concerned, living it well.

First it’s

  • Congratulations on finding a lovely bloke / lady to settle down with,


  • Well done for working overtime to save for a house, buying said house, and moving into said house,

and finally

  • Hurrah for doing all this, overcoming the need to fall asleep the minute you get into bed, and creating a baby instead.

And as long as people want to share that stuff with others, then I will happily grin, use it as excuse to buy a new outfit, and attend.

However, in a week where my housemates put in place their plans for a three course dinner and club night to celebrate their engagement (tickets: £27), and next year’s bridesmaid commitments tried to demand a hefty advance payment (flights to proposed hen do: £100), another friend attended a baby shower.

Now, as far as I can tell, the idea of a baby shower is something along the lines of

Dear Friends,

We are having a child and want to show you blurry scans and stuff. Please come round and celebrate with us. 
We will provide wine and cupcakes, you will provide cots, toys, clothing and equipment (list attached). See you Saturday.

Love, Parents-to-be xx

Having encountered all this in one week and pressed “send” on an email to my fellow bridesmaids which will almost certainly earn me the title of The Cheapo Friend, suggesting that a hen-do for 14 people in Eastern Europe may be – how you say - pricing people out a bit, it struck me:

Other People’s Life Events are bloody expensive, aren’t they?

It’s all well and good sharing your coupled glee with the world, but when that requires others to dig deep, buy pre-selected gifts and even face denting a friendship if their bank accounts don't step up to the mark, something begins to grate.

And aside from anything else, it seems to me that there’s an awfully large gap in the market.

It was Sunday morning when I sat on the phone to my good friend PIB. Her: newly single, lounging in the garden with papers, bemoaning the six hour small-talk session that had been yesterday’s baby shower. Me, still in bed at 11am, on the cusp of a ground-breaking plan.

“Look. We’re doing well. We’ve got good jobs, busy social lives, the world at our feet, we’re happy. So where are our bloody presents? Let’s have a night where all our coupled, married and babied friends have to come to a pub, buy us shit loads of drinks, bring us Kurt Geiger vouchers, and celebrate the fact that we’re single and doing it well. Then when they all bow out early to feed the husbands, wives and kids, we’ll stay out and get smashed on their gifts of champagne.”

That’s right ladies and gents, all hail my new invention: the Single Shower.

Because if everyone else is getting congratulated on being happy with someone else, then I want a pat on the back and some free stuff for achieving the same on my own.

So, who's up for it? Let's get this craze sweeping the nation.

RSVP below.

Oh, and if you're asking - mine's a Bollinger.


Blonde said...

Hear bloody hear.

Anonymous said...

Similar the the idea in a Sex and the City episode - getting married to yourself. Would be all for it but yopu're pricing yourself out with the Bollinger...

hails said...

Yes. Ab-so-fucking-lutely.

Helen said...

I am in. Hen do in two weeks. I am skint. It's only Alton Towers but it's £129 bloody quid for the weekend.

I want shoes and gifts just for being ME and managing to get dressed in the morning.

Elaine said...

A baby shower? That's a bit bloody American, isn't it? I was surprised enough when they introduced the High School graduation.

Don't get me started. Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandbloodyparent's day. They'll be bringing in Brother's and Sister's Day soon. Or Adopted Day; I'm sure that could sell a few cards.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what a Bollinger is but would like a pony.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree (and I'm speaking as someone who's getting married next year). I think it's disgusting when people expect others to pay loads of money to celebrate their special occasions, especially considering not all their friends are going to be in the same financial situation as they are.

There are so many wedding/baby trends I don't understand: going on holiday for your hen do about 2 months before you're getting married (the above point about money aside, I thought hen dos are supposed to be about celebrating your last night out as a single woman), big engagement parties (why put all that effort into planning a party to celebrate another impending party), baby showers (seems a bit like counting your eggs before they've literally hatched, surely it makes more sense to celebrate once the baby has actually been born?)


Martin said...

Hear hear. I'm sick and tired of having my worth as a friend equated with the availability of my credit cards. If I'm invited to a party, great, but I'll decide whether a present is appropriate, thanks, and the way I help you celebrate your upcoming baby is to visit *your* house and drink *your* booze so it doesn't sit there taunting the prospective mother for the next nine months.

As for stag/hen dos abroad, don't get me started. Flights to and from eastern europe actually make me feel sorry for EasyJet staff, which takes some doing.

The Dotterel said...

Personally I don't know why we can't all have half and hour off fro things like weddings, births, Christenings and the like and get back to normal asap. I do like normal. Hate Sundays for that very reason.

The Author Of This said...

Damn, my comment was already taken from the off.

In which case I'm just going to say Spaghetti.

Lizzie said...

My wealthy friends who have been living together for years & have everything they need got married recently and had a John Lewis wedding list. They now have even more beautiful things for their house. When I first moved into my (unfurnished) flat I had nothing and nobody bought me presents, let alone form John Lewis. I like the idea of a singles shower a lot :-)

Lpeg said...

hear hear! I wanted to have a party/shower for myself when/if I ever bought a house. I figured I could use all those gifts people get when they get married. I'll forgive anyone who gives me a gift for that if I ever get married!

treacle said...

Date? Time? Venue?

I'll go quarters with you and anyone else on the Bollinger!

Amy said...

Totally agree. That's all I have interesting to say on that point.

BUT I do have a baby shower from hell that I was forced to attend that you might be interested in hearing about.

They made us play "games". Such as filling six nappies with different things that looked like the different stages of baby poo as its stomach matures, then passing them round for us to sniff and guess what the nappies were filled with. I shit you not, excuse the pun, we had to sniff nappies that looked like they were filled with poo and say whether it was marmite and breadcrumbs or mustard in there.

Then we had to try baby foods and say what they were. Directly after the nappy game. Baby food is disgusting and the nappy game had already left me feeling sick. You can guess the result.

But it's okay, there was one game that wasn't vomit inducing. Just heebie-jeebie inducing. You know pin the tail on the donkey? We had to play that, but it was "pin the paper sperm cell with the face of the father on the uterus of the naked drawing of a woman with the face of the mother".

Weird. Just...WEIRD.

Anonymous said...

I recently went on a hen do to Ibiza. But I didn't really treat it as a hen do because it didn't really feel like one - there were chaps in the party too - it was more like an excuse to go on holiday :)

But it does irritate me that people expect others to fork out. My Boy's mate is a city lawyer. He's decided he wants to go to Vegas for his birthday next year. He earns a good £50k more than my boyfriend and that's probably a conservative estimate. Boy explained that he wouldn't be able to go because he couldn't afford it and his mate got a cob on about it, saying that he could save up. Boy pointed out that he is already saving up for a holiday next year - a week away with his missus - but it appears he should be trying to save for two holidays just because his mate is having a birthday.

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

Blonde - You can be an honourary singleton for the night.

Anon - One bottle of Bolly doesn't even touch the amount I'll be collectively spending on other people's events this year. I'm owed it.

Hails - Invite's in the post.

Helen - What's with these things taking up whole entire weekends? They decided to get married, after all! Ain't like they were forced into it.

Elaine - It's an American craze, yep, and one that parents are embracing because, I expect, it's basically an excuse to wangle expensive presents. Oh, I mean - good wishes. And all that.

Unpacking - Bollinger = my favourite champagne. Go big, or go home being my motto.

Anon - Agree, agree, agree. I just don't understand why being happy has to cost your friends so much money. I'm not a stingey person, I like spending money on my friends, but there's got to be another way of saying "I'm happy for you" rather than shelling out £400 for a trip to eastern europe.

Martin - I an actively against going to E. Europe for this hen do. To the point where I have considered refusing to go, not least because it's the last thing the bride actually wants. *bangs head*

The Dotterel - Half an hour, or a year off would do me nicely. I have a feeling wedding and baby crazed friends is a trend just beginning for me. Normal might be some way off.

The Author - Meatballs.

Lizzie - In which case, you can come to my single shower to. There will be a gift list given out to couples in attendance, including "nice knickers, champagne, shoes, and party feet"

Lpeg - Why not? House Shower! For those of us who value our freedom over John Lewis kettles.

treacle - Hurrah! Another name on the guestlist. Bring olives.

Amy - That is by far, the most, disgusting, ever, ever ,ever game I have ever ever ever heard of. How dare they inflict that level of babyshit on their guests. Horrific. At least it put you off, though.

soup - That's kind of how I feel. The hen do I'm meant to be helping with is being heralded as a "girls holiday". Well, thanks, but I will have a holiday with MY girls later in the year. This is a hen do with a load of girls I don't know. There's a difference.

JUST ME said...

I love this.

I need to know why we're expected to spend like, hundreds of dollars on other people's weddings (clothes, plane ticket, gift) and being single just gets nothing but a chair at the "single" table and a few awkward glances.

When I am no longer single, I'm not going to ask for wedding gifts. I think it's so bizarre. I'll buy my own shit, thank you.

Ellie said...

What about the 'I've got cancer' shower or the 'separation / divorce' shower? There are tons of things that need showering!

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! Brilliant idea. Sign me up.

Getting married does seem to bring out the uber-narcissist in people. Two acquaintances of mine invited me out to St Bloody Lucia for their do! Yeah, right, I can definitely afford that.

OK, it's your big day, but what's wrong with a knees up above the pub?


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