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All I want for my birthday is a bouquet



American University


All I want for my birthday is a bouquet

With a birthday dangerously close to Valentine's Day, I think some reparations are in order

K Kohn


All I’ve ever wanted for my birthday is some flowers.

See, I’m just a tad cursed. My birthday falls two days after Valentine’s Day. I’m really happy for everyone who enjoys chocolate, and flowers, and romance, and Parks and Recreation marathons on February 14th. I really am! You all deserve happiness and love, and I’m just so excited for you.

But goddammit if I don’t feel glossed over.

See, there are a handful of occasions for which flowers should be a standard gift. Romantic landmarks, weddings, anniversaries should be a given. Graduation, too. Congratulations on a new job, or a new home also fall into this category. What these things have in common is their focus on a single person. It’s your success. Good job, you!

Here’s the thing, though, everyone is getting these gifts of roses and artisanal tea and gift cards waaaay too close to my birthday.

Now, I’ve never been the object of anyone’s romantic intentions. And I’m okay with that. I love myself enough to take a multivitamin on days I don’t have time to eat. I don’t need a lover, or friends, or acquaintances, or strangers who ride the same train as me in the morning. I don’t need it. What I do need, though, is just some gosh dang flowers.

This is the less religious version of the curse of people born around Christmas. Your rate of gifts received is halved, thanks to the intentional vague characterization of gifts-for-your-birthday and gifts-you-got-thanks-to-Jesus’-birthday. But either way, you’re getting gifts. You don’t have to stand by, idly, and watch as others get handfuls of pink carnations, or tulips, or bright red roses.

I love flowers. I’m really into the Language of Flowers as a thematic concept for my Steampunk novella. I love everything lavender-scented. Sometimes I even let my basil plant go to seed because I think the white blooms are adorable. If anyone deserves from flowers on Valentine’s Day, it’s me.

Not because you think I’m cute (which you do?), not because you think I’m the charmingest person you’ve ever met (you do), certainly not because I demand to be validated by others after years of high school bullying which have left my self-esteem non-existent and just an act so small as liking this article on Facebook will have me forever in your debt (I’m begging). But because I just really like flowers.

And here, here’s where you will argue that I could just buy the flowers for myself. Well, the joke’s on you, I don’t have any money. I go to my unpaid internship 32 hours a week and suffer through a full schedule of block classes. I just spent an not insignificant amount of money that I raised by drawing couples for Valentine’s Day on textbooks for a Natsec class which has me in the throes of ego death.

Plus, buying yourself flowers is just… it’s just not a good look. Well, in the sense that I don’t have a breakfast table that needs sprucing up. I don’t have a cute, little place to call my own. I have a dorm room decorated with some loose cacti and an enormous photo of The Rock hanging from the wall. But, see, if someone else were to get me these flowers, then I would have no choice but to find a vase, a space on the table, and a nook in my heart with which to devote to the giver.

Maybe I am bitter. Maybe I’ve seen Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement enough times that my psyche has succumbed to the Meg Cabot-Garry Marshall trap, and I can never love anyone but Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth. I think my frustration is justified. My birthday is dangerously close to Valentine’s Day, and I’m the only person not getting gifts? At least this year I’ll finally be legally able to buy myself a bottle of Prosecco while I stay up late, alone, and too many episodes deep into my sixteenth rewatch of Ouran High School Host Club.

Happy after-Valentine's Day from The Rival American to you, and Happy Birthday to our very own Kate Kohn.