Thursday, May 06, 2010

It Was My Birthday And I'll Bitch If I Want To

It was my 36th birthday yesterday and, despite my best intentions, I couldn't help feeling profoundly, utterly wretched.

I went to work as normal, and kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to broadcast the fact that I was entering the wrong side of my Thirties, and I didn't much care for the fuss. It was, after all, a bit of a nonsense; just a man-made calendar-based anniversary of my birth, hardly an achievement, nothing to write home about and celebrate.

So I went to work like any other day and answered the phones like normal.

And served customers like normal.

And queried my colleagues about mundanities like normal.

Meanwhile, I kept an eye on damn Facebook. My ex-girlfriend (American) bizarrely celebrates her birthday the same day as me, as she's exactly a year younger. She was getting inundated with 'Happy Birthdays' and 'Congratulations' on her spurious achievement of ageing one year.

I, meanwhile, received not a word. Not from her, who undoubtedly knew it was my birthday as well, not even from my sister who lives only on Facebook and where we conduct our fragile relationship as she won't talk to me otherwise.

But I was now 36 dammit, and above such fripperies.

Then I remembered the email I sent ex-girlfriend (American) the day before. Yes, I didn't mention 'Birthday' or indeed 'Happy', but I did allude to our upcoming anniversaries in my own stupid way as I sent her a cute, personalised Swedish meme currently doing the rounds.

'Oh yeah,' I recalled. 'She still hasn't replied to that. Must be busy.'

I was getting tetchy as the day drew to a close. I hadn't received a single card, much less a present as, well, my family have been instrumental in helping me buy a flat and all that that entails, so the last thing I was expecting was just more gifts.

But something, anything, just a dumb little whatsit to make me feel the giddying thrill of blood coursing through my veins on my apparently special day, that would've been nice.

The day wore on. My phone rang. Blocked number. I answered it excitedly, only to discover an automated recording wanting me to rate the services of a broadband repair line.

So desperate was I for contact that I actually relished the attention - then felt really rather deflated when I accidentally cut it off.

I considered going to Waitrose and coming back with a big cake, but felt that was a bit pathetic.
"What's this in aid of?"
"It's my birthday."

So I checked into Facebook.

'Blah blah blah voting, blah blah blah taking the kids to school...'

Unable to stop myself, I updated my status which had previously been, 'I should probably go to bed', to 'Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. Oh, wait, there haven't been any'.

This provoked at first a couple of insults. Then a small drip of genuinely nice "Happy birthdays," followed by a slightly larger drip of a few more.

It fed my soul as the work phone rang and a colleague mumbled something about pricecodes.

It was coming up to 5pm, when I made my excuses and left a bit earlier. Just the day before, I had phoned my Mum and asked her and my step-Dad out to dinner. Thank god I did, because it became the nearest to any kind of celebration.

We arrived at the restaurant. My sister was already there with her two girls, and I felt the tension dissipate as I had a couple of beers and opened my first cards. The waiters congratulated me on seeing them - one of whom wishing me 'everything my heart desires,' which I found to be both a little over the top, and desperately brilliant at the same time.

I stuffed my face and listened, with a grin, to a waiter ramble on about Chinese tea, and caught my sister silently judging me, I thought because she thinks I might be gay - as not much else explains turning 36 with the only hint of a woman being one who ignores me from over 4,000 miles away.

Pictures were taken - and annoyingly uploaded immediately onto fucking Facebook - where I looked massive. I tried not to think about all that extra weight being a colossal contributor to my lack of confidence in the lady-dating arena.

And then I went back to my flat, my lovely, new, empty, modern flat, where I'd never felt so alone in my life.


Kirses said...

I'm turning 37 next Monday - a colleague turns 28 the same day and another colleague 27 three days later...being old does indeed suck. Usually my birthdays suck too, but as the is the first birthday I've been single in a few years I've made sure to have plans. I will not let it get the better of me. As for Facebook - it can fuck off with it's trite comments prompted not by genuine affection, but rather by a reminder in the top right that it's somebodys birthday...

Oh - Happy Birhday - be glad you're no 37!

Peach said...

dude - what's your facebook nom? Can you add me? I'm Sarah J Peach. You should have set your settings to show your birthday and then you're automatically showing to the world when it is - and then the good wishes can flood in.

I didn't even know you were on there as last I recall you said you'd deleted your profile !?

Anyhow - add me please and we can conduct a sordid internet relationship to make americana woman jealous!

or I'll just wish you happy belated birthday, whatever...


The Unbearable Banishment said...

Woo hoo! Party time in the UK! 36 is nothing. I didn't get married until I was 39, so you've got plenty of time. And, for God's sake, LET GO of the old girlfriend. That should be the birthday gift to yourself.

i am not your freud said...

happy happy belated birthday! i would most definitely celebrate your birthday if i knew when your birthday was. i'll remember it from now on.

couldn't agree more with the unbearable banishment about the ex girlfriend thing.

oh and if it's any consolation, my brother is 35 and single. at least your parents don't put pressure on you to get married already and try to introduce you to some uninteresting girls saying "she is well educated and she comes from a good family, what more do you want?"

sas said...

i met my bloke when we were both 34 and single. and we had been for some time.

it will happen love.

happy birthday and all that.

Mad Cat Lady said...

Happy Birthday. I am sorry it wasn't what you wanted it to be.

I quite like being alone on my birthdays. It's usually the missed deadline of some form of self improvement. I prefer to sook in private.

I turn 39 this year and my birthday is on a weekend. I fully intend to be very very drunk for the entire day.

daisyfae said...

your birthday is "Cinco de Mayo". here in the US, idiots celebrate this Mexican holiday about a battle no one understands by getting ridiculously drunk on margaritas, tequila and cheap mexican beer. oh, and then we demand proof of citizenship for all brown people who might have slipped over the border illegally.

it's a good day to have a birthday, i think. i'll remember next year. i don't really celebrate mine... just a day. but i've had days like yours where i wanted there to be something, anything... and it didn't happen. and that sucks.

Z said...

My other half was 36 and *counts on fingers* 7 months when we started seeing each other, 36 and 11 months when we married. He'd been single for years - and yes, there were probably those who assumed he was gay. Not that he'd have been bothered if they had.

He'll be 74 in June - he's been married to me half his life, lucky man. I'm sorry you're alone and unhappy about it, but a change can come about at any time, when you're least expecting it.

Many happy returns, dear Fweng.

heybartender said...

Happy Belated, Fweng! Now be a good boy and leave that shrieking harpy (the Ex) alone, mmmmmmkay?

luna said...

Hey I wished you a happy birthday didn't I?
And I wouldn't have bothered if I'd known you'd suck up and lower yourself to the Yank YET AGAIN!!! R U stuck on Groundhog Day???

As a BD present I've checked both your and her astrology charts and I confidently declares she is ALL nWRoONG for U.

You bring the worst out of each other.

theperpetualspiral said...

I was sure you were in your mid 40's ;) :p

Happy belated birthday!

livesbythewoods said...

Still in your thirties! Whippersnapper!

Birthdays can be horribly overrated, but I'm glad you have such a fab new flat to return home to. It looks lovely.

Cheryl said...

Yeah, in ten years time you'll be wishing you were 36 again.

Also, try to assume you'll live to be at least a hundred (science has recently proven that the human body is capable of living up to 140 yrs old) that way the thirties will still seem like adolescence.

But I can relate. Birthdays suck.

Happy Birthday!!!!

Anonymous said...

A change is definitely going to come. Didn't meet my bloke until 37after years of shit. Keep the (get the!) faith mate. Happy birthday xx

fwengebola said...

Kirses ~ Oh god, happy birthday. I have rectified that just now, I hope. And I also hope you didn't burn that candle at both ends and stay out til 5 thi...
Never mind.
SJP ~ You do realise you're not on there. Or not visible, at any rate. Thank you, and I went back, ostensibly to do some family research. And then found myself adding folk.
Really not exciting.
UB ~ Well yes, as you mention it, I deleted said ex from my account last week. It was my gift to me.
But probably more her.
E ~ "She's well educated, comes from a good family, has huge breasts and is a bit of a nymphomaniac."
That may help your brother too.
Sas ~ I'll bear that in mind. It helps.
And thank you.
MCL ~ Alone isn't too bad, as long as there's some kind of celebration somewhere.
At least on a weekend, you've got that part sorted.
Df ~ Yes, that's right. It's not really celebrated, much less known here. And while I don't blame you celebrating yours as I did(n't), a little something never goes amiss.
Z ~ So let me get this straight; in 7 months time in my timeframe, your hubby had met you by then?
Now that I think about it, my Dad became a father at 34.
Oh bugger.
HB ~ Thank you. And the ex is history, at least on paper; deleted from Facebook, and her contact details wiped from my phone.
Luna ~ Cheers, love. And I have finally broken off ties. It's clear to both of us that if she wants to get back in touch, it's in her court.
So then I can be mature and ignore her.
PS ~ I certainly hope that's a joke.
And thank you.
LBTW ~ Thank you very much. It is cosy. Too cosy. Getting round to these replies has taken me two hours of post-work telly watching.
Cheryl ~ Oh you're back! Yes, it's easy to look back in anger. Or something.
And they suck phenomenally. Waking up on May 6th was strangely liberating.
Thank you, ducky!
Anon ~ There certainly seems to be a theme of everyone getting it on right about this age.
I sincerely fecking hope so, and so do my genitals.
But moreover, my heart.
(And then my genitals again).