Let me put this out there: I don’t like surprises. Some you can’t avoid. Like, say, “A tornado swept away your house. Surprise!” or “Those aren’t your real parents, they actually bought you at K-Mart You were a blue-light special. Surprise!” But, surprise parties? Totally avoidable. And – I hate ’em. And it’s not one of those declared hates that I secretly like… I really, really don’t like them. Instead of making me jump with joy, they kind of make me want to sprint in the other direction.
And – unsurprisingly – the whole aversion to surprise parties doesn’t even have a thing to do with the being gay part. Even as a straight girl, I didn’t like surprise parties. Or, perhaps I should be more precise: surprise parties thrown in my honor.
This is very well-known among my friends. At least, I thought it was.
And then I got a phone call very early this morning: my sister, risking the ire of everyone involved, told me that my friends were planning to surprise me for my 40th birthday. Without me knowing, the family’s been all drama’d up this past week or so. My sister and Mom went back and forth on whether to tell me, my brother was going to boycott the event knowing that it wasn’t something I wanted, and I even had other friends chiming in saying that it wasn’t a good idea.
And the best part? They had decided to have it… AT MY HOUSE. Yes. And now that I know (and, I haven’t quite decided my feelings on whether I’m glad about that or not), I’m going to have to clean my house, and shovel my driveway and make sure all the porn is put away before leaving on that day (joking!).
I was telling a friend about this today, trying not to sound like the spoiled, ungrateful bitch that I felt like and attempting to explain why this bothered me so much — both surprise parties in general and this one in particular.
First – surprise parties in general: it’s been ugly to admit it, but I’m a control freak. At least some of the time. And big social situations definitely have that distinction. So, you want to drop me in the middle of 30 or so people and take away every comfort that I might have by taking away control? Let’s talk about panic attacks. Heh. I don’t mind being the center of attention when it’s my doing and on my terms, but when I’m not in charge, I become skittish and it makes my “flight” instinct kick in.
This one in particular? There’s going to be a very wide mix of people invited. From all of my different social circles. And I’ve gone through a lot of trouble in the past to kind of keep all these people separate. They all know different versions of me – and now that disparity is even more stark, as I’m out to only some of them. I’ll spend the evening playing the line between the person I am now and the person I used to be, hoping that the two don’t collide.
I’ve talked about the fact that my parents don’t yet know that I’m gay? Well, yea, they’ll be there. Along with a bunch of friends who DO know. And some that actually ARE gay. Interesting mix.
One workaround? Get stinkin’ drunk. It’s my house, it’s my party – just start drinking early and the rest will be fun. But – I worry that the drinking will cause me to do something I would regret later – like coming out to my family in the middle of all that hubbub. Happy birthday to me, and by the way, family, it was nice knowing you!
I’ve been stressing about this all day, and even I think I’m being a little over the top about this. I mean, I understand that my party-planning friends’ intentions are good – they’re doing this to show me how much they care – but I just don’t get how they thought this was something I’d like. I feel like for them being such close friends, that they don’t even know me. Or understand the concept that something that they might enjoy isn’t something I would enjoy.
In the end, I told my sister to go ahead with the plan (she was ready to tell everyone to call it off – I love my sister!) because I knew that it meant a lot to the organizers that they do this for me (regardless of my feelings about it). And I’ll have fun (even if it kills me). I’ll act surprised, and try to just mellow out and enjoy the company of all my friends.