Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to talk about those people whose birthdays we still remember, every damn year, despite them not actually being in our life anymore. It’s annoying! It’s bittersweet! It’s perhaps a memento from an earlier time when we did not have Google calendars that would remind us of these things!
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer & TV Editor
My best friend from middle school and I had a very dramatic friend breakup in early high school. We’d been inseparable up until that point, playing on every sports team together, chorus together, spending every weekend at each other’s houses. We shared a baseball card collection, all our cards together in one binder. She was six stops after me on the bus and when she’d get home, ten minutes after I’d just spent the entire day with her, she’d call me and we’d just talk the evening away. She is now a successful and openly gay professional artist and I am now a successful and openly gay professional artist — but there was a time when she was ready to know that’s how our lives were going to evolve and I was absolutely not ready to know that’s how our lives were going to evolve. She never said it out loud, but I sensed it, and she sensed me sensing it, and I panicked and she panicked and we both got cagey and angry and one day, at my locker, she gave me back her half of the best friend charm I’d given her on her 13th birthday. July 23rd.
Erin , Writer
I remember March 1-3 as a touchstone for three people (!) who I’m not in regular communication with anymore, but were all significant in different areas of my life at different times. One is my best friend from middle school/high school, one is a best friend from college, and one is my second girlfriend. Astrology, much??? All of us pisces together, living laughing loving. I don’t really enjoy investigating what this means, that a set of dates don’t hold as much significance as they once did but might again because it reminds me that time is a circle and I sort of hate that.
Rachel Kincaid, Managing Editor
My best friend from elementary school, Jess, who I used to play horses with at recess and whose house I got my second period ever in, was born on December 11. She broke my heart when she got mono in the seventh grade and didn’t come to school for months and then when she did we were somehow not best friends anymore, and then also she dated a guy I knew in high school who was an ambulance driver. That didn’t break my heart really but it was a weird coincidence. We have not spoken since then but I will never forget her birthday, or her parents’ home phone number circa 2001.
Carrie Wade, Writer
My unfortunate ex from high school was born on Bastille Day, a fact she would tell any and everyone possible (despite not being French or having any non-birthday connection to the holiday). I think she felt like it made her fancier and more important, which tracks. Given that I still remember, I guess it worked, in a way.
Laneia Jones, Executive Editor
I didn’t choose to be this way, but the only birthdays like this that I remember every year are the ones that fall in my birth month, February. So that means Gabe, a true actual cowboy who was kind enough to date me in 8th grade and not be the absolute worst at all; Brianne, my basketball-playing best friend from middle and early high school who shared a very specific way of eating cereal; and Brandi, my once-nemesis (I don’t remember why) who was friends with my one friend but never nice to me, despite sharing a birthday (wait, maybe that’s why I didn’t like her?) always get a little energy blink from me on the 1st, 2nd, and 8th, respectively. Do you think they think of me too? I do. Again I want to reiterate, I did not choose to be this way.
Valerie Anne, Writer
Aside from the few friends who had the month/day of their birthdays tacked onto the end of their AIM username and therefore I shall remember them forever, I am so bad at remembering birthdays (and in fact is pretty much the only thing I use Facebook for). But my best friend from kindergarten (Maria) has the same birthday as my brother, so that’s very convenient. There were years Maria and I went to different schools that we drifted somewhat apart, but every year I’d remember her on her birthday (and it was pre-texting/social media so I couldn’t even really reach out to her.) But sometime around the birth of Facebook we found our way back into each other’s lives (I was even a bridesmaid in her wedding a few years ago) and every year on each other’s birthdays we post our weird inside jokes we’ve had since we were small on each other’s timelines. There’s also a girl the both of us went to school with, Toni Marie, whose birthday is on March 3rd and maybe because I thought it was cool it was 3/3 or maybe because I had a crush on her that was a secret even to me, or maybe I just thought she was super cool and I liked reenacting scenes from Charmed and Power Rangers and Now & Then with her at recess, but I haven’t seen her in probably 20 years and it’s still just a thing I know.
Riese Bernard, CEO
In middle school me and all my friends, most of who’d eventually become lesbians, were obsessed with the same boy. Like, OBSESSED. I think this obsession was more about each other than it was about him — loyalties and secrets and all that — but whatever. We went to a small private middle school for gifted students with way more girls than boys, which set up a scarcity economy that put us all into a consistent state of frenzy. His birthday is August 18th. The first thing I ever really understood about astrology was that Of Course He Was a Leo. His parents must’ve been so entertained by the competing messages that would come in on his birthday every year, like each of us wanted to have the best one, or sometimes we’d leave them together? It was bananas. Anyhow every August 18th I think, like a knee-jerk reaction, that I should call him and leave him a Happy Birthday message on his answering machine.
KaeLyn Rich, Writer
I was going to write that I don’t remember anyone’s birthday except my immediate family, but then I remembered that I know one ex’s birthday because it’s the same day as my dad’s birthday. Both my high school puppy dog love situation and my dad were born on July 20th. Kevin and I had this very intense 15-year-old love affair that was a lot of writing each other poetry on notes we discreetly slipped each other in the halls and pining in agony like we were star-crossed lovers instead of hormonal, typical teenagers with very easy lives. I dated his best friend for a couple months, which was a long time in high school terms, and ended dramatically. I don’t think Kevin and I even ever dated officially. It was too complicated with me either being pursued by, dating, or having recently broken up with his best friend. I had so many feelings about him that were deeply earnest at the time, but feel very cute and silly now. I think he was my first love, in the full capacity I had to love at the age of 15. (This is why I worry about people who get married as teens. The feelings are painfully and exquisitely real, but the ability to make good decisions and understand the complexity of relationships is very, very underdeveloped.) I still remember our cough-drop-menthol-flavored first kiss in the dusty dark of the catwalk above the high school auditorium. (We were on light crew together for the high school musical—nerds!) We went on to be very different and very ok people as adults and honestly I don’t typically remember my ex’s birthdays after we break up, but I’ll always be able to recall Kevin’s because he shares it with my dad. I don’t think of him or his birthday often, though and really it only came up because of this roundtable prompt!
Reneice Charles, Writer
My close friend and neighbor from middle school, Blythe. Her birthday is September 11th, and teenagers are assholes so I’m sure you can paint the picture of how her birthday went in 2001 on your own. Just know that it involved me finding her sobbing in the bathroom. I made it a point to make a big deal about her birthday after that. Then when college happened and we weren’t ever really in contact anymore I still made sure to say happy birthday on the Facebook, and kept that up basically until I stopped using Facebook a couple years ago. I’ve never forgotten that it’s her birthday though, or the look on her face when I found her at school that day, and I never will. Heartbreaking.
Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor
July 19th was Chris’ birthday, an ex-boyfriend I was particularly fond of, whose presence in my life was completely destroyed by an ex-girlfriend whose exact birthday I cannot recall (she was for sure a Gemini). The gentleman in question had stuck by me through some of my worst moments and stayed a close confidant long after he’d moved to the Bay, and after we stopped talking I used to send him the occasional happy birthday email, letting him know that I’d never stopped caring about him or wanting him back in my life. He never wrote back, and I eventually gave up, but every year I do wonder about writing him again to see if he’s OK out there.
Molly Priddy, Writer
I can remember my first high school boyfriend’s birthday AND our anniversary because this was back before cell phones existed or had calendars in them and you just had to remember this shit. I also remember all my birthday twins — the people who share my birthday — and sometimes reach out to them to be like “HEY REMEMBER HOW WE HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY?”
Alexis Smithers, Writer
Whose birthday don’t I remember? At my high school, you got baked goods when it was your birthday so I have several on lock (I believe in if you give me some I gotta give you some back). One, of course being the biggest crush I’ve ever had. When I was a freshman I convinced my cousin to buy like a shit ton of candy and a card the night before their birthday and vaguely also remember writing them a shit ton of not very good poetry for both birthdays and a Valentine’s Day, cause I’m real subtle. I just try to like glance over the fact that I remember their birthday especially whenever Patti Lupone sings (thanks Steven Universe!).
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
I will remember my first serious girlfriend’s birthday for as long as I live, because it is exactly two weeks before mine. She’s December 7, I’m December 21. We’re on perfectly fine terms – we’re friendly, I see her very occasionally, she’s engaged to my friend who was my roommate when we were dating because that’s what being gay is like, everything is cool. It’s just funny that I will literally never not remember her birthday, especially because in spite of loving birthdays so so so much my brain actually has a really hard time committing anything numerical to memory and I have had trouble remembering all my other serious girlfriends’ birthdays, even when we were actually dating.
Also I just remembered that in 2013 my ex, her now fiance who was my friend and roommate at the time, and I all had a JOINT BIRTHDAY PARTY because our birthdays all fell within a month of each other and there are some photos of the three of us holding a cake together at what was a very successful party that Stef attended in my old apartment in Williamsburg. To recap: when that photo was taken, I was living with one girl and dating the other. Now those two humans are engaged to each other!!! God I fucking love/hate being gay.
Mika Albornoz, Writer
I hate myself for knowing this, but I still remember my first love’s birthday. This Leo ass Gemini moon’s bday is August 21st. As the date gets closer I usually feel very weird.
Just like most of the relationship it feels kinda like shit? We still text each other on our birthdays. We’ve done it every year since we’ve known each other which is like, since 2007 maybe? Even though we aren’t in each other’s lives actively, this is the one time a year we get an update on how we are doing.
She often gets upset if I’m dry as if she still had some sort of entitlement to me being super sweet to her? Which is not even the worst thing, because every time I apologize and I reassure her I’m not mad at her and consequently act sweeter in our brief yearly exchanges, either way WHATEVER I don’t want to talk about it anymore lmaooooo!