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Solo Features

Birthday blues

In the absence of that someone special, are aging single people blanking out the issue of their status by organising ‘groupie’ birthday parties? Grainne Burns thinks so.

Torn between two lovers is one thing, but torn between two single friends celebrating their birthday on the same weekend is a new kind of heartbreak. With no other halves, and on the other side of 25, both of mine wanted to mark the occasion, which is fine, but when such events involve travelling across the country and spending a fortune, I am no longer in the celebratory mood.
The truth is that I had actually passed this humour by the Monday before the ‘big nights out’, as they are aptly described on Facebook profiles. After the tenth text asking me to confirm my attendance to the dinner/drinks/day out in the park, it was feeling more like a summons than an invitation. With no week-long anticipation of what their boyfriends may be buying them or where they were going, the single gals were preoccupied and determined to ensure that this night was not going to be spent watching Big leave Carrie jilted in Sex and the City: The Movie. No, this was their big day, and with no man to share it with, all close, and not so close friends ‘had to’ join in the celebration – or misery. Take your pick.
Halfway through the dinner of party number one, and bored by wedding talk thanks to three impending brides (all younger than me, of course), I was wondering if any of us would be there had we had a boyfriend? The simple answer is no, as having known this girl for almost 20 years, any birthday previous to this was spent with the man du jour. So now as the years are dwindling by, and the big 30 looming, she is choosing to drag all her so called mates into this protective bubble, in the hope of banishing the real thoughts that she hates being single, and, more so, hates spending this night with a bunch of people who are happily loved up.
As someone who lives to be in a relationship, this is her worst nightmare and so we all have to endure a three course meal, followed by drinks and a hangover the next day when we are all €150 less off. And all of this a week after the budget. I am beginning to think that I have the perfect excuse not to celebrate other people’s happiness anymore as the government is taking all my money, and so I can only go to those events, which I actually enjoy, not endure.
The other party I ‘had to’ attend was a two-day event including a five-hour trek around some adventure park – so now we are taking the depression outdoors. Nothing like running around a brain storming course to eradicate hopes of spending the next birthday with ‘the one’ in some hotel for a shag fest. This anger has to be exerted some way, and sure what else do people have to do on a cold October Saturday than join in this shared pain?
What happened to the days of just meeting up for good old-fashioned pints for someone’s birthday? Yes, it’s fun to do something different, and there is no better feeling that sharing in someone else’s happiness, especially with someone you actually like, but does it really have to involve sacrificing your whole weekend, and, given the times, hard earned cash? I left both parties sharing in their hope that they too would find love for next year to save me from this pain.

PS: My birthday is coming up – no partner, no party, just good old-fashioned drinks in whatever watering hole I trip into. Invitation open. Recession acknowledged.


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