The Dame's Tips for a Fabulous Birthday


Darlings, as you read this this morning, chances are I am still tangled in my sheets, an empty coupe on the bedside table, and my brain feeling six times larger than my skull. You see, yesterday was my birthday and undoubtedly, I am hungover.

Now, I’m not too concerned about getting older because I have a pact with my Dearest Companion. He’s a friend so divine that were we living in 1930’s New York, he and I would have a celebrated marriage of convenience in a penthouse notorious for being frequented by gorgeous young men. Social acceptance of homosexuality and fiercely independent women has progressed to a point where we don’t need to wed to maintain our freedom. We still talk of growing old together in a beautiful mansion with sprawling grounds. Oh, and with a… “pool boy internship program” – it is a post-modern take on our hypothetical 1930’s reality. He and I have vowed that when we get to an age when everything starts going south (particularly my breasts, heaven forbid), we will send our dear pool boys to Greece for a vacation, but instead we’ll drink champagne and set fire to our glorious mansion. I imagine this will happen when I’m about Diane Keaton’s age, so roughly 72. I will settle for nothing less than going out in a literal blaze of glory.

Until then, I will continue to take birthdays very seriously, and so should you, my dear. Maybe there isn’t a big party every year, but there should be every so often, and years of reflection are fine too. The point is to celebrate yourself, and darling, you sure do deserve it. Here are my tried and true tips for a fabulous celebration of your most recent trip around the sun:

  • Start the day with something that will make you happy. Right out the gate, get your day off to a good start. You know exactly what I would suggest, but if you’d prefer a sleep in over an early morning birthday romp, this could be something as simple as making your favourite omelet, a Skype call with a long-distance loved one, or listening to your favourite song. My point is PUT YOURSELF IN A #MOOD.

  • Be selective. A rule I created for myself a few years ago was to spend my birthday with only the people I like the most (and a heavenly light shown down upon me and Arianna Grande sang.) Sometimes this has meant spending the day on my own (and indeed, sometimes that’s the best way to celebrate yourself), and it always involves taking the day off of work. No compromises, no drama, no eyerolling from anyone. Do not make plans with a single person who doesn’t make your heart swell when you’re around them – including bummer friends, your friend’s partner who sometimes says awkward things, and anyone else whose presence doesn’t spark joy. Fuck, Marie Kondo, please stop being applicable to absolutely everything.

  • Treat yo self. Do I need to explain this? This is really all I ever tell you to do. Ever. Scotch, fine jewelry, a new dress, a sleeve of macarons, an afternoon of jazz, a steak from Barbarian’s, a facial, whatever. The list goes on, but also remember you can do these things at any point throughout the year because you deserve to celebrate yourself everyday.

  • Thank the people who raised you. I’m fully prepared to get goddam sentimental about this. If they’re still around, be sure to call your parents, grandparents, guardians, whoever, and give them a little thanks. This is a far more meaningful gesture than what’s received on a greeting card holiday, because it’s personal and sincere. Thank them for helping make you as wonderful as you are. Every year I thank my mum for giving birth to me after a bajillion hours of labour in front of a dozen nursing students. And she says, ‘you say that every year. I mean it every year, and I know she appreciates it.  

So how did I spend my birthday? I woke up with Manfriend (which is the best way to wake up and I tell him so every morning), I Skyped with my best friend who lives on the other side of the world, I took a long shower, did roughly 45 steps of my Korean beauty skincare routine, wandered Yorkville looking for the perfect dress for the evening, which was spent around a table with some of the most important people in my life. It was a fete to end all fetes and that is due to my Dear Companion and his marvellous hosting prowess. We cheers-ed with old fashioned’s, and French 75’s to 40 more years, give or take, depending on how my breasts hold up. And it was fabulous.


The Dame

Ali SchofieldThe Dame