The Dame Tips for Surviving the Patriarchy: October Edition


A monthly guest series by wntta's resident Don Draper: an elegant hedonist who suffers no fools, The Dame herself, writer Ali Schofield.

It is finally here – sweater. fucking. weather. Normally I would be donning my fall furs and revelling in the bliss that rises in my heart when the mercury drops, but I can’t. Darlings, I may be The Dame, but I have had a hard time keeping my fucking composure the last couple weeks, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I want to do something a little different this month, but I also want to acknowledge the characteristics of the season that I have waited for so impatiently. Here are a few fall things I’m thinking about: crew neck sweaters, the smell of burning leaves, gravy, bourbon, Nora Ephron films, small dogs dressed in argyle, train rides to out of town destinations, layering with cable knit cardigans, hardcover books, pumpkin spice blah blah, “coziness”, cuffing season, Greg Kinnear himself, more pumpkin spiced crap, individually wrapped peanut butter cups, and Lenny Kravitz’s scarf.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (oh God, I just hate myself for saying that…)

This month I’m going to do my level best to avoid suggesting you drink heavily because – and darling, this might be most frightening – what’s happening is a problem that can’t be solved by a single malt scotch. Indeed, scotch consumption is very likely to be at the root of the problem. (Oh wait, it’s beer that’s at the root of the problem, oh silly me!) Anyway, I speak from experience – I tried killing the patriarchy with alcohol last week. Thursday evening, I took my rage and my dearest drinking companion to my favourite gin joint wearing jeans – jeans! – and savored several bespoke cocktails. I also ate my weight in pho and devoured an ice cream cone on the subway. I toasted with muchos tequila but the patriarchy was still alive and trying to kick me in the cooter in the morning.

So instead of tips for fabulous living this month I’m going to impart a few activities to hopefully help you get by:

  1. Don’t stew is your own shit. The kind of fury and frustration that events like the frat boy hearing bring up can cycle and skip through your mind like a damaged record. Likewise, your social media network is probably a circle jerk of people with feelings similar to your own. Sharing that meme may make you feel good (which, yes, cookie, is still very important! Now more than ever. Even I thought that Pulp Fiction/Brett Kavanaugh mash up was the best thing I’d ever seen!) but it’s probably also wearing you out. If you want to talk about it by all means do, please, of course, but if you’re all talked out, put down your phone and enjoy things that remind you of the rest of the world – go wander the galleries of the AGO or visit the Spiders exhibit at the ROM (reality is scarier than arachnids, right?) The patriarchy isn’t worth risking frown lines, or rather, the patriarchy is why we even care about frown lines in the first place – goddamit darlings, we are so incepted.

  2. Get physical. Put on your headphones and dance to your favourite jams or get down (do the kids still say that? Is it ‘get lit’ now? Does being ‘lit’ always involve being drunk? I am so confused but also, I don’t care) to some of my favourites on Apple Music. This tip is not limited to traditional dancing, why not do the horizontal tango with a consenting partner, or better yet, make love to yourself. If ever you deserved a release, now would be the time! Just kidding, you deserve an orgasm every damn day.

  3. Perform an act of kindness. Do something nice for a survivor or woman in your life, known or stranger. It will make you feel good, it will make them feel good, and – if you’ll allow me to be precious for just a moment – we all need small acts of kindness right now. Start by sending a book you love to someone who needs to unwind or offer your streetcar seat to someone who just looks… worn out. Let’s counteract the bullshit one thoughtful compliment at a time.

Sigh. Well my dears, I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got right now. If you’ll excuse me, my manfriend has been away on business for the last several weeks and I am in desperate need of his unique brand of fully consensual and thrilling distraction (I like to follow my own advice, of course.) We’ll chat again when I take the Do Not Disturb sign off the door, I’d say approximately four weeks from now.

Until then, take care of the people you love, and yes, go have a goddam drink.


The Dame

Ali SchofieldThe Dame