Says the NY Post, "Bored by tedious group dinners, feeling overworked and underappreciated — or simply enamored of their own awesomeness — these Peter Pans refuse to let their birthdays grow up." I'll say!
It's not exactly shocking that designer Betsey Johnson should go in for balloons or noisemarkers — or that Tracey Morgan should request a Superman cake (a replica of that from his 6th birthday) when he turns 42. But the trend is not confined to professionally whimsical celebrities: other adults are getting into it too. According to the Post's Carrie Seim,
Event planner Matt Toubin, owner of Shine Events, says about 10 percent of his clients are New York adults planning kid parties for themselves. (The numbers are likely much higher for self-planned soirees.) Inspired by children's parties, these grown-ups demand water-balloon races, roller skating, Pac-Man arcade games, cotton-candy machines, snow cones and "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" — all of which Toubin bemusedly provides. He describes one juvenile birthday blowout he planned for a wealthy "finance guy" in Rye, NY, last May. The birthday boy, turning 45, begged for a big-top theme complete with carnival games (with goldfish and stuffed toy prizes), circus tents, face painters, stilt walkers and cheese fries.
He makes the point that it's a shift from the days of SATC-style events of a few years ago, which makes the whole trend seem, depressingly, more a fad than some kind of spontaneous primal regression. Not shockingly, most of these revelers seem to not have children, themselves. (Probably the novelty of some of these entertainments wears off when you have to attend them, regularly, with actual kids.) Instead, they're young (or young-ish) professionals with the money to spend on parties. And a birthday is certainly the time to indulge and have fun...whatever that means to you. The question is, does it mean the same thing to all your guests? I, personally, hated kids' parties as a kid: I associate them with tears, pressures, unfun games, and not getting enough chocolate crunchies on my piece of Carvel cake. On the other hand, maybe that doesn't matter. Says one woman quoted in the piece, "On my birthday, I get the leeway to be as ridiculous and childish as I want to be and everybody is forced to play along... [normally] we're all chugging away at our goals, but for one day, you get to say, ‘Instead, I'm going to eat a cupcake.' "
The kid-party phenomenon is nothing new: in fact, between the wars, the Bright Young Things were notoriously fond of "Baby Parties" in which wealthy socialites dresses up like babies and nannies. By those standards, the parties described are practically staid in their maturity. (Never mind that that's frequently pointed to as a high-water-mark of decadence.) Talking about the phenomenon, Dodai put into words what I think many of us feel instinctively: "On the one hand, do what you want! On the other, when you're in a restaurant with a 30something girl with a tiara and tutu, it's like… BARF." (Then she admitted, "Although… I've been known to wear a tiara.")
Having Our Cake And Eating It, Too! [NY Post]
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