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Birthdays come but once a year… Or do they?

FOR THE FIRST 18 years of my life, I operated under the assumption that I was to celebrate my birthday only once a year. As the big day approached, I quietly went about planning a small party or dinner with close friends. The event would come and go, and everyone would move on with their lives. I relished the day privately and have always assumed the majority of the population shared my laissez-faire attitude toward birthdays.

And then I went to university and met people who were hell-bent on saving me from my plebeian delusions.

Enter the birthday bitch. It’s the anniversary of the day she was expelled from her mother’s womb and everyone within a 500-kilometre radius is going to hear about it. She will create a Facebook event page (or five), set a strict dress code, send out incessant email reminders, and say things like, “I don’t really want presents. I mean, I won’t turn them down or anything. It would be awesome to actually have something to open on my birthday—but I don’t really want anything.”

Upon meeting several birthday bitches during my first year of university, I quickly learned birthday celebrations are a whole new ball game in your early twenties. One night of partying is not enough. Rather, a birthday bitch will require her friends devote an entire weekend—nay, an entire week—to toasting her existence.

A birthday bitch’s typical itinerary might include Wednesday night karaoke, Thursday night sushi, bar hopping on Friday and Saturday, and, for the closing ceremonies, mimosas over Sunday morning brunch.

I need not glance at my bank statement to know my finances aren’t up to the challenge.

Given that most university students are broke, swamped with school work, and holding down a part-time job or other extracurricular commitments, it’s usually expected that we will have to decline certain social engagements. But try telling a birthday fiend you won’t be attending one of her six scheduled events and you’ll know what it is to feel serious regret.

“But it’s my birthday!” she’ll moan, looking at you like you’ve just announced you ran over her beloved pet dog. “How can you skip something I planned during my birthday week?”

Therein lays the rub, birthday bitch!

I love my friends and I’m more than happy to celebrate the day they were born—but only once a year. I don’t have the time, money, or interest to devote more than one night every 365 days to readjusting my friends’ tiaras and “Birthday Girl” sashes while trailing behind them in bars.

Call me what you will—cold-hearted, selfish, or dull—but I refuse to dip into my meagre savings, book time off work, or let my school work suffer all in the name of someone else’s narcissism.

A message to birthday bitches everywhere: Enjoy your day, but don’t go overboard. It may be your party, but it’ll be your guests who are crying if you don’t calm down the crazy.

—Kristyn Filip