While enjoying our Christmas visit to Seattle, we also celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday on December 26. I have been urging her to write a guest post about being a Jane Austen lover, but her day wearing a rhinestone tiara is what stoked her creative furnace (I added the photos). Please welcome Suzanne to our blogging party and leave her a comment!.
THE BIRTHDAY TIARA
In early December, I attended a “December birthdays” party with a friend who presented each of us with a glitter-encrusted “Birthday Princess” tiara. Being enamored of all things sparkly, I vowed to wear the tiara all day on my actual birthday a few weeks later. Little did I realize that something undertaken as a lark would turn into quite the social experiment.
The wearing of a birthday tiara definitely loosens the inhibitions of those around you. People are much more likely to look at you and to engage you in conversation. Of course, there are the invariable “duh” questions such as “Is it your birthday?” (no, I just like wandering around shops wearing a “birthday princess” tiara) or my personal favorite, “Is that a tiara?” (uh, I don’t know….what do you think it is?). But I swallowed all those snarky parenthetical remarks because every person who asked me one of those questions was smiling. One woman at Costco asked if it was my birthday and then reached out to hug me. That was my first indication of the power of the tiara.
After lunch, the family ventured into Seattle for a shopping excursion at Pike Place Market. Being December, it was a blustery, rainy day and I immediately discovered a couple of drawbacks to tiara-wearing. One, your hair gets trapped in the glitter when the wind blows and it’s very difficult to disentangle. Two, wearing a tiara is quite incompatible with throwing a hood over your head in an attempt to keep your hair dry. But, by this point, I was unwilling to abandon the experiment. I had a feeling that there were still more secrets for the tiara to reveal.
Interestingly, Pike Place Market elicited none of the inane questions that I had received at Costco and the mall. People simply walked up to me and said “Happy Birthday!” and went about their business. And I discovered another upside to the tiara—people gave me free stuff! As I wandered among the vendors, I scored a fused glass zipper pull, a chocolate-covered cherry and a crab cocktail!
Weary of shopping and looking for a pick-me-up, we all arranged to congregate at a small wine bar in Post Alley. Jennie and I had a little trouble finding the wine bar at first, so we stopped at a restaurant in the alley and asked for directions. When our husbands met up with us a bit later, it turned out that they had stopped at the same restaurant and told the maitre d’ that they were supposed to meet their wives at a wine bar. The maitre d’s response: “Was one of them wearing a tiara?” Obviously another benefit of the tiara—people remember who you are. Finally ensconced at the correct locale, Champagne seemed the most appropriate choice to match my festive mood, so I informed the waitress that I needed the “Bubbly Flight.” To which she responded, without missing a beat, “Of course you do.”
By the time we settled in for dinner at Salty’s, the power of the tiara seemed to be waning a bit. Maybe it didn’t sparkle quite enough in the dim restaurant lights, or maybe the waiters had just seen it all. Or maybe we were having such a good time with family and friends that the tiara had nothing further to add. But twelve hours of wearing a birthday tiara had taught me a quite a bit. First, wearing a headpiece designed for an eight-year-old can give you a bit of a headache. But more importantly, it gave a lot of other people an excuse to smile and to be a little more warm and friendly than they might otherwise have been, and gave me an excuse to be warm and friendly in return. And, at the end of the day, it had just been plain fun!
Grab yourself a tiara and give it a try.