There are times I’m happy hand over my hard-earned to friends and family. When things have become unpleasantly tight and a big payment is due. When I feel like shouting lunch. When they are under 10 years old, and $10 in a birthday card is a seriously big deal.
Hell, call me an enabler, but I’ve even handed over a lazy $50 at the pub when the ATM is down.
But there are times when I’m not inclined to hand over my money. And a baby shower is one of them.
I simply cannot get my head around this new trend: the ‘silent baby shower’.
It works like this: ‘guests’ (and I use the term in the loosest possible way) are sent an invitation to celebrate the imminent arrival of a gorgeous little bundle of joy. But they don’t have to go anywhere. There is no gathering.
What they do have to do is send money. Moolah for the parents-to-be. The invitation is explicit in its intent. No presents of the unwrapping kind.
There's a very large scream in my head and it's saying 'Where are your manners!!!"
A slightly smaller scream is saying 'It would never have happened in our day'. And I've never been more certain about that.
Back in the olden days, this is how a baby shower was done: A sister, mother-in-law or close friend bought a standard pack of invitations from the newsagency. They probably featured a stork with a baby-filled bundle in its beak. In real life the weight would have sent the bird plummeting to earth. But in real life, a stork doesn't actually deliver the baby. Hey-ho.
The shower would be held on a Sunday afternoon. There would be tea and sandwiches with no crusts and scones and probably a sponge. The crowd would include women of all ages - and it was a strictly female event.
Presents were small and simple. A three-pack of washers with embroidered ducklings in the corner. Little packets of teeny-weeny socks. A home-made hamper with a bottle, booties and a packet of disposable nappies. Things that would be, you know, useful. Then there would be great discussion of possible names, a few daggy games and war stories from old aunts who'd seen babies roll off change tables and live to scream another night, or watched angry little bundles turn blue, uncertain they'd ever inhale again, only to experience the sweetest relief of all when they did.
But in the great show-off-y display brought on by social media and outlandish expectation, the baby showers I went to would be nowhere near good enough today.
I suppose it was inevitable. First hen's parties morphed from a night out with the girls at the local pub to a whole weekend at a place in the mountains that would stretch the budget if you were going with your partner, let alone a random group of friends/vague acquaintances/complete strangers.
Then the cellar party nudged its way into the scene as an 'added extra' on the bridal calendar. And if I'm honest, I liked the thought of the happy couple curling up with a glass of cab sav and talking through their day.