Dear the Beauster: My Partner is Suffering From Birthday Narcissism

by Beau Hebert

Dear The Beauster,

I’ve been dating a guy for almost six months and things were really cool until July, or what he refers to as his “Birthday Month.” Suddenly, it became all about him and he pretty much demanded that everyone buy him drinks and presents and dinner, compliment him a bunch and throw multiple parties in his honor. I’m happy to make a big deal of someone on their actual birthday, but for a whole month? Really?


Beacon Hill Woman disturbed by Boyfriend’s Birthday Obsession



B-H-W disturbed by BF’s B-day O,

It sounds to me like your boyfriend is a classic “Birthday Narcissist.” Birthday Narcissism is a clinical condition in which the subject is stricken with intense delusions of grandeur surrounding his or her entry into existence. Identifying as a predestined Little Buddha to be worshipped by all is common, as is the conviction that the very Earth stopped rotating on its axis from a sense of stupefied awe at the magnificent little ball of flesh that spilled out of a womb and onto its crust. The feeling of self-importance characteristic of Birthday Narcissism can be so profound that, for the subject, the idea that he or she should be recognized, even idolized, for an entire month seems perfectly natural. Most acquaintances simply go along with it, hoping to placate the birthday narcissist with a quick brunch date. But for those closest to the subject, there is no easy escape. They must contend with a solid month of birthday bloat.  

For me, the concept of a birth day itself is excessive, let alone a birth month. I believe one’s “birth celebration” should not exceed the time of his or her mother’s labor – if your mother’s  labor was for a full 24-hour period then, congratulations, you get a full birth day; If your mother’s labor was seven hours, please limit the festivities to that time frame; If your mother belted you out in less than an hour, skip the cake and ice cream and make haste to a bar so you can suck down as many free drinks as possible in that short window of time. If, God forbid, your mother’s labor really was a full month then it’s probably a morbid footnote in the Guinness Book of medical records and not something to celebrate.

We’re all familiar with the song “Happy Birthday.” The word “month” is nowhere in the lyrics. The word “day” occurs four times. There’s no reason to make a big kerfuffle over the month in which one was born. Having been born is not some great achievement. In fact, there is nothing less remarkable – everyone, quite literally, has done it. With the exception of a cloned goat in Scotland, it is the common denominator of all living things that have ever been. Nobody has an actual choice over whether they’re birthed or not, so why glory in it? Pay tribute, instead, to your mother, the doctors and nurses who helped with your birth, and to William Chamberlen, inventor of the forceps.

Put a moat around the birthday bloat. Point out to your boyfriend all the icky & despicable things that, like him, managed to get born – boll weevils, dung beetles, spotted eels, Jerad from Subway Sandwiches; mouth-breathers, despotic leaders, Justin Beibers, nineteen year-old Trick-or-Treaters. Charlatans, Trustafarians, Kardashians & “Dude, where’s my stash-ians.” His birthday balloon will deflate quicker than you can say, “Happy birthday, you narcissistic bloat-pig.” Things will go back to the way they were with him heaping praise and presents on you, not the other way around. Consider this advice an early birthday present, courtesy of Dear The Beauster.

Prescription from the Back Bar pharmacy at Jude’s Old Town: Birthday Cake Martini – Whipped vodka, Amaretto, white chocolate liqueur, cream and honey in a martini glass with a rainbow sprinkle rim.

Overheard at the Bar: “My tattoos have tattoos.”

Beau Hebert is the owner of Jude’s Old Town in Rainier Beach and Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City.

Featured image by Alex Garland