“You have to write about your party,” said Gordon, as if my blog was mentioned somewhere back in our pre-nuptial agreement. Not that we had a prenuptial agreement. If we did, it would have amounted to me getting his left bowling shoe and him keeping his right. But Gordon, of course, is correct. Let it be known: if you throw me a surprise birthday party you automatically get blog real estate and homage. (It works out too, because I was originally planning to blog about a friend who, one morning, used her daughter’s diaper as a maxi pad in an act of desperation. So this is much better. Or at least less graphic.)
I had hoped after last week’s rather melancholy post that people would have seen it more as my reflection on the big-ness of turning such an impossible age as 30, but really everybody just saw it as me whining about not getting celebrated enough. I’m not saying I WASN’T whining. I just didn’t want it to appear that way.
Maybe the best way to blog about my party is to provide RULES FOR ATTENDING YOUR OWN SURPRISE PARTY. These are in no particular order.
1. Wash your hair. People will be hugging you, looking at you, curious as to what you ACTUALLY look like when you weren’t planning to be social, and you really want to prove you’re no hypocrite about hygiene. I would also say to dress cute everywhere you go and for all occasions if you’re even approaching a milestone birthday; and for goodness’ sake, take CARE of your cuticles. But I think that goes without saying. Just pray your husband or friend isn’t planning a Saturday afternoon surprise at Bob’s Steakhouse right after you run the White Rock Marathon and ingest your fish oil.
(Gordon planned a dinner at the Fort Worth Club, a.k.a. “Daddy’s room” as Drew calls it— I thought I was going for the “March Birthdays Dinner”—so thankfully I at least had a dress on.)
2. Have a speech prepared, but one that’s not very good. If you are suspicious you MIGHT be ambushed, think about how you would like to address your friends. Gordon had arranged a “lady’s dinner,” meaning there weren’t any men there, so it really WOULD have been a neat opportunity to say a few words about everyone present. I was too intoxicated with shock to remember what nonsense came out of my mouth. At any rate, if you suspect a party and do prepare a speech, make sure it’s not without some hesitations, backtracking and awkward pauses because there’s nothing as unseemly as at the Oscars, for instance, when the winner has apparently consulted a Pulitzer Prize winning author and Obama campaign manager to help craft an acceptance speech. (My awkwardness was the result of reckless spontaneity alone, which felt totally unacceptable.)
3. Do not complain about not having had a surprise party. This is more of a pre-party rule. When I felt earlier in the week that all this birthday stuff was really just a big hassle for Gordon, I threw down the, “Well, I gave YOU a SURPRISE party for YOUR 30th birthday, so I think you can arrange a babysitter for the CORRECT day on MINE.” Don’t go there, sister. You’ll feel stupid later.
4. If you cry, do not make the ugly cry face. I have been told that one day when I am 90 years old, all that will be left of my face will be but a pair of giant owl eyes, blinking. While that thought is depressing for a lot of reasons, a creepier thought still is the prospect of having my ugly cry face on display in front of all Facebook. So if you have the presence of mind, do not ugly cry. I wish I hadn’t.
5. If you are given a bill, sign it without looking at the total. Gordon arranged my surprise lady’s dinner and then bowed out gracefully to eat takeout fried rice back at home. At the end of the night a nice man in a vest brought me a bill in a leather booklet. If you don’t want to know how much you are paying for your own surprise party, willfully persist in the belief that perhaps the good people at the restaurant love you so much that they would provide all this at no charge, or even that they had perhaps paid YOU to HAVE your surprise party in their facility. Otherwise, you might be tempted to shut the bar down early. I, fortunately, followed this rule. Who needs two kidneys anyway?
6. If you are given a precious scrapbook/remembrance book crafted by one of your best friends in the world, do not read it at the party. Or else you will also violate rule #4.
7. If there is an open bar, feel free to think your husband is hot. This rule also applies if he has also provided a photographer, flower arrangements, and/or ganache in any form. When you have all four present at one time, it is permissible to think your husband is VERY hot. But beware: he knows this rule too.
It just meant so much to me to have so many of the girlfriends I love most in this world present to celebrate, especially my sweet sister Elizabeth who flew in from Pasadena, Christy who flew in from Washington D.C., and Jennifer who drove up from Austin. Thanks, y’all, for your presence in my life, for the ways you’ve open the windows and let in the clean air, for how you’ve taken shovels to big mounds of dirt and cleared a path, for the way you decorate my memories with rubies and sapphires and garnets, big and small.
And to Gordon, I wish I could write enough words…:)