Here’s the thing. I need to know my friend’s birthday BUT I forgot it. I know that he’s a Leo so it’s coming up soon, but I don’t know the exact date. What can I do without looking like the thoughtless jerk that I am?
The Practical Cogitator says: You can call a mutual friend and ask if they know the elusive birth date. You can look through last years calendar to see if you listed it. You can join Facebook, and ‘friend’ your friend, maybe it’s listed. You can call your friend and say, “Hey, let’s get together for dinner, I know your birthday’s coming up.” Or you can simply ask your friend, “Hey, when’s your birthday? You know how I am with dates”
The Piano Man says: Well, since you know he’s a Leo, buy him an actual lion cub from one of those highly illegal exotic pet web sites, give it to him now, and explain that you had NO IDEA when it would be delivered, since you ordered it last April.
The Straight Skinny says: When I was just 15, I had a brief, delicate, summer romance with a woman four years older than I. A friend introduced us one afternoon, and there was a spark. Later that day we ran into one another again, and I invited her for a walk.
We walked and talked for hours. As the sun set, sitting on a dock beside Lake Chautauqua, we kissed. And as we kissed, I realized I had forgotten her name. It seemed an inappropriate time to ask, and as we saw more and more of each other in the days and weeks to come, I realized that there was no appropriate time to ask. I tried my best to trick her into saying her name aloud, by making anagrams with my own name, addressing myself by name—every stupid trick I could think of. Everything I tried failed. I was too embarrassed to ask the friend who’s introduced us, and incredibly her name never came up between us.
We were both art students taking summer classes, and for whatever reason, we drifted amicably apart. That’s how it is with summer romances—on in June, gone by July. In August, as classes were nearing an end, I saw her at the laundromat. We laughed and talked some more, and she asked if I would write her when she returned to college in New York.
I said I would, and asked her to write her address for me. This is it, I thought. I’ll finally learn her name.
She gave me a slip of paper with her address at school. Just her address. No name. She smiled knowingly at me, turned and left. And that was that.
Dining Out says: Maybe you can ask his or her parents what the date is, or find out from a mutual friend. Or you can ask to do a silly photo comparison of your drivers licenses and get a glimpse of the date then.
The Sales Guy says: Well, I don’t think your memory lapse is cause to beat yourself up. Why don’t you call your friend and ask him out for a few pops. If you get a little luck he might mention a party date. This isn’t the end of the world nor rocket science. He’ll get the point you care and he knows ...shit happens!
The Garbage Man says: Get yourself a ninja suit, and wait until nightfall outside your friend’s place on garbage night. Then, simply go through all of his trash, piece by piece, keeping a special eye out for papers. You’d be surprised how few people actually bother with shredding personal documents. I mean, I make my living through identity theft, but I can’t help but think that my technique could also work for you in this case.
In any event, if you do this weekly, and still don’t find anything with his D.O.B., you should eventually come across discarded wrapping paper. Once you do, simply call your friend the next morning, and say something like, “I’m so dumb! I just missed your birthday, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I’ve got a present here. Can I bring it over later?”
I probably wouldn’t tell mention going through his garbage, though.
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