DEAR MARGO: I am 43 years old and single with many friends, almost all of whom are married with more than one child. Over the years I have been invited (and, of course, had to bring or send a gift) to all of my friends' engagement parties, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, christenings, communions and some birthday parties.
I am now being invited to Sweet 16 parties and being asked for donations for cheerleading events and other fundraisers. Next come school graduations. When will it stop? Perhaps the real question is, how can I put an end to it? Even if I do not go to the parties, the proper thing to do is to send a gift, which defeats the purpose of not going.
I do not want to sound selfish, but I feel as if I have given enough. Would it be rude to throw myself a party (perhaps for my 45th birthday) and register somewhere for gifts?
--- SINGLE AND PAYING FOR IT
DEAR SING: I sympathize with your feelings about all the presents you feel obligated to buy with no chance for reciprocity. I disagree that if you don't go, you need to send a gift. You can surely skip the kid-related things unless you have a special relationship with the child.
And oftentimes it really is the thought that counts. There are inexpensive things that are appropriate and serve the purpose. (And no, you may not register, but you certainly could throw yourself a party. I suspect most guests will crash through with a gift, but it will be of their choosing.)
It sucks being single! I'm not close to 43 but I am beginning to see a influx of engagement, bridal shower, wedding and birthday invitations (sometimes from the same person). It's not that I don't want to share in your "events" but it fucked up that I bought an engagement, christenings, and a birthday gift for a couple friend and their daughter this year. You know what they got me for my birthday jack shit! Basically I'm not buying any more gifts or I'm going to do like that guy and start throwing parties for myself and registering for gifts.
ps. There's a old Sex and The City episode where Carrie makes this same point!