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Very little is likely to inject a bit of sunshine and gaudiness into someone’s day more effectively than Nothing Like a Dame Day. Enjoy the fun and frivolity of the day while learning just a bit more about the history of this interesting celebration! 

History of Nothing Like a Dame Day

The background of Nothing Like a Dame Day can be traced back to the thirteenth century, when female rulers were often referred to as “dames”. The title was a sign of honor and indicated that a woman deserved respect, as a female version of the term “sir” which was given to a knight. It might also have indicated that a woman was the wife of a knight.

By the seventeenth century, the term “dame” had come to be replaced with “lady”, and eventually the use of the word dame did not indicate any position but simply became a word that was used for any person who was a female.

When Rodgers and Hammerstein came out with their song “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame”, it was part of the iconic musical, South Pacific, which debuted in 1949. In the film, the song is performed by sailors who have been off at sea and far away from anyone of the female persuasion.

Even beyond its inclusion in the original music, the song “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame” has been parodied in various comic sketches and other shows throughout its history of more than seven decades.

Nothing Like a Dame Day is an annual celebration that upholds the idea that women are incomparable and worth celebrating! And it is especially focused on those women of the theater who have a tendency to make everything a little bit more dramatic.

The inspiration for Nothing Like a Dame Day may have come from the documentary film made in 2018 by British director Roger Michell. His documentary featured dames like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Joan Plowright, and it told the story of how theater and films had changed so dramatically over their time in it. The US version of the documentary was called “Tea with the Dames”.

This celebration of big, brash, smiling-through-the-pain ladies of the theater, gives even those of a straight-laced nature the opportunity to grab a boa, glue on some spidery lashes, and sashay like Carol Channing, Liza Minelli, Barbra Streisand, or Ethel Merman!

In Great Britain, where there is less of a theater tradition of brassy, ballsy dames, Nothing Like Dame Day is more likely to celebrate the tradition of pantomime dame. These men, dressed very unconvincingly as women, are a comical staple of their family shows at Christmas time.

How to Celebrate Nothing Like a Dame Day

Enjoy all sorts of fun activities and events on Nothing Like a Dame Day, and get started with some of these ideas:

Show Appreciation for a Dame

Anyone and everyone can celebrate Nothing Like a Dame Day simply by telling a woman how much she is appreciated. Perhaps it would be another day for a man to show appreciation to the woman in his life. Or, possibly Nothing Like a Dame Day would be a fun inspiration for a group of women to get dressed up and go out on the town for a girls’ night – just to show appreciation to each other!

Watch Some Shows with Dames

Those people who aren’t the dressing up type might mark Nothing Like a Dame Day in a more private way, by digging out Rodgers and Hammerstein’s brashest work and having a singalong to those big numbers from South Pacific, which gave the world the unsubtle joys of the song There Is Nothing Like a Dame.

Nothing Like a Dame Day might be a fun time to enjoy some others musicals featuring some incredible dames, like Judy Garland in Meet Me In St. Louis, Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, or Dame Judi Dench (literally) in the film version of Cats.

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