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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Birthday Girl

On any given Saturday night in Manhattan, somewhere there's a chick throwing herself a birthday party in some pseudo-trendy bar/lounge. I've always found throwing yourself a birthday party a bit sad, but I'm the type of guy who forgets it's his birthday until he gets his mail, and sees a birthday card with a check in it for $100 from his grandmother. So maybe I'm the sad one. Either way, I always make an extra special effort not to attend such gatherings, if invited... especially if I don't know the birthday girl. Whenever I've gone to such affairs where I only know the person who invited me, I wind up spending the whole time doing one of 3 things: Talking only to the person who invited me, pretending to be doing something very important on my cell phone, or intently studying the half page bar food menu that consists of 3 items (fries, chicken wings, and something Mexican). I've even left such shindigs, gone home for a while, and come back without anyone even noticing. It's anti-social, I know. But these parties separate into cliques quickly since people tend to want to only speak to people they already know. And generally, the only cute chicks at these things are with their boyfriends or husbands.

So a couple of weeks ago, I fell victim to a friend's false promises of good times, and access to available women. "It'll be fun," he said when he called to convince me to come to some poor girl's self-thrown 30th birthday party. "No it won't," I responded, but went anyway because my DVR was empty, as was the CD spindle in the freezer that stores my weed.

I get there, and there are maybe 15-20 people present - an even mix of men and women. The birthday girl, who has too much make up on, acts like a drunk Julie from "The Love Boat." She spends the whole party slurring her words, while greeting the incoming guests, and saying goodbye to the departing ones. I smile and give her my standard "Happy birthday. It's nice to meet you" line. She smiles back, and gives me her standard "Who invited you?" look. And then I survey the room. It's the same old cast of characters, only with different faces.

The couples section consists of the guys talking to the guys, and their other halves talking to each other. In the corner, there's the three man tag team - a trio of guys talking to one woman, all hoping to be the one to get the digits. There's the guy who hangs with the drunken birthday girl the whole night because he's in love with her, but to her, he's just a friend. The closest he'll come to physical contact with her is holding her hair back when she vomits later that night.

There's the group of angry, unapproachable women sitting at their own table who know the birthday girl from work or college, or wherever. There's the sleazy dude who spends the whole night trying to pick up the waitress... And then there's me! - Playing Tetris on my cell phone with such determination so it appears as if I'm genuinely busy conducting some sort of important wiring money to a secret account in the Caymans at 11:45 on a Saturday night.

My friend the douchebag leaves me to go talk to some chick he secretly hoped would be there. He only invited me so he'd have someone to hang with in case the chick wasn't there. But she was, and there I stood. Feeling bored, awkward, and a bit gassy to be honest. I made some polite conversation with a few people, and even exchanged business cards with some dude. But by 12:30, I was done. I left my friend to complete his pick up routine, and by 1 am, I was home.

Two nights ago my friend calls and tells me that the birthday girl was asking about me. He heard this from the chick he was hitting on who is friends with someone with whom the birthday girl works....or something like that. Anyway, he wanted to know if I was interested because he could give me her number, if I was. "We barely said hello to each other, but if she's interested, fine. Give me her number," I told him. And he did.

Last night I called the birthday girl, and let's just say my call wasn't received with the enthusiasm I would expect from a woman who was supposedly interested in me.

"Wait. Who are you again?," she asked.

"Marc. Pete's friend. We met at your party a couple of weeks ago. Pete said you might be interested in getting together," I said, knowing my cell phone minutes were now officially being used up for naught.

"Oh, wow, this is kind of awkward," she explained. "There was another Pete at the party, and I was interested in HIS friend. I'm so sorry for the mix up."

"No problem. You have a good night. Sorry to bother you," I said, feeling like an ass.

She apologized again before saying good night, and was actually pretty sweet about the whole thing. I was even a bit upset about the mix up. Sober birthday girl is actually pretty cool. But it's not to be. She's dating the other Pete's friend.

So my New Year's resolution is to make sure both my DVR and CD spindle are always fully stocked so the next time I get invited to a birthday party like that, I'll actually have something better to do.


isaac said...

Oh god. The self thrown b-day party by some chick you don't know. Been to so many I can't even count. Almost always a waste of time.

mo said...

Nothing like that awkward feeling of being at a party all alone, not knowing anyone - except for your friend who dumped you to rap with that chick. Not cool. But you already know he's a douchebag so I'm preaching to the choir.

lori said...

I'm one of those "sad" women who throws themselves birthday parties. I like celebrating my birthday with friends, and if no one's gonna throw me a party, I'll throw myself one. I see nothing sad about it. Maybe you should use these opportunities to be more sociable. I've had people meet and wind up dating at a few of my parties.

cindy said...

Though I've never thrown myself a birthday party in some bar or lounge, I have plenty of friends who have. It's an excuse to get together, and for them to be the center of attention for a few hours.

Too bad about the mix up. Maybe if it doesn't work out with the other guy, you and the birthday girl can go out.

rebecca said...

" was the CD spindle in the freezer that stores my weed."

Marc, shame on you! ;-)

Sorry you had a bad time at the party, sounded like a very awkward situation for you.

Dori said...

I have definitely observed the dynamics you so hilariously described. I'm the one talking animatedly to people I am not interested in, while watching actual prospects in my peripheral vision. Then I go home and wonder why nobody interesting talked to me.

Also: I know that it's not your intention to be snobby, but messing with your cell phone at a social thing comes off as rude, as if you're too busy and important to socialize.

Miranda said...

Aha! A toker! I knew it!
I hope all was not lost and you were at least able to beat your highest Tetris score.
Keep that freezer stocked in the future!