Birthdays. We all have them, most are hopefully happy - though some not, and we all enjoy celebrating birthdays with friends and family (mostly).
But what happens when you have a birthday during a shidduch date? Or your date has a birthday during the period of time you are dating him/her?
It is rather awkward to celebrate such a personal occasion with someone you hardly know, whether your own (what shaychus do they really have to you to commemorate your birthday?) or his/hers (it seems akin to walking up to some random friend-of-a-friend from Facebook and trying to be part of their birthday party).
While this may seem like a rhetorical question for some, it happened to me several times, with differing results.
The first question is: should you even acknowledge the occurence of the birthday at all? If you legitimately had no clue and only found out after the fact, then that saves you from this dilemma. But if you DO know about your date's forthcoming birthday, I think it would be a bit rude not to recognize the occasion at all. Most people who give out shidduch profiles have their birthdate right there for anyone to plainly see. The person could have also mentioned the fact of their approaching birthday in passing conversation, chit-chat about what's going on in his/her life - as in, "I'm going out with my friends for my 21st birthday this weekend." In any case, if you are aware, I find it appropriate do recognize the birthday somehow.
The next question that always came to mind was, do I need to get her a present of some sort?
I think the entire matter largely depends on exactly how far along the relationship has progressed. Granted, any real gift purchase might seem to her that you are expressing a level of affection that might not be appropriate at that point in time (say within the first 1-5 dates). Even if you are further along, say a month or two into the shidduch, do you really know the person well enough and feel enough emotional connection to justify a buying him/her anything substantial? No matter what the scenario, I never bought anything major whatsoever, and would advise doing the same.
The simple solution is just getting a card, particularly one with something cute/funny and related to something they like/enjoy. If your date has mentioned liking a particular TV show or something else in pop culture - or even some random thing that can found as a theme in a birthday card - why not buy it for him/her? The effort and money spent are very minimal, and if you actually like the other person, this little token of recognition could spur further reciprocal feelings.
For a guy who's date is having a birthday, a single rose or whatever other flower she likes might work as well. No reason to go overboard and get a bouquet, especially a rose bouquet, which is usually associated with a proposal.
If you're going out to dinner, why not secretly inform the staff about your date's birthday (this goes for both guys and girls) for a surprise dessert/rendition of "happy birthday?"
I've personally gone the card/small gift route, and have received similar gifts in return. Of course, nothing tops ASoG's expensive hard-backed comic book she so very thoughtfully bought me after our date at the now-defunct 66th street Barnes and Noble.
Any else have any interesting birthday related dating experiences?