The days of the Balls…


It’s official, I’m actually part of that older generation now. You know, the one that says to kids, ‘Oh, back in my day, we didn’t have that…we did things like this…’ Blah, blah, blah.

A 16 year old girl was describing her debutante ball dress to me the other week. It sounded gorgeous, green, detailed, strapless, knee-length, she didn’t have to carry flowers, it seemed there was no guide lines for this event. In my day our dresses were all white – maybe just off white if you were lucky – floor length ball-gowns, we wore elbow length gloves, matching flowers and in no circumstance could you have a strapless dress.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my debutante ball immensely and still put the night down as one of the best I’ve ever had. It could have been disastrous though. As girls do, I had my hair done by a local hairdresser during the day. Even though the shop was only three blocks from my house and I asked my Dad to come and pick me up, lest something awful happen to my hair on the way home. He told me not to be so lazy and walk the whole 7 minutes.

My friend and I trekked off happily, and half way home I still remember the buzzing of excitement I had for the night to come. Suddenly, the buzzing wasn’t my excitement, it was a bee, a bee that zoomed like a darn torpedo directly into the top of my forehead. And he stung me, of course. Knowing from experience that I blew up like a balloon from bee stings, I began slapping crazily at my face, shrieking like a banshee at my friend to ‘Get the sting out!!!’

In almost as much panic as myself, she grabbed my head and scanned my crown, telling me there was no sting there, just a red dot. Like a knight in shining armor, my Dad abruptly appeared in his car – clearly feeling guilty he had said no just a few minutes ago – and took us home. I tried to keep the tears back – that kind of activity would only make my face more puffy – as I languished on the couch like an invalid, an ice-pack firmly applied to the sting site.

All was well as I didn’t swell, and my make-up covered the red dot easily. I had a brilliant night, got the loudest cheers as I was presented – which doesn’t necessarily mean I was the most popular, more likely I had the loudest friends – and knew it would be a good story to tell.

I have always enjoyed the debutante balls anyway even just as a guest, although now I think of it they have been quite the source of embarrassment and personal disaster for me. I have fallen over in massive heels and a very short dress on the dancefloor (more than once), displayed two red and puffed up cheeks from a too-recent-facial-gone-wrong experience, and endured the worlds most disgusting photo of myself pasted on the schools database, just when it was becoming regular to use emails and share photos. Of course.

But the best stupid thing affected someone else, not me. BYO alcohol was always better for us kids who had no money or fake ID, and as usual, when my friends arrived to get ready at my house, I shoved the plastic bag of cheap bourbon cans in my fridge. When it was time to go, I grabbed the bag and we set off merrily. Not so merry was my friend when she opened the bag once we were there, to reveal not her bourbon cans, but some fruit.

‘You brought effing pears,’ she accused me in a low incredulous voice. ‘Pears!’

‘They aren’t pears,’ I disagreed. ‘They’re guavas.’

Needless to say, she wasn’t impressed. She didn’t care they were guavas, she was just pissed off that it wasn’t her drink, naturally. Fortunately I had a whole bottle of alcohol – yes I managed to bring my correct drink and not lemons or something – and I had more than enough to share with her.

Not just deb balls either. My first BnS Ball was shameful too. For those who don’t know, for a BnS you dress up in formal clothes, ones you don’t care about as you end up muddy, covered in food dye, and usually more than a little ragged. Unbeknownst to me, it was the done thing to put your formal clothes once you arrived there. Not beforehand like any normal party or event. So, on trip there (our convoy consisted of at least 5 cars full of people, most of whom I considered very cool and well-worth impressing) I was the only dickhead all dressed up in a long skirt and nice formal top.

I got over it, everything was okay once we were there. Well, until a certain friend spat a mouthful of food dye and beer at me. Ordinarily this is normal, but this dye was red, and I wiped it all over my face before I realised what was going on. I didn’t look like a cool chick who’d been paintballing, I looked severely sunburned, or even a little bit cooked, like a yabby or some other crustacean. Anyway I got past that too, we washed most of it off and added blue and green dye in splotches so I blended in with the crowd.

It turned out to be very fun night and enjoyable experience. Until the next morning when all my friends drove home, forgetting to make sure I was in someone’s car! Yes, apparently each of them thought I was with someone else, but really I was stranded, all lonely, filthy and smelly. My parents had warned me to never hitchhike, but I was more worried no-one would pick me up! With no battery left on my phone I begged a ride home with someone who lived kinda close-ish to my town, then called my Mum to collect me once I got there. Thank God for mummies!

I don’t get into quite so many sticky situations anymore (although I do have a good backlog to chat about on here!) which is probably a good thing. I am a mother now, that makes us grown-up and responsible automatically, yes? <insert laughter>.

If you’ve ever been caught in foolish situations, think of me and my years as a semi-awkward gal in her late teens/early twenties, and feel better about yourself.

Much love,

Melissa xo



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