This is Why Your Co-workers Only Get to Give You Cake.

Most people are pretty familiar with the kind of birthday celebration you get at the office these days. It looks something like this:

Things were quite different, however, back in the day. (and by “in the day”, I mean anytime before probably 1985 or so)

My (and Julesie’s!!) Dad, who has been a hotel manager since the early 1970’s, once had a party thrown for him by his staff that I will never forget; in fact, I just found a lone photo of it in my own collection. But let me give you the intro story first.

The year? 1979. The place? A conference room in a Holiday Inn, in Texas. The time? The middle of the workday.

As I recall, it must have been a surprise party–I think my mom may have even helped plan it. Mom brought Julesie and I to the hotel–Dad’s workplace, mind you, for this party. The room was full of people: probably a few friends, but mostly it was full of Dad’s employees.

He walked in, “Surprise!” yada yada yada…and then the belly dancer arrived.

Yes, you read that correctly. A belly dancer. Maybe Housekeeping put the call in, who knows? She danced around the room (and our Dad) with her jingly costume, wishing Dad a Happy Birthday. It was the first time I had ever seen a belly dancer in person: I thought she was beautiful, but to be honest, at nearly eleven I was a little confused about the whole thing.

After the dancer got jiggly with it, it was time for cake. That’s where the photo comes in. Here I am, next to Dad:

Let’s investigate, for a moment, the details. First of all, the paddle. Huh? I’m guessing that was for birthday spankings (yes, at WORK), but I think I must’ve blocked out that part of the party.

Champagne. The glass in front of me wasn’t really mine. Note the alternate drink in my hand. Probably should’ve gone with something stronger.

And then there’s the cake. The cake topper was a nude woman with just a thin, gauzy piece of fabric covering her ta-tas, just so TOO MUCH wasn’t revealed.

The only thing that could’ve made this photo better is if I had been leaning down towards the cake, grinning at the camera and giving the thumbs-up; I guess, though, that the photo–as is–shows the truth: Dad was having a blast, and I was sort of biting my lip, feeling a little awkward.

And that, my friends, is how they celebrated (some) birthdays at work in the 1970’s, before human resources departments had to step in.

By the way, Julesie reminded me the other day when I told her of my photo find that the next morning, Dad ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant as usual (we lived there for a while) and the waitress brought out a covered plate. When she took the cover off, she revealed two grapefruit halves, each with one cherry in the middle. Oy vey.



  • House of Jules

    The best part is the plate was covered with a cloth napkin, so it looked as if the waitress was bringing him boobs on a platter.

  • LceeL

    I had this long comment full of sarcasm and stuff and i realized that You Don't Know Me – yet. And you might miss the sarcasm and think I'm a total butthead. So I'll just ask … Did they make the ends of those balloons look like that on purpose?

  • BellaDaddy

    DANG of all DANGS! I remember those cakes well…HA!

    Thanks for the memories…or should I say MAMMORIES!


  • PJ Mullen

    If you did that now you'd get a written warning in your HR file and a trip to a harassment seminar.

    Poor Milton, didn't get any cake. No wonder he burned down the building. That movie is the best.

  • sandra

    My aunt tells me stories like these all the time and I never believed her…guess she wasn't lying.
    I want a party like that for my bday! haha

  • Andie

    do you watch mad men? this kind of stuff is all over that show. It's crazy! I can't imagine that kind of deal of a party at work.

  • Teacher Tom

    Somebody's still having parties like that. The erotic bakery here in Seattle does great business. Of course they don't stop at boobs. =)

  • k a t i e

    Oh my giddy aunt.

    If someone did that to my husband/father, I'd have them sent to the nearest police station before you could say 'sexual harassment'.

    Isn't it funny how times change?//////////////////////////////////////////

  • surprised mom

    This makes me sad that I was never invited to an office birthday party for my dad. LOL
    Love the photo!

  • Heather

    HA HA HA HA. it's too bad HR has ruined the fun in everything *winks*

    WHAT? You knew I was going to say that 😉

  • The Microblogologist

    Definitely not politically correct nowadays! Last year a friend's birthday cake was quite graphic as was his going away party cake, his friends found a place in Chitown that will make such cakes. It was not at work of course but definitely turned some heads at the bar/club, lol.

  • Bad Momma

    More like a bachelor party. With kids! Fun times. I was a child of the 60's-70's era & don't remember any birthday parties like that. I guess I grew up under-privileged.

  • Melisa with one S

    Dawn: And look how TAN I was! You get that, living in Texas…

    Julesie: boobs on a platter: hahahaha

    LceeL: *snicker* Maybe. I wasn't noticing details like that back then. 🙂

    BellaDaddy: Mammaries! hahahaha You're welcome.

    Katie: Start making subtle requests…

    AndrewsDaddies: No! Remember: wasn't mine. (but I probably could've claimed that drink & nobody would've known…)

    PJ & Daddy Files: Sort of makes you wonder what HR will be like in another 20 years, doesn't it?

    Sandra: She TOTALLY wasn't lying! Times are so different now!

    Andie: I don't watch Mad Men, but have heard raves about it. I can't keep up with the shows that we DO watch! 🙂

    Teacher Tom: I know; there are some bakeries around here that do cakes like that (and um, in more graphic sorts of designs as well): it's big business these days.

    Katie: I love when I can get you to say "Oh my giddy aunt".

    Surprised Mom: I'm just glad I have photo evidence! 🙂

    Heather: I totally knew you were going to say that. 🙂

    Otter: You made me LOL

    Microblogologist: Yep, like I said above to Teacher Tom, it's big business. But I think you're right; those cakes are out in public now instead of in the privacy of work. 🙂

    Bad Momma: Maybe the parties were THAT good that you just don't remember! haha

  • Kat

    Love it!! That is one of my favorite parts from that movie. Oh, and of course when he talks about being able to listen to his personal radio!

  • NukeDad

    I'm very offended by this post. You'll be hearing from my lawyer. His name is John Edwards; maybe you've heard of him? Sexually offensive material in the blog place is unacceptable. Unless you happen to be my lawyer.

    PS-Word verification was: lettem HA!

  • Michelle

    I'm still stuck on the part where your mom helped plan the party. Out of curiosity, what role, exactly, did she have in the planning?