How to have a Perfect 40th Birthday...
Step One: Find a Sir. Earn his collar. A Sir who loves you and never fails to make you melt where you stand with a look or a word. A Sir who take pleasure in welcoming you into the fourth decade of your life.
Step Two: Reconnect with old friends, meet new ones. Your Sir throwing you a birthday party, like mine did last Friday night, will make that happen.
Step Three: Be in a place of incredible natural beauty. Mine was the Russian River, north of San Francisco. The redwoods, the vineyards, the drive out to the beach to see the sunset over the Pacific.
Step Four: Make sure there's a hot tub. (There's got to be a hot tub.
Step Five: Make sure it's cool at night, so you get to fall asleep with your Sir's arms around you for warmth.
Step Six: If it involves flying, take Southwest. They were incredible! On the flight out, the plane was maybe a third full. So for the first time in a few decades, I had an entire row to myself, where I could stretch out and sleep as we flew over all those Red states. And on the way back, same deal. And, because of heavy traffic (California, California...) on the way to Oakland International, I got to check-in about fifteen minutes before my plane took off. The only other flight to Philadelphia that day was booked. The Southwest guy said, "the gate is right up those stairs. If you want to try to make it, you might. But I can't promise that your luggage will. I tried, and carrying my new custom Wescos in my arms as I dashed down the gangplank (or whatever that thing is called), I made it. And, in Philadelphia, so did my luggage! Unbelievable.
Step Seven: Surround yourself with great interior design. In the Russian River, we stayed at one of those touristy resorts. This one was run by lesbians. Like... uh oh! Right? Wrong. It was wonderful. From the horizontal wainscotting left raw in the bathroom to the perfect paint on the walls the color of parchment, to the minimal wall decor consisting of old Russian River postcards from the '20s in simple frames, it was gorgeous.
Step Eight: Eat good food. And the worst meal we had was not too bad.
Step Nine: Take some time to strip to the waist and show off your tattoo at the Starbuck's in the Castro. Be very pleased that your 40-year-old-ain't-seen-a-gym-in-a-month-and-a-half physique draws an admiring crowd.
Step Ten: Dream dreams of all the wonderful things that will happen to you in your 40s, if the first weekend of the decade is any indication.
And that way, you can't go wrong. Trust me on that.