The last Mardi Gras ball I went to was in 2008, and I swore I would never do it again.
If you’ve never been to one, it’s like a huge party with lots of music and drinking and dancing and food and drinking. (Did I mention there tends to be a lot of drinking?) It’s extremely formal, as in white tie and tails formal for men, and floor length ball gowns for the women. Ball gowns which we spend weeks searching for, and even longer starving ourselves to get into.
The one I went to in 2007 and 2008 was by way of invitation from one of my ex’s co-workers. The society itself is known for being highly exclusive, which meant in the end we basically knew no one there other than the person who invited us. My ex didn’t drink, and that coupled with not knowing anyone there meant there was very little socializing done and a lot of awkward standing around. The first time going was exciting, but once the novelty wore off with the second one, I swore I’d never do it again. There’s only so much people-watching that can be tolerated when everyone around you is having a great time and you aren’t.
It was because of this that I said no when I was asked by my friend Heather to go to their ball (name removed..Ooops!), since she is part of the organization. Then our friend Alli joined. And I found out our other friend Hope was not only in it, but her mom was the leader this year. (This society doesn’t do court like most.) I kept saying no, but the idea of getting to hang out with my friends for the night for something other than a Tweetup won me over, and I decided to give it a shot.
To say I am glad I went would be a massive understatement. I must have spent at least half the night laughing my ass off about one thing or another, from the incredibly drunk floor committee women who told her husband that they had to get a hotel room because “A hotel room is a lot cheaper than a DUI!”, to Alli’s son being told by the bartender that if he gave the drink termed the ‘room special’ to his date he’d be sure to get her into bed, not realizing he was escorting his mother. It was awesome seeing Alli, Heather and Hope dancing in the tableau, and seeing all the amazing (and sometimes scary!) dresses women wore, and how funny spouses and friends looked in their penguin suits. I even got to meet a Twitter friend who was in town just for the ball, all the way from Texas!
All in all it was a wonderful night, and I am incredibly happy I stepped out of my comfort zone and went, instead of letting past experiences dictate. There is no question I would go again if I am lucky enough to be on the invite list next year 🙂