I’m not an April Fools’ Day person. Neither of us are. Wasting my time in the service of a joke that’s never even funny? No thanks. I’m also not a birthday person. I know this is aggravating, because I don’t want my loved ones to Sixteen Candles it and forget my birthday, but I also don’t want anyone to make a big fuss. This is actually more demanding than asking your friends to throw a straight-up bash, and for that I apologize. But you know what I don’t apologize for? Hating surprise parties, a.k.a. the birthday version of April Fools Day, a.k.a. the kind of parties they throw in hell. Seriously. When the devil has a birthday, John Wilkes Booth and freaking Hitler and like … is Genghis Khan something people still talk about?… all collude to get the devil to “meet his sister for brunch” so all his friends can leap out at him from the shadows. Screw surprise parties.
Surprise parties play into two of my biggest fears: people doing things without me, and people knowing things that I don’t. I’ve felt this way since I was a toddler. My mom used to make my siblings put on a mock-bedtime, saying their prayers and brushing their teeth, because I couldn’t go to sleep if I thought that everyone else was awake. Strike one: doing things without me. When I found out that everyone had been faking bedtime behind my back, I was livid. By the way, I found out when I was like 22. Strike two: knowing things I don’t.
I don’t even like when the animal kingdom tries to get the better of me. The other day I was walking my dog when we came across a flock of deer. As we passed not 20 feet away from them, the deer stood statue-still, hoping that we wouldn’t notice them. I could not let those deer think they had fooled me. I yelled “bye, deer!” after we passed them just so those animals knew damn well that I knew.
You ever know someone where your friends are like “you two should totally go out” or “we all know you’re going to end up together?” I will never let that happen, so strong is my aversion to people thinking they know my life.
And let’s talk about outfits. At least one day a week, I hate what I’m wearing by midday. That means that there is a solid one in seven chance that I would attend my own party wearing something I don’t even like. See? There are a lot of reasons to hate surprise parties.
Worst of all, all of your loved ones have to make a ruse of forgetting or not caring about a major life event, whether it’s a birthday, an engagement, or an anniversary. Two hours of being showered with love do not make up for weeks of thinking that everyone’s being a dick.
It wasn’t always like this. I was the victim of a surprise party when I was a kid, and I liked it. It was a simple pool party at my aunt’s house, in late summer when I hadn’t seen some of my friends for months. My birthday was in September, so I never saw it coming. But even at 11 years old, I felt like such a putz. Having the wool pulled over your eyes isn’t better just because there’s confetti in the wool. My aunt didn’t really pick me up because she wanted me to go swimming at her house … I mean she did, she just wanted me to go swimming with cake and all of my best friends. Okay, I already admitted that my anti-surprise party stance is aggravating. And my mom didn’t ask who my best friends were because she cared, she asked because … she cared and wanted to invite them to a party to celebrate my birth. She’s a good mom, okay? But my outfit was still stupid.
Besides, I was a child then. As far as I’m concerned, big birthdays, as well as low-grade holidays like April Fools’ Day and Valentine’s Day, are for children. They just aren’t a good use of time. I mean, everybody was born once, it’s not that big a deal. Also, Surprise Parties are the party version of pranks, and you know how we feel about pranks: they’re jokes for unfunny people.
The worst is when you meet a family or friend group who do surprise parties for everything. Every time Ruth has a birthday or Margie has a baby, everyone pretends they aren’t doing anything for it, makes them go to some dumb fake outing, then – BAM! – they throw a party at them. And if you ask why they didn’t just tell Ruth or Margie that they were throwing a party,they’ll be like “oh, she’d say she doesn’t want it.”
YO. THAT’S BECAUSE RUTH DOESN’T WANT A PARTY, THEN. Respect that. There are a lot of reasons to hate surprise parties. I get it.