Last night, Kathy and I went into the city for our birthday date. First we had to stop by a bar and grab her briefcase, which she left there on Thursday. (Don't ask why her briefcase was at a bar. It was a really long, convoluted story, which I completely believed.) And then it was a surprise party! For me! I was even more surprised than I otherwise would have been, because I wasn't wearing my glasses, and therefore did not recognize my own sister or about 20 of my good friends until I was standing right in front of them and they were yelling "surprise" at me. And even then I was a little confused until I saw my sister LITERALLY a foot in front of me and she said "Happy Birthday."
You may think, because of my introvert-ness, that I would not want a surprise party. You would be wrong; it was really fun and I loved it. One of the best things about a surprise party is that I did not have a chance to do any worrying about whether anyone would actually show up -- Kathy got to do all that worrying for me. Although there was a little moment of humiliation toward the beginning of the night when everyone was singing Happy Birthday to me, where I buried my face in Kathy's shoulder and could not come out. Anyway, in case you are getting any ideas, how about a list of suggestions for throwing a surprise party for an introvert (or really anyone, I think). AKA, why my party rocked, and ways that it could have gone seriously awry.
- DO make sure the person wants a party. Kathy did this by asking if I wanted a party on the following night. Since I did, there was a pretty good chance that I wasn't going to be super-irritated by the party last night.
- DO NOT forget your camera. Otherwise, you might make it through the whole night with only one picture from someone's phone, in which I look like this:
(I have cropped out friends who might not want internet fame,
including the one who appears to be strangling me)
- DO think up a lot of elaborate lies. This makes the first part of the party really funny when you realize how
trustingdense you have been all week, while you were walking around oblivious to all your friends' aberrant behavior. It also makes it so that all your friends who don't know each other have something to talk about while they wait for you.
- DO NOT invite too many people. Kathy didn't, but it would have been weird if there had been a bunch of people I didn't know that well. This party was the perfect size for me, and I got to have fun talking to everyone.
- DO get RSVPs from people and follow up with them. Kathy did this, and it ensured a good turnout. What would be worse than walking into a room and having three people, including your parents or something, yell "surprise" -- because no one else showed up? Right, pretty much nothing.
- DO NOT drop hints about having a surprise party or ask whether the person would want one unless you are sure you are going to actually throw the party. This happened to me once, and I thought I was having a surprise party, then I didn't. I ended up crying and it was horrible.
- DO make sure that the person knows that they are doing SOMETHING at the time you have scheduled their party. Thankfully, I thought I was going on a date with Kathy, so I was kind of dolled up. But I have a friend who had a surprise party thrown for her, and she thought she was just stopping by a close friend's house on a Sunday afternoon. She refused to shower and get dressed. Her boyfriend was able to talk her into getting dressed, but not showering. Think about how pissed she was to walk into a room full of a bunch of people, with an entire weekend's worth of nastiness on her. Right. So make sure the birthday person realizes they are going out.
- DO NOT spend the last 45 minutes talking about your hair with your sister and close friend. It will bore the other two people who are sitting there. Except that apparently Kathy and my brother-in-law were amusing themselves with how long they could keep the extremely boring conversation going. When it seemed to be waning, Kathy tossed out, "I bet your hair weighs at least a pound," and we were off and running for another 15 minutes.
So there you have it. My party. It was really fun, and I felt loved by everyone who took the time to attend. If you are one of my real-life friends who is reading this, thanks for coming. If you couldn't make it (say, because you are nearly 9 months pregnant or were out of the state) I missed you but understand.
And now, for facing turning thirty (on Sunday) with equanimity. I actually feel very well-equipped to do this, after the party. Maybe it is knowing how lucky and loved I am.
P.S. I don't think the world ended today, do you?