Privilege Blog

It’s My Birthday And This Is What I Wanted

I turn 58 today. My loved ones are generous, I am well-fêted, but doesn’t everyone like to give themselves a little present on their birthday? Here’s mine.

No, not a Crystal Palace girder extravaganza, nor a gig at Javits Center. The book.

Not That Kind Of Girl

It’s Lena Dunham’s, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned.” As it turns out, Ms. Dunham very considerately picked my birthday to launch her new endeavor. Thanks honey.

When I was young I would in fact have been sad about Lena. I would have felt jealous, wished to have her platform, as we call it now, to tell the world how I felt. To communicate my sole and remarkable perspective.

But as I turn 58, I’m glad she exists. It makes me hopeful for all the women who will come after me.

I know she’s not everybody’s cup of tea. And that the world of “Girls” is perhaps a small one. But I find Ms. Dunham’s apparent kindness rises above any other reputational flotsam. In fact, she appears to manage both kindness and honesty, two traits often difficult to combine. And she’s dang smart. So I averted my eyes from the cover “quotation marks,” and bought.

By the way, I used the my Amazon commissions from blog’s last month or two to pre-order the hardback. It arrives today. I’ll tell you if I like it as much as I expect I will, but I thank you in advance for your generous presence. You provide me many treats, both small and large.

Affiliate links may generate commissions

60 Responses

  1. Happy Birthday ! Coincidentally, I heard this author interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR yesterday afternoon. Very good interview! If you missed that interview, and want to hear it, you can probably find it on the NPR website.

    Yesterday, I also had to do a double take in the grocery store parking lot. I saw a woman that, for just a split second, I thought was you! After I realized that I was just seeing your twin, I decided to note what she was wearing. Her long silver/white hair was in a bun at her nape. She was wearing slim jeans with a white short sleeved t-shirt which was tucked in. She was wearing a skinny belt and silver metallic flip flops. Tom boy yes, and also very elegant though casually dressed. Good job Lisa’s double!

  2. Coincidentally…I just this minute listened to an interview with Lena Dunham on the CBC radio program Q with Jian Ghomeshi. She was lovely (is lovely.) And she explained the quotation marks in the title of her book. i.e. She felt that the word “learned” was too full of hubris for one so young. That she’s still growing and learning.
    I guess with those limitations on the word “learned” none of us would be able to use it.
    Happy 58. I’ve been there for a few months.

  3. Happy Birthday! My eldest is at NYU and is trying to see Lena tonight at a speaking engagement. She and I both love Lena’s work and will enjoy book talking after we both read! I love her courage and openness. I wish I could retroactively inject some of that into my 20 something self. She’s a great role model for my daughters.

  4. Happy Birthday! I ordered the book too, but only after hearing the interview on NPR, so it will not be here today, alas. I am catching up on “Girls” though. I enjoyed it the first season but had to stop watching because it upset my husband’s caregivers too much.

  5. Happy, Happy Day!!

    Lena is not necessarily my cup of tea. I was completely annoyed by the fact that poor little rich Lena wanted her opening acts to play for free. But! It appears she has learned from her mistakes (or at least the mistakes Gawker called her out on), so there is hope!

  6. Happiest of birthdays dear Lisa!

    I am also a fellow Lena/Girls lover. We are going to see her talk to Caitlin Moran (whose book How To Be a Woman I would definitely recommend if you haven’t read it) at the end of the month. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book!

    I hope there is plenty of sunshine and love and cake for you today X

  7. Happy Birthday! I’m all for buying yourself a gift, be it large or small, as well as receiving great heaps of love and affection. I disagree with Dunham’s perception that using “learned” at her age is “too full of hubris”. We learn all along, as you have so beautifully witnessed. in your writing.

  8. Happy birthday!
    We share our birthday, only mine is practically over here on the European side of the pond. I’ve had a very nice day, hope you have a beautiful one too.

  9. Happy Birthday, Lisa. It’s been my privilege to read your blog!
    Best wishes for all good things,

  10. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays! Love that you have arranged to get precisely what you want. Terribly efficient. ;)

  11. Sending wishes for the happiest of Birthdays.

    Kindness and honesty to both ourselves and others. Let’s hope that it’s catching.

  12. Happy Birthday! Just downloaded the audiobook. I’ll be interested to hear what you think. Thanks for the Browser recommendation as well. Here’s to paying attention to all the world has to offer.

    1. @Kathryn, Thank you. I wrote a post, quite a while back, about just that. Paying attention. It’s almost the most important thing I know.

  13. Aging is incredible. A joy. Best trip ever. Leave it to popular culture/media to get it wrong about this too.

    In my garden birthdays arrive by the day/week. As the tea olive came into bloom, that dear friend returned to nurture/delight and remind me I’ve made it another year. Then it is dearest sasanqua ‘roseum’… the garden birthdays daily.

    Oh, this blog class journey, hardest part is Beloved. He cannot understand the time it is taking. Every few days I think of a new angle to let him understand my needs…..instead he is feeling abandoned. Love the age thing, I will not waiver in my journey. He must waiver in his thoughts/understanding. Any words of wisdom to help me help him?

    Does your garden enrich you as mine does me? Have you posted about it?

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    1. @tara dillard, I agree, my garden’s birthdays make me so happy. I have post about my garden, here and there. My white roses, hydrangeas, and other things. But about how it enriches my life over all? No, it seems like such a big topic. You do it very well. Poetically, which is maybe the only way to do it right.

      And as for Beloved, all I can think is, what kind of guy is he? Finance guys want to hear about investment, tech guys about the mechanics, creative guys about inspiration. So, what language does he speak?

      And I can imagine he misses you. I can imagine it.

  14. Happy Birthday!

    I heard Lena’s interview on Fresh Air.
    Talk about candid. Very real person.
    Terry was retracting a tmi question and basically stopping the question and Lena was like “terry, I am ready take that journey with you…”
    “Girls” is not the escapism of “SaTC” but at 40 I love it.

    1. @Meg, I love that. “Ready to take that journey with you.” What a great way to look at interactions with other human beings.

  15. Happy Birthday. I probably would not have chosen a book, but to each her own. I like my birthdays to have an experience, big or small, that lets me remember the passage of the day. Since I allow myself unlimited books, its not a game changer. But whatever you did, I hope that it brought you happiness, and as my grandfather used to always say: “Many happy returns of the day”!

    1. @Ellen, Interesting. I’m not that organized – it’s kind of whatever strikes my fancy. In this case, Tuesday was her publication date, so it seemed serendipitous. Thank you!

  16. Happy Belated Birthday oh beautiful one.

    I don’t doubt you were well feted.

    And I always buy myself a birthday present. It’s often shoes.

    This year there were 2 pair. It was a very big birthday.

    I too will be waiting for your review. Hope you’re a fast reader.

    Hope you celebrate your birthday “week”.

    xo J

  17. Happy belated birthday, Lisa! Isn’t it great to gift yourself on your birthday (and other days, too!) I so enjoy your blog, and look forward to that magic time when your trip to Santa Barbara to see your mother coincides with my being able to meet you enroute! I am now going to check out this book to see what it has to teach me…

  18. Belated wishes for your Birthday. Knowing the joy you find in life – I have no doubts that it was a most enjoyable day.

    THough I keep a book wish-list on my google drive, it seems that it rarely grows smaller these days, and even finding time to get to the library can be beyond me. I look forward to your review and shall consider it “reading vicariously”.

  19. When you recommended this book do you know Dunham graphically discribes sexually molesting her baby sister in it? Is that part of the “privileged” lifestyle? If a 9 year old minority boy had done the things to his sister that Dunham admits he would have been put in a juvenile facility, so I guess it is “monied privilege” to get away with molesting your younger siblings.

  20. Oh dear. Sorry about the typos I was just so disgusted after reading this book I feel like I need to bathe. I can’t believe you recommended this cathartic vomit of an ill mind.

Comments are closed.