In North Carolina, sitting on a stranger’s dock, we talked about surprise parties. There are two types of people in the world: people who throw surprise parties and people who have surprise parties thrown for them. They almost never overlap.
If you are a surprise party thrower you can take care of yourself, you can love yourself, you don’t project the need to be loved in a performative way. You are also someone who probably likes to be the center of attention, and who is maybe so self sufficient that people can sometimes feel neglected by you. “We didn’t invite you because you always have something else to do,” they say to you, party thrower. You want to be invited. You show them how much you want to be invited by making the cake, throwing the party. See how much I love you? Love me back. It’s a performance of self-sufficiency and selflessness. I think that’s why so many romantic partners throw surprise parties — see, I know your needs, I know your friends, I love you by knowing what you want without asking.
People who have surprise parties thrown for them are never the same as the people who throw them for other people. They are the people who are described as “magical,” and who are always invited because they will always show up. They are people who others want to love performatively, To stake a claim to. They are people with sad hearts but a lot of confidence. They are never that surprised.
The only time someone is genuinely surprised by a party is when they’re traditionally a party thrower, or something in between. We sat on the dock in North Carolina and talked about this, four people who feel like party throwers — self-sufficient to a fault.