• Samantha Stevens

Happy Birthday to Narcissistic Me

Celebrated another birthday recently. I don’t at all mind birthdays but I so don’t like parties, especially ones in my honor.

A one-on-one dinner at a fun restaurant is my idea of a fulfilling fête. I’m thinking Westerns Laundryi n Highbury (https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/westerns-laundry).Time Out ranks it #24 their list of the top 100 restaurants in London.


I don’t crave attention.


I say don’t have an ego but a friend once called me on that and said I was actually the exact opposite. (D’ya think?) By saying that I’m not wanting to call attention to myself, I’m erecting a neon sign that pleads, “look at me!”, she said.

Sounds like bullshit to me, but then she’s a family-counseling therapist. Who am I to argue with a Ph.D.?


Being antisocial (or believing myself to be) is why a career as a writer is the perfect job for me. I can work alone and everyone thinks that it’s just the nature of the creative spirit. They think that so-called “artists” are just a bit more perverse than the rest of the population.


Which is actually true.


Writing is sort of a “get out of jail free” card for me. “I’m on deadline,” I can say, and friends seem to understand! Even if I were to win a billion dollar lottery prize I’d be as quiet as the grass.


So, for my natal day, which only comes once a year, thank god, several friends gave me gift cards, which was sweet and really ideal. I’m super hard to buy for because I have just about everything I need (except Sophie Kinsella’s home on Dorset!).


And if I really want something, I buy it for myself. I’m super independent. And rich. Ha!


Do I want a new car? Sure, but there’s nothing wrong with the BMW in my garage. New bed sheets would be nice too—something in a printed flannel—but that’s probably too personal (or unimaginative) for anyone other than my mother to give to me.


I do want an antique copper kettle for boiling my water for tea, but I’ve never told anyone that I want that, so it’s another thing I’ll have to buy.


There are tons of other things I’ve never mentioned wanting. Do I dare tell anyone about some of them? Probably not. Oh, hell, I want my Prince Charming’s warm body to smell like night blooming Jasmine, not his gym shirt. Too much to ask?

I don’t want “stuff.”


Over the years, I have received all sorts of very thoughtful things from friends that I quickly re-gifted or that ended up in a closet and ultimately sent to the local charity shop. So, unless I’m seeing someone special (which I thought I was this past b-day, but turned out I was delusional) it’s best to receive a gift card.


I’m guilty of giving myself a present but pretending it’s just a really thoughtful gift for a friend. Example: I’ve just purchased tickets to Elton John’s farewell concert and am tucking them into an envelope for my friend Trudy’s upcoming birthday. I’m fully expecting Trudy to ask me to join her. She isn’t the most popular among our circle. So I’m definitely the logical choice to stand and cheer when Elton sings Rocket Man. Oh shoot! Having those £800 tix could make Trudy super popular! What if she asks Tristan, the dude in her spinning class who she yaps about constantly but has no chance of winning? Damn! I hadn’t thought about him before. This could literally be her ticket for a date with Tristan. On my bank note! Okay, so playing Lady Bountiful works both ways. Like my birthday dinner with my friend Lolly who works as an assistant curator at The Tate Modern. She gave me a lovely Visa gift card. But when the bill came she suggested that I use it to pay for my birthday dinner. I am so generous.

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