Monday, September 15, 2008

pride goes before a ball

So, the formal ball for which I've been training and gearing up for all summer took place on Saturday. I had my wedding gown altered to avoid buying a new dress, I had my hair done so I wouldn't have to think about it, and me and a friend were tagged to be Grand Marshalls: we led the Grand March that starts the ball off.

Rehearsal was Saturday afternoon, and it was pretty fun, though there was very little down time between rehearsal and ball. Also, it was clear that the ball was going to skew pretty young. I think the average age may have been seventeen, so it felt very much like home-school prom. By the time Catherine and I got there (Sam too, but he wasn't part of this conversation), we were pooped, and the ball itself felt anticlimactic. I think Catherine's exact words were:

"I'm just so tired. Wouldn't it be nice to just go home and order a pizza, then sit on the couch in front of a movie?"

We rallied and decided to stay. Titus and I faked the Grand March pretty well, and then I curtsied my little heart out to all the dancers. I couldn't stop laughing, and I hope everyone knew that I was laughing at myself, not them.

I'm not sure why my self-portraits look like I've broken my nose in the past.

The fabulous hairstyle by Ellie, my stylist, whom I love dearly and will never cheat on, so help me God.

During what may have been the third but could have been the fourth dance, I took a step and got a solid piece of my hem underfoot, tearing a good portion of my skirt from the bodice of my gown. There was a six-inch gap just above my left hip, so I grabbed my skirt close and ditched my poor partner, running out of the circle.

The flimsy seam.

A friend saw the look of horror on my face and asked if everything was okay, to which I replied that I needed a ride home to get a needle and thread or to change into a different dress. A vested man of about forty overhead and popped out of the dance circle to hand me the sewing kit he'd stashed in his back pocket.

"Here!" he said, "maybe this will help. I popped a button off my vest earlier and figured I'd bring it along as insurance. Please, use whatever you need."

Shocked, I thanked him and hustled to the ladies room. Torn between doing a good job (taking the dress off) and doing a good enough job (leaving the dress on), I realized that, since I couldn't get the dress back on without help, and I was in a public bathroom, I'd have to be satisfied with "good enough." I sewed myself into the dress while wearing it, then looked helplessly at the needle dangling down my skirt.

I couldn't reach it to bite through the thread, and I had nothing sharp at hand to cut it. Two girls came chattering in, and I apologized profusely for having to ask them to bite through the thread sewn to my hip. Wonder of wonders, one did!

It's fuzzy, but it was an adequate field repair given the tools at hand.

I only danced two or three more times after that, however, and only the less energetic ones. I was afraid that one good footstep would bring the entire skirt down to the floor, and I wasn't mentally prepared for that kind of, ah, exposure. Thankfully, Hope (one of the organizers) grabbed me for the final dance, the Posties Jig, which is my very favorite, and I got to enjoy one final breathless fling.

There's another ball in January or February, and if I go, I'll do the following:
  • Invite/require other people my age to come. It's far more fun when peers are involved.
  • Reinforce the hell out of the seam that attaches my skirt to the bodice of the dress.
  • Shorten the skirt by a good two inches - who cares if you can see my shoes? If you see my shoes, we're both much less likely to step on my skirt, which is now much more important to me.
  • Go with an escort so that I have a higher probability of dancing. Despite the fact that I was a bit fearful of dancing and losing my skirt, only one friend asked me to dance after the rip incident. There are always fewer men than ladies, so having someone specific there with me should help. However, I think that I like Rob enough not to ask him to be that someone. Dancing isn't his thing, and I don't want to leave him in the fetal position after an evening with me... yet.


Unknown said...

Who is that blue whale of a woman in the picture with you? And I can attest, your hair AND your dress was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hi Addie!! You are such a creative writer!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience at the ball, although I did feel for you!! You looked so beautiful!! It was also nice to put a face to the famous "Rob!" Love ya!
Kristin A.

Andrea said...

Wow Addie, you look stunning! :)
What was this fabulous occasion all about?