I like to think of myself as a reasonable person, I really do.
When it comes to birthday parties, I always chip in my share. I am polite. I come armed with a gift. I like to celebrate and show up for my friends. Which is why when a close friend of mine told me she was celebrating her 30th birthday in style, I was there for it.
The night started at a fancy bar. I proceeded to the bar to buy drinks.
One for me, one for my partner and one for my friend, as birthday etiquette would dictate. I pulled out my credit card, paid for a soda and two espresso martinis and walked over to her as she was flocked by a group of friends who had just arrived.
“Oh, thank you but there’s a bar tab!” she explained as she collected an espresso martini from my hand, “Make sure you use it.”
Nice! I thought to myself. She did the same as more and more people began to arrive.
Still, I didn’t drink all that much as I hadn’t been feeling well all week and my partner was driving, hence the soda. But I thought it was a lovely gesture from my friend.
Soon enough canapés began to zoom around and I was really enjoying the evening.
After a few hours at the bar, drinking and eating, the group moved onto an up market club in the heart of Sydney’s CBD where no expense was spared. There were velvet ropes, a sectioned off area, table service, you name it.
We stayed for one drink, again on the hostess, but my partner and I didn't party into the early hours of the morning like the rest of the group. I was taken aback by the extravagance of the whole thing, but my partner and I had both chipped in for a very expensive gift and after seeing her go all out, we were glad we got her something so nice. It was her 30th, after all.
We said our goodbyes and went home around midnight. The next morning, I woke up to a Facebook message on my phone. I could read the first line or so in preview. "It was so lovely to celebrate with you and Tim last night!..." the message began. That's so kind and thoughtful, she's sending around thank yous to those who came to the party, I thought.
I opened the message to read the rest of it and let her know what a great time we'd had, when the contents of the message left me thinking WTF...
"It was so lovely to celebrate with you and Tim last night! Thank you for your thoughtful gift, I love it. Your portion of the evening comes to $250 for the two of you, if you could please let me know when you've transferred to my bank account I'd really appreciate it. Chat soon xx"
What. The. Hell.
We'd been told the evening was on my friend. We had bought her an expensive gift. I'd even PAID for my first drink and barely had any after that. My partner was drinking sodas. And now I was looking at a bill of $250 with bank account details included? My partner was equally floored.