Those of you following along may remember I have made a bucket list of sorts, full of St. Louis-y things I want to experience before we sally forth to Colorado. Now that the pendulum of our move is swinging more towards “when” instead of “if,” I am slowly accomplishing said activities. One was attending the Veiled Prophet Ball.
I have been to the debutante ball once before, when my elder niece was presented. This time it was her younger sister. They are both stunningly beautiful, inside and out, and I was proud to watch each take part in this ritual.
I don’t really know the specifics of the Veiled Prophet organization. I know, much like fraternities and sororities, it presents itself, first and foremost, as a charitable organization. I don’t know how you become a member, but I am pretty sure my breasts (among many other reasons) disqualify me.
Son 2 often states that it was a good thing I didn’t have girls. He asserts that I would put them in Amish clothes and never let them out of the house. This idea may have been influenced by a morning I drove him to high school. I pulled in the parking lot, looked at all the girls walking by, and said “You didn’t tell me it was ‘Dress Like a Prostitute’ day.” He replied “Everyday is, I LOVE high school!” and jumped out of the car.
If we would have had daughters, I don’t think they would have been debutantes. Foremost, I would have been their mother. And we don’t really run in those social circles. And if I were going to spend that much money, I would much rather go on a fabulous vacation. But to each his own. Our family is filled with diverse opinions, but the cornerstone is love, acceptance and a few partially hidden eye rolls and head shakes, mostly from the other side. I mean, really, imagine being related to me…
So here is my report, for those of you who want a peek into this long-standing St. Louis extravaganza. First, it was quite fun dressing up all fancy-pantsy, with hubs in white tie and me in a (thankfully borrowed) full-length gown. It was like getting to go to prom together, a rite of passage we missed because we didn’t start dating until after college. Of course there were some differences; my date is follicullarly challenged, and my gown covered way too much of my goods for any self-respecting high school girl. And, of course, my escort wasn’t preoccupied wondering if he would or would not get some. To be honest, I am a pretty sure thing.
So first, guests meander around outside the ballroom, purchasing overpriced drinks and assessing gowns and gloves (leather, yes… any other type, how gauche). Then, it’s time! Guests are seated and the presentation begins: men in silly costumes, sporadic music, former queens, present debs, special maids and then the new queen, whose name is, I have no idea. (I hope for her sake this evening is not the highlight of her life.) The production takes about seventeen hours. During this time (remember the pre-gaming?) guests are not allowed bathroom breaks, so I recommend Depends to anyone attending next year.
The presentation over, the guards open the doors and a stream of anguished women gushes towards the limited potties. Have you ever seen those National Geographic shows where the wildebeests are stampeding through a narrow channel to get to the watering hole? Yeah, like that. Bars are open once again to soothe any disgruntlement.
Mingle mingle mingle, judge, judge judge, then finally off to the Queen’s Supper. Unfortunately it was held in the Siberian Ballroom, temperature about 21 degrees. First up, all the debs and dads dance, which no one can see because everyone in attendance crushes the dance floor to try and witness this special moment.
Dinner was, in a word, ridiculous. I won’t say how much it costs per person, but I will say you could go at least two or three times to the most expensive corporate account steak house in St. Louis for the price of one seat. I noticed many of the debs’ fathers had bleary-eyed, rather dazed looks on their faces. I initially attributed it to the free-flowing alcohol, but looking back, it probably was because they were calculating how much this eight hours of frivolity was costing them. The food, well, we wondered why the waiter kept pointing out the sauce on the table and recommending we pour it over our steaks. He told us three times. Didn’t help. I don’t know how you can really have a tasty sit-down dinner for 2,000 people, and neither does the hotel.
After dinner, (you know, like 1 a.m.) more dancing for the young-uns. Many of the old folks (like us) call it a night, missing out on the wee-hour breakfast, which the younger generation asserts is a highlight. Our Uber chariot carried us home.
So, yes, I had fun. Like I used to tell my kids when they were young and complained about the menu at different holidays, “It’s not about the food!” I am glad I attended. I am equally glad I will never have to go to another one.
Diametrically opposed to that event, this weekend I will be dressed up as some sort of generic superhero, throwing beads to everyone (except boob flashers) from a Mardi Gras float. I say generic superhero as costume-wise, we suck. So far, all we have are capes. I would dress up as my personal favorite superhero, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but I don’t know if I could pull it off.
I do believe the before and after pictures from Mardis Gras will be much more amusing than the ones from the ball. And I believe my sentiments above, about having fun yet glad I won’t have to do it again, will apply here as well. Stay tuned for the stories …