real life

"My friend just shared the worst idea ever for my birthday celebration."

It’s my birthday next week, and obviously it’s going to be an incredible 41st year because the birthday Gods have seen to it that the occasion falls on a Saturday. An ideal day for a birthday celebration with no worries about having to go to work the next day.


A close friend with whom I normally see a movie on each of our birthdays – seeing as they normally fall on a socially awkward weekday – sounded thrilled by this development, and sent me a message which read:

That’s great! I’m having an “insert annoying Tupperware-type party name” here that day. Why don’t you come and we can make it your birthday celebration?

I had no words. I was actually lost for words.

Happy...ish birthday. Image: Universal Pictures

What I wanted to write was, "As if." For the sake of our friendship I considered writing, "Sure, then maybe we can do something else."

Instead, I wrote nothing. Because there is no way I'm going to one of those pressure-selling parties on my birthday, let alone any other day of the year.

Seriously, it has to be hands down the WORST suggestion I've EVER heard for a birthday celebration. But my colleagues at Mamamia assured me I'm not the only one who's been here:

"The prospect of going away for my birthday is my idea of literal torture." Amanda, 23.

"My mum is always like, 'Let's have dinner at home!' And she can't bloody cook. WHY WOULD I WANNA DO THAT?" Michelle, 30 

Post continues after this gallery of cake fails.


"I like to relax on my birthday with a glass of wine and a good book, but my friends hassle me to 'go out and celebrate properly', which I end up doing but hate. I just want to say, 'It's MY birthday. Leave me alone!'" Kate, 20

"'Let's have friends around for dinner for your birthday,' he said. 'I'll do everything, you won't have to do anything,' he said." Kelly, 42

"I deliberately don't tell people it's my birthday until like a week after so I can do whatever I want without any pressure to enjoy myself." Sam, 32

"A surprise birthday party is a great idea, as long as you let me get dressed properly. Don't tell me we are going out for a casual dinner then lead me into a fancy hotel room where a group of friends and family who have obviously spent hours getting ready yell, 'Happy birthday', while I try not to yell at my partner for not letting me get dressed properly." Chloe, 27.

"I've got a friend (universe love him) that invites people over for his birthday, but when he gets a bit 'nappy', he just goes and has a sleep. Simply couldn't give a toss about anyone he's invited. It's awesome." Trevor, 34.

Listen: Andrew "Cosi" Costello threw a birthday party for special needs kids who normally don't get an invite, and it was awesome. (Post continues after audio.)

"I love celebrating my birthday but I hate it when everyone sings Happy Birthday to me. Just cut the bloody cake already." Jenny, 24.

"My mother insisted I host a lunch for my 21st when I'd been living in Melbourne for two years and had very few Sydney friends. Half the guest list didn't show and it was a painful experience for all involved." Mel, 27.

"I was so excited to go out for a birthday lunch with my husband two years ago, because we never go anywhere without kids. We got back home to find out one of our dogs had developed some kind of explosive diarrhoea while locked in the family room. I spent about an hour cleaning up. That night I came down with food poisoning. A birthday to remember." Hayley, 39.

"I feel sorry for my mum. Her birthday is New Year's Day and nobody is ever in the mood for it." Tess, 25

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