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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I don’t really enjoy birthdays, much and all as I’ve talked about my last one for about a full week and a half now. Honestly, though, I’m not one of those people who regularly, in the run up to their special day, protest loudly about the forthcoming event in an incredibly unsubtle attempt to get the date recorded in everyone’s diary. I don’t like birthdays for three reasons:

1. The embarrassment of everyone’s attention being directed at you.
2. The embarrassment of having to accept half-hearted presents from people who buy them only because they feel obliged to, because three or four months before you had done exactly the same thing for them.
3. The constant reminder of your age.

The only time in my entire life I remember wanting to be a bit older was when I was seven, and one of the girls in my class (her name was Ruth and she always wore sparkly dungarees and had a huge collection of My Little Ponies) told everyone she was seven-and-three-quarters. I thought that sounded like the best age to be, and I worked out when I’d get to be that age and then basically urged the months forward. When you’re seven, it takes an awfully long time for months to pass. By the time we’d got to me being seven-and-three-quarters, I’d forgotten how much I wanted to be that age, and didn’t make a point of telling everyone.

And that was the last time I wanted to be older. When I was 15, I started hanging out with people who looked a lot older than they were. They could all get into pubs without being id-ed and wore loads of make up (yes, some of the boys as well) and we worked out three systems for getting me into pubs with them: (1) we’d either go in to the pub so early that our presence at that time wouldn’t really be an issue, and then stay there all night (this often meant we’d be in the same place for up to 9 hours, and also meant that we’d avoid the entrance fee charged from 7pm onwards) or (2) I’d go in on the arm of the oldest looking boy in the group or (3) I’d go in on the arm of the best looking, blondest, big chested girl in the group and the bouncer would be so busy perving on her that he wouldn’t give me a second thought. We found that (3) worked best of all.

Today at work, just as I thought I’d gotten away with it, two of my friends decorated my desk before I got in so that everyone in the department then knew it was my birthday. They also kindly put a helium balloon or six up behind the desk, one of them displaying in huge purple numbers the exact nature of my age. One of the few things I enjoy about other people knowing it’s my birthday is making them guess what age I’ve just turned, because on average people guess about 4 years less than I am. Having the number right there on the balloon took that piece of fun away, but it was replaced instead by expressions of total disbelief. One girl told me, three times in a row, that she didn’t believe I was as old as I am. As usual, I took that as a compliment.

I was trying to work out what age I can reasonably expect to get away with. I’ve decided to stick to 26 for the moment. However, last night, He Who Only… said, after due consideration, that I could probably get away with claiming to be a 15 year old boy. What that says about the nature of our relationship, I’m not entirely sure.

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