Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I love my birthdays, but they can cause logistical problems'

In The Red
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The Independent Online

So: only one month until my birthday. This, naturally, is most exciting – all the more so since this year, unlike the last, I plan to celebrate. As a general rule, I am not a fan of birthdays; they necessitate far too much spending. But mine – well, I love my birthday. It means presents, for one thing (this year I'm mainly asking for donations to my Save the Rhino marathon fund – though fingers crossed my parents might be making a donation to my Save Alice's Sanity holiday fund, too. And I wouldn't mind a tripod for my camera.)

On top of this, it means getting lots attention, which is absolutely one of my favourite things in the world. Not to mention bunches of flowers (which I love), glasses of wine (again, which I love) and cake (which I love even more than flowers and wine). Who wouldn't enjoy those? Best of all, they are usually paid for by someone else.

Of course, there are disadvantages: obviously, it means getting older. Which is never a very good thing. (Recently I've noticed bouncers letting me into nightclubs without asking for ID. This has given me a terrible complex about looking old. The only people who actually want to look any older than 18 are 16-year-olds. Once you hit your twenties you desperately, desperately, don't.)

More than that, though, the logistics of celebration – if, that is, you plan to celebrate with more people that just yourself – can cause all kinds of problems. Hosting a party is all well and good – but it tends to negate the something-for-nothing factor that birthdays do so well (you may be receiving presents, but you're likely to be splashing out on all kinds of bar fodder; and, of course, you're bound to spend the next day performing hard domestic labour in an attempt to reconvert your flat from party venue to a liveable, vomit-free zone).

Going out, on the other hand, solves these issues, but creates a raft of others. If you choose a restaurant as a venue, you restrict numbers, and force those who do attend to stump up at least £20 at the end of the night. Personally, I feel a little guilty doing this.

The most logical solution is to head to a bar (and hope that someone else buys your drinks), but this year my birthday is a on a Friday – which mean than any half-decent watering hole will be packed to the rafters with shouting end-of-weekers.

It is, I suppose, better than nothing. Though if anyone has any alternative suggestions, well: send 'em on a postcard.

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