Par­tied out

Mon­ica Heisey is so over be­ing a birth­day girl.

ELLE (Canada) - - Humour -

Ihave a con­fes­sion to make: It’s my birth­day this month. “Cool con­fes­sion, Mon­ica! Very dra­matic! Wow, a birth­day! What will you ad­mit to next? Be­ing a woman?” At least that’s what I imag­ine you’re think­ing as you read this. To that I say “Fair enough.” It’s not a par­tic­u­larly juicy con­fes­sion. It’s not even a se­cret. Af­ter all, ev­ery­one has a birth­day an­nu­ally (un­less they’re born on Fe­bru­ary 29). But this year, I’m keep­ing it quiet— I’m done. Thank you, friends and fam­ily! Years one through 26 saw some truly in­cred­i­ble birth­day par­ties: pizza sleep­overs, din­ner in Paris, a visit to Laser Quest Mis­sis­sauga. I cel­e­brated heartily for the first quar­ter of my life, drink­ing too much pop and eat­ing too many chips un­til I was old enough to drink too much al­co­hol and eat too many chips. I had cakes adorned with, var­i­ously, a pe­nis, my name spelled “Marka” and Princess Jas­mine walk­ing Pongo the Dal­ma­tian on a leash (be­cause my twin sis­ter and I both loved Dis­ney but had dif­fer­ent favourite movies). I have had the “Birth­day Song” sung to me in five dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

But enough now. Time to close up shop. There’s some­thing... off, to me, about a 27-year-old woman mak­ing a big deal over her birth­day. How long are we sup­posed to keep do­ing this? How much cel­e­brat­ing does my life re­quire? It’s not that I’m ashamed that I’m ag­ing—as far as I’m con­cerned, any choice where the al­ter­na­tive is “dead” is a pretty easy one to make—and I’m not about to start lying about my age. Sure, I’ve turned a cor­ner around which I will never be in dan­ger of any­one re­fer­ring to me as a prodigy, and, sure, there’s some... stuff go­ing on neck-wise. But I’m happy to be 27, and I’ll be even hap­pier to live past the age that killed Hen­drix, Jo­plin, Wine­house, Mor­ri­son and more.

The truth is, I feel very cel­e­brated year-round. As women, we can cel­e­brate our­selves lit­er­ally ev­ery day— which we do! And why not? But doesn’t it seem a bit ex­treme to be tak­ing all the self­ies I want, own­ing, like, a ba­jil­lion sheet masks for my pre­cious face and do­ing Galen­tine’s, Valen­tine’s and Palen­tine’s (a gen­der-in­clu­sive Galen­tine’s that cel­e­brates friend­ships)? Be­tween the stan­dard cal­en­dar hol­i­days (New Year’s, Vic­to­ria Day) and the other non-tra­di­tional ones (Friends­giv­ing, the day a new Bey­oncé video comes out), we’re al­ready spend­ing a lot of the year danc­ing and par­ty­ing and gen­er­ally dis­re­gard­ing the con­cept of han­govers. Maybe that’s enough!

Am I be­ing a killjoy? “Mon­ica, se­ri­ously. Let your loved ones have a damn din­ner for you if they want to. You’re a jerk, and you prob­a­bly give peo­ple their gifts late ev­ery year.” That, dear reader, is you in­sert­ing your­self in my story again. To that I say “Wow, okay, you’re bring­ing a lot of at­ti­tude to what was sup­posed to be just a fun birth­day col­umn be­tween friends.” It’s not that I don’t ap­pre­ci­ate the thought and ef­fort that goes into birth­day plans; it’s just that a spon­ta­neous gift pur­chased by a friend be­cause he or she saw some­thing and thought of me means more to me than “Here’s a nov­elty wine I found at the liquor store be­cause, you know, it’s that time of year.” An evening spent with friends—where there’s no pres­sure to have a great time, find a per­fect dress or have some­one bring a cake—is more my idea of a good time. No one feels pres­sure to make sure that a ran­dom Fri­day night is “spe­cial.” No one feels awk­ward if only a few peo­ple show up to have a beer with you on a non-birth­day date in June. It’s all just... a lot. Mommy’s tired, ya know? Maybe I’m a grump. Maybe I’m a party-pooper. Or maybe I’m just get­ting old. n

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