Rewind, if you will, to my first couple of weeks in the US. I've been very kindly invited to a birthday party with around 25 others in the West Village and we've had a fantastic evening. There's been great food, lovely wine, and there's some soothing background music which is creating the perfect ambiance.
Out comes a cake. A delicious looking cake. A double-decker chocolate cake, covered in sprinkles (I love sprinkles).
Cue the singing.
“Haaaappy Birthday to you”, I'm completely on board, I know this one, so I join in.
“Haaaappy Birthday to you”, I'm in tune, I'm in tempo, I'm good to go.
“Haaaappy Birthday dear Kylie”, it's Gold for Australia, gold!
“Haaaappy Birthday to you!”, and I've made it through the whole song.
But there's a pause.
Nobody is “Hip-hip”ing!? Poor Kylie, missing out on the best part of “Happy Birthday”!
Don't worry, Aussie to the rescue:
Nothing. Crickets. Just a party of 25 lovely potential new friends staring at me like a fool. I've gone bright red and I have nowhere to go.
Now there's laughter. What the hell was the Australian doing!? What is “hip hip!” asking for!?
So, my fair readers:
At the end of Happy Birthday, after the final “Happy birthday to you”, just sit down and eat cake.