Did We Do Anything for Your Birthday?
This year I went out for my birthday with a group of friends who actually planned something in advance and came with gifts and cards, and it was wonderful. We went out to eat at Hoovers, and I saw Harry Knowles and his wife. It was a kick. I feel very fortunate and blessed.
Last year I went out for my birthday with one person who didn’t plan anything in advance and bought me a present while we were out together. I got laid, and I had a great time. I think that right about a year ago now I would have been taking my cab ride of shame home in a borrowed t-shirt after having a post-sex conversation about how someone didn’t want to be in a relationship as if it were just the concept of commitment in general that he had a philosophical qualm with.
Anyway, I was just thinking about the quality of my friendships and what being a friend really means. What do I expect out of a friend? I don’t expect that a friend has to celebrate events like holidays and birthdays, although it’s nice when they do, planned or unplanned. I don’t expect to get laid, although, under the right circumstances I don’t rule it out. (Kidding…sorta.)
What I do expect is that my friends be honest with me and not hide things or tell lies. Friends don’t have to be tactless or tell every little thing they’re thinking. Just have the consideration to say, “I don’t want to be in a relationship…with you,” instead of having me learn that later, the hard way. When “thinking about dating a couple of women who are interested” becomes a full-on relationship with Romanian Barbie in less than a week, what other logical conclusion can someone with half a brain in her head come to? None.
Seven months after my birthday celebration last year, when someone who called himself my friend was talking about our plans for his birthday celebration and suddenly asked, “Did we do anything for your birthday?” this should have been the classic Nancy Drew clue that he wasn’t really my friend. How could I feel anything less than insulted when I knew that this same man was marking the occasion of his first good lovin’ with his new girlfriend in a calendar so that he would always remember? I didn’t expect to be commemorated in a calendar, just not completely forgotten.
Friends show you that they care about you by their actions and by being present for you, by sharing with you. When friends practice deception, when they break important plans just because they plan poorly and are irresponsible, these people are not really your friends. When friends insult you by making you feel small or insignificant with their words or their actions or their inaction, they aren’t really your friends. Maybe acquaintances. But they never really cared enough about you or respected you enough to be your friend. And so, the loss of a friend who isn’t a friend isn’t a very great loss.
I feel fortunate to have true friends. I’m pretty sure that none of them will ask me later, “Did we do anything for your birthday?” And I didn’t even have sex with any of them. Actually, I think that I’ve already proven that sex with me doesn’t work as a memory aid. I recommend trying gingko biloba instead. Seriously. I can’t loan myself out for everyone’s senior moments.