Thursday, March 01, 2007

Second story of cultural differences

Two weeks ago was Boy's birthday. I'm a big birthday person, love them. I believe in celebrating them. But for some convoluted reason that has to remain unsaid, Boy does not celebrate them with others. Only me. This puts a lot of pressure on one. It has to be perfect, everything I do. Boy had friend Roofer to help him with my birthday party; I had no-one.

But there was no party anyway. We went to David Bann, a very up-market vegetarian restaurant. I booked that months ago. I also had decided just after Christmas what to get him for his birthday: some Laurel and Hardy DVDs.

I should have known that things were going to go wrong, a week before his birthday. Let's see, what happened? I lost my purse (wallet), so I was without any sort of means to easily access money. And exactly a week before Boy's birthday is Valentine's Day. It's never easy to celebrate both of them as you would do the same activities for each: a nice dinner, present, closeness with the one you love. We usually let one go, as we can't really do both. Usually, it's Valentine's Day. Last year, I even went to volleyball training. This year, I decided to at least make a nice meal and maybe Boy would get me some flowers and that would be all good.

Valentine's Day morning, Boy threw the bedroom door open and handed me a present. "What's this?" I said. "Your Valentine's Day present," he answered. I smiled wanly. I would have probably been more pleased if 1) I had made the equal effort to get a present for him, and 2) my present wasn't 2 Laurel and Hardy DVDs.

The following week was spent making a new list of presents in my mind, then mentally ripping that list up and stamping on it in frustration. Everything was shit and I just kept putting off, trying to ignore that I had been gazumped. The day before his birthday and volleyball training night, I caught the bus into town and frantically looked in the shops for 35 minutes to try to find something. Nothing. I figured I could shop the next day -- his birthday -- as long as I had something for his birthday dinner.

The morning of his birthday, Boy woke up to a very chirpy 'Happy Birthday' from me and a kiss. But something was very amiss and by the time I left, we were having a full-blown row. At the time, I couldn't even begin to tell you why. I was right cross, and remained that way when I got home from shopping. In my morning huff, I had left the flat without my keys. I sat on the stairs, trying to be patient, cos I knew Boy was going to be home shortly -- after all, we had 7 PM reservations. At 6.45, he arrived and the frostiness between us had not melted. And I didn't have any time to prepare his birthday present in order to take it with us to dinner. Plus, I had figured out why he was so angry which made me think, "Fuck it if I'm going to bring a present for this prima donna!" In an angry silence, we changed and went to the restaurant, sans present.

But, as we do, we made up over dinner. And I was right about what had angered him: I hadn't given him his birthday present yet. "But you get that at your birthday dinner!" I protested. "Well, in my family, we gave it first thing in the morning," he said. I apologised but told him that I hadn't been able to get a prezzie, since I didn't have a debit card, I had no money. I told that little fib so that I could get his present ready at home after dinner and was able to surprise him. What surprised me, though, was that after nearly 4 years of marriage that we only figured out this birthday thing now!

(Convoluted story, but we got there!)


Blogger hadashi said...

ergh. i so feel you. at least you're figuring it out.
TT's birthday was last week (3 weeks after V-Day) and he also is weirdly ambivalent-acting about B-days. he pretends he doesn't care but he does, oh yes, he certainly does...
anyway, this year i got smart and instead of going out to a nice dinner, i picked up a gigantic order of his favourite pizza that we never, ever usually get, went home and put on a slinky dress, and then served it with a birthday candle.
now me, i'd be Highly Disturbed if he ordered a pizza for my birthday, but he was ecstatic. boys are so weird.

Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 00:46:00 GMT  

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