I'm supposed to be doing taxes right now, but that's no fun so I'm writing instead.
As Mr. Man has been on my back to get them done for weeks now and tax day is day after tomorrow, I am perpetuating the myth that I am hard at work by scattering a myriad of papers and file folders all over the floor and for good measure, I occasionally emit a loud accountant-like sigh.
I think it's working, but unfortunately my sighs are evidently the actual mating call of the North American Double-Breasted CPA. Accountants have been beating down my door all morning offering me calculators and pocket protectors to breed with them.
While I have no interest in getting freaky with accountants or Uncle Sam today, I do have a major interest in talking excessively about my birthday. I am pretty dang near close to turning forty-one, people. So close in fact I can feel it breathing down my neck.
It's all good though. I'm not freaking out or anything this year. Not like last year. Last year I spent my fortieth birthday crying and telling Mr. Man how very much I hated him, hated my life and hated the fact that there was no monkey under my birthday tree. This year, I plan to do all that the day before thereby leaving the 24th open for an epic celebration.
But there is a potential problem that has me concerned. See, I've spent my entire life lying to everyone I know. They'll ask, "What do you want for your birthday?" and I'll say, "Oh nothing. Don't make a big deal out of it".
And you know what? They don't. Sorry scum-sucking pigs, every last one of them.
My birthday has never been a big deal to anyone but me. Never, ever, ever. No one has ever jumped through hoops of any sort to create a memorable birthday celebration for me. Well, unless you count my step-mother who tried to do a good thing and throw me a Sweet Sixteen surprise party.
And if you don't count the fact that my trumpet blowing ex-boyfriend showed up with his new sex pot girlfriend, it was great.
I remember when I was married to number one, I became completely convinced that he was going to throw me a surprise party. I was sure of it. I got all baby-dolled up in my eighties clothes and frankly I was so excited I could hardly put the eighth coat of spray on my hair.
Turns out he hadn't so much planned a party as he had planned for me to cook supper and service him. What was I thinking anyway? This was the same man that told me if I raised my voice during labor, he would walk out and not come back. Yeah... he was going to throw me a party. Can you say naive hillbilly?
Then there was my twenty-fifth birthday. I was still married to number one, but by this time I had wised up a little. My co-workers decided they were going to take me out on the town to celebrate the fact that I was a quarter of a century old. At the time, I lived in a little village in Germany which meant they were going to take me to a German bar full of GI Joe's that were looking for love and came complete with their own penicillin.
No matter though. I was thrilled that someone cared enough about me to celebrate the fact that I was born into this world. I wore a black dress, black stockings with the seam up the back and black heels so high that I had to purchase extra accident insurance just to wear them. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I was channeling an eighteenth century prostitute named Satin.
So we arrive at this little bar in Germany, my girlfriends and I, all prepared for a fun girl's night out on the town. The disco music was blasting as we walked in, and the cigarette smoke was heavy in the air. There were soldiers everywhere and as the four of us walked past, I could feel their eyes on us.
No sooner had we sat down than men started approaching the table. One by one my girlfriends were asked to dance and left the table with cute, young soldiers. We all had husbands at home, but with their permission; we were "allowed" to be just girls again for this one night...as long as we behaved ourselves. My friends were taking full advantage of the freedom we'd been granted in honor of my birthday.
And when I say my friends were taking advantage of it, that's what I mean. While they danced the night away with handsome man after handsome man, I sat staring at my hooker shoes and pretending that I didn't want to dance anyway. It wasn't just my girlfriends that were dancing their behinds off either. Even women with who had hairy armpits and warts on their chins were being asked to dance. But, when I saw a one-legged woman leave her crutch on the table to dance with a guy to "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights", the reality was unavoidable
I was a quarter century old wall flower.
Not one single man in the place even approached me, much less asked me to dance. That was painful enough, but what made it even more painful was the fact that this kind of thing ALWAYS happened to me. Men just wouldn't come near me in any situation. It was if I always wore a t-shirt that read, "I want you to be my baby's Daddy".
Hour after hour ticked by as I celebrated my birthday feeling like a giant toad that emitted a special man repellant spray released every few moments from my man repellant gland.
Finally, just as I was about to strip down and stand in the middle of the table naked to determine whether I was even still visible to other humans, a man approached me.
And I use the word "man" loosely.
He was a German guy with roughly fourteen hairs that he had carefully plastered to his head with what I can only guess was some sort of cooking oil. He wore a brown suede vest and corduroy pants with a white belt and white shoes and I would estimate that he was approximately 5'5" tall and weighed as much as a Volkswagen.
With a thick German accent, he nervously asked me to dance. With a thick Southern accent, I shot him down cold.
"What happened, Sher?" asked one of my friends when she noticed someone of the male persuasion had actually come near me. "Why didn't you dance with that guy?"
Obviously she had forgotten how strong German beer could be because only a crazy drunk woman would imagine any sort of circumstance that would have me dancing with Greasy Gross Guy In A Vest.
"I have a confession to make," she said. "We all felt sorry for you that you weren't having a better time on your birthday, so we found that guy and told him we'd buy him a beer if he'd ask you to dance."
This is the very reason that my best friends since that time have always been male.
"You had to actually pay a person in alcohol to dance with me?"
Twenty-five years on Earth wasn't a bad run. I figured I'd go home and take an entire bottle of Midol and end it peacefully...and without cramps and bloating.
But she wasn't quite finished. I still had the tiniest shred of life left in me.
"The bad thing is that even though we offered him beer to do it, he really didn't want to because he was afraid you'd say yes."
And that my friends is why I'd seriously better get a great birthday this year from somebody. I'm talking jugglers and fire-eaters and presents and singing and a cake so big it requires four hunky men to carry it. And none of them better be wearing a vest and white shoes.
Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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