Understanding birthday parties

The fact is that Facebook is responsible for most of the birthday celebrations today, especially those for men.

The fact is that Facebook is responsible for most of the birthday celebrations today, especially those for men.

There is a whole heap of people who, before the advent of Mark Zuckerberg’s invention had little (or nothing) to do with birthdays –well, their own birthdays at least. The day of such people’s B.Ds usually came and went without them actually realizing it.

I am one of those, and I know many other people like that.

It gets even more dramatic when such a person is romantically attached. In the olden days, a man would feign ignorance of their partner’s B.D, and usually the simple explanation and argument would be that “I forgot that it’s your B.D, just like I always forget my own every year.”

Then Facebook came and spoilt it all. In the early days of the social networking site, one would wake up to a notification of the birthday boys and girls of the day. This wasn’t very bad. One would not be expected to do extra-ordinary things on barely a day’s notice.

Nowadays, the Facebook administrators will notify you of upcoming birthdays way in advance, such that there is no excuse to feign ignorance.

I have never had a birthday party of my own –neither organized one for myself, nor had one thrown by friends in my name. But this does not mean that I’m short of opinions and sentiments about celebration of the occasion.

For starters, “May you live to blow 1000 candles” is so yesterday, it should have ended years ago –well at least it should have died with the previous year.

The same goes for “you look like a monkey” which comes after

HBD to youuu …!

HBD to youuu ..!!

Here at The New Times, eating of BD cake is a monthly affair. Some months it’s a single person celebrating, while in others –like January it’s a bumper celebration. We had three people throw a joint bash.

Not exactly a bash because, as expected, the office BD party is usually much more tame (and sober) than a private, suburban bash where plates will be heaped with pilau and where a goat is likely to lose a life.

In Kigali, the office birthday bash usually starts with large cake from either Simba Supermarket or La Galette. Other offices have enterprising employees who do baking as a side job and who will usually be contacted whenever the next celebration springs up.

Unlike the suburban home BD party where eating and drinking excessively is the main motivation for most attendees, the office birthday has people who would rather pretend that eating two match box-sized cubes of birthday cake would render them gluttonous.

Everybody eats below their capacity and the cake is never fully consumed. So the Simba Cake box lies about on a table at the corner of the office. There, it will be eyed and ogled lustfully by employees that want to gobble it down but that are afraid of public opinion.

Then there are the ‘hustler BD balls’, which are no different from those wedding meetings that ought to rightfully be called begging meetings.

At a hustler’s birthday, nothing is free, although you’ll learn this the hard way. In the middle of the party, a taxi motor will pull up to the venue, laden with a consignment of more drinks.

Then the hustler birthday boy/girl will pull you to a corner and ask you to “top up” by paying for one Black Label.

To avoid the question, “so you just came here to drink and eat and party??”, you obey.

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