Ok, I am the first to admit that I am a tight butt. But this isn’t about money, it’s about right and wrong, truth and justice, freedom and…ok maybe not all of those things. It's all about the all consuming question of 'what is the etiquette around birthday invitations'?
If a friend invites you to their birthday party/drinks, then yeah I am excited and want to go, hey, I’ll even spring for a gift!!! And if I have the time I’ll go above and beyond the cash gift and source an appropriate present (I still think cash is the best gift ever! Note to anyone wondering what to buy me-cash, cash, cash!!). But really, do I need to be invited to my friends children’s, relatives or friend's parties? And isn't it the height of rudeness that I should be placed in the awkward situation of having to say no and come up with some plausible excuse? Because, quite frankly my plausible excuses ran out long ago and now I have to say 'no' while acting odd, include body spasms/severe twitching in the hope that either a) the topic of conversation will now change, or b) that the person inviting me will just go away.
The whole point of this is that I am friends with my friend, not with their children or anyone else. And speaking of children’s parties, what adult enjoys them? (yeah ok, lets not even explore that one). A guy I worked with once told me he had the perfect excuse for not being able to attend a children’s birthday party. He would firstly feign excitement and then disappointment and say something like ‘I’d love to go to Timmy’s birthday party, but I have this court order thing that states that I am not allowed to be within 15 feet of minors’. Apparently word got around and the children’s birthday invites stopped coming. He was pleased as punch.
I digress… So I was invited to my friend's child’s birthday… soon I envision being invited to her extended family’s birthday parties. It’s mum’s birthday, It’s my cousin’s birthday, its….. where does it end??? To make matters worse this was a joint birthday party with some other kid! (clearly my maternal side is showing). I don’t know this kid and I have no idea who it’s parents are, if it even has any. Anyway, a dilemma then arose around - do I have to buy this other child a gift as well??? Another friend 'J' was insistent on dragging me along to the party ( J has a child I might add and said child was also going… great, do I have to buy J's kid a gift as well???). Anyway J checked with her family and work colleagues who were all of the opinion that we had to also give a gift to this strange child who just happened to be jumping on the party /gift getting bandwagon. Count tight arse (me) said ‘what are they crazy?? Are these people out of their minds??? Do they know what they are talking about?’ (Yes I did become just slightly hysterical). I then asked ( ummm more like demanded) that J go back to her work colleagues and ask them how this situation differs from buying a gift for some random stranger on the street.
My thinking is that soon, anyone will just tag along and try and claim a gift… ‘oh, we are also celebrating Jacks graduation, Jills new job etc..’, ‘Oh it’s my birthday as well’ etc… Where will the madness end??? It’s not that I am focused on the gift giving, it’s the principle God damn it! My Grandfather didn't die in the war for this! Technically he didn't die in the war at all, I don't even think he went to war, but if he did, he would have fought and died for Freedom, Liberty and Justice! Which somehow ties into this whole gift giving/ party invite fiasco. I'll leave that to your rich and bright minds to work out how.
So, note to friends,
If you’re having a party ‘I’m there’ because I love you, you are my friend and hey you deserve a gift just for being my friend and accepting my craziness. But I have to say that if the party is your brother's, your mother's, your child’s, your neighbor's, your cousin's or your pet monkey’s… ummm thanks I’d love to but I have this court order that states……..