So last night friends, former colleagues and people I don't know all that well gathered in Lakeview for Ryan's belated birthday celebration.
And this year, rather than dinner out at a restaurant with the inevitable awkwardness about dividing up the bill, my heterosexual life partner decided to serve chili, wine, appetizers and cake at his place and then go out to a neighborhood bar, the Gingerman. Financially, I liked this decision and once we got to his apartment and relaxed with a drink, it was really a nice change of pace.
Sadly, gone are the days of kid parties, goodie bags and oodles of presents, and now, as an adult, you find yourself making a different kind of birthday fun. While sitting at the Gingerman last night, exhausted by midnight, I started comparing birthday celebrations as a bona fide adult with those from college, when things were cheaper and a bit more carefree. I've even compiled a brief comparison of this evolution below:
Birthday parties: College
-- Dorm room paties with as much illegally bought liquor as possible
-- Drinking games, involving a lot of beer spilling on the college-supplied carpet
-- Sharing college drinking stories, starting with, "I was so wasted last night/week, etc."
-- Stumbling to whatever college bar is closest
-- Wearing super tight jeans with high heels and small tops that you know your parents wouldn't approve of
-- Drunkily screaming, "Happy Birthday to me," followed by kisses and squeals of joy from your girlfriends
-- Breakfast the next morning in the college commons, laughing about the previous nights adventures
-- Clean up: sneaking bottles to the recycling bins on the dorm floor
Birthday parties: Present
-- Dinner or a pre-party at home with legally bought wine and spirits
-- Frantic apologies if red wine spills on the carpet or a lack of coaster-use on the coffee table
-- Sharing college drinking stories, starting with, "Remember in college when..."
-- Finding a bar close to the pre-party or dinner site (street parking availability is a bonus)
-- Squeezing in your "skinny jeans" with a "flashy" work top and tennis shoes for comfort
-- Becoming embarrassed and uncomfortable during your rendition of "Happy Birthday," smiling and wondering if you will be able to actually blow out the candles
-- Unable to move in bed the next day until at least noon, promising not to drink as much next year
-- Clean up: sponge, cleaner and multiple trips to the garbage chute
Fortunately, my birthday is less than six months away, so I have plenty of time to stock up on coasters for my place.