Bianca Knows Best ... And Helps a Clueless Husband 

Dear Bianca,

My wife's birthday is coming up this month. She’s expressed to me on numerous occasions that she does not want to have a party of any kind. But I can't tell if that's her way of hinting that she wants a surprise party or if she really means she doesn't want to celebrate.

Last year, she said the same thing. And when her birthday rolled around, we stayed home and watched Big Love on DVD. She seemed a little disappointed that I hadn't planned something behind her back, but she wouldn't come out and say so.

This year, I want her to have an enjoyable birthday. Do you think she secretly wants a big shindig? Or should I just rent the entire second season of Weeds?

-- Not Reading the Signals

Dear Not Reading,

This is a tricky one, since I can't see your wife's face when she says she doesn't want a party. If she's lying in hopes that you'll throw a surprise party, sometimes you may be able to detect clues in her body language.

Does she make eye contact? If not, that's a clue that she's not telling the whole truth about what she wants. Also, look for signs of fidgeting when she expresses her desire for a chilled out birthday night.

If you still can't tell, I'd suggest throwing a small surprise gathering with close family and friends. Since you didn't throw a party last year and she seemed depressed, she may actually be hinting for a surprise party this year. If it's not what she wants, ya'll can fight about it after the last guest leaves. Oops.

I have a good friend who always insists on a low-key birthday. Yet every year, I make him celebrate because that's what birthdays are for. Even if he doesn't want a big party, I make sure he gets one. Selfish as it may be, I see other people's birthdays as a chance for me to drink too much and eat cake. If they don't like parties, that's too bad. At least I'll have fun.

Not that I'm advising you to throw a party for your own sake, but I do think your wife should get some sort of small party.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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