One of the regular readers of this blog sent me the following story of her evening at the ballet. It sounds like she had a great time. If any of you have similar stories, please send them to me.
I always enjoy your posts on girls going out for an evening and it was two years ago that one of Robin’s posts got me over the top to go out to the Performing Arts Center for the ballet. I had a wonderful time and have done it several times since then, but always by myself. I think we are all a bit self conscious when we are out alone and spend a fair amount of time wondering what other people are thinking. When you are out with someone, however, you are distracted by your interaction and don’t have time to speculate on what other people are thinking and are therefore more relaxed and natural. Anyway, I recently had an opportunity to go to the ballet again, but with someone and I thought I would tell you about it so you could post it on your blog if you think it worthwhile. I am also including a photo that you can also use if you like (Lisa is on the left, I am in the middle and Stacy is on the right).
I have developed a very close friendship with my hair stylist, Stacy, and since we both love ballet (I used to dance – but now have bad knees and she still takes class from time to time) we have been trying for over a year to get our schedules to synch up so we could go together to a performance. All the stars finally lined up last week for the opening night of American Ballet Theater’s visit to Orange County. To make it even more interesting, Stacy had a close friend, Lisa, who also loves ballet and who wanted to go as well. I had never met Lisa so this was a great opportunity for me to interact with someone new over an extended period of time. We got our tickets and made dinner reservations at the restaurant right at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The day before, I was able to squeeze in a visit to Stacy in her professional capacity as my hair stylist. I have had a tendency to have my hair done up as much as I can (it being a wig and all) but this time we decided to have it down with just soft waves (you can see in the photo). We both thought it looked very soft and feminine so I will probably keep it this way for a while. We arranged to meet in a shopping center about half way between our homes, leave one car and then go get Lisa who lived only about a block from our meeting place. On Thursday afternoon, I managed to get off work in time to get home and change without being too time constrained. I wore a dark red sheath dress under a black blazer (both were velvet plush material, fitted and much more conservative than they sound). With the outfit I wore a simple string of pearls and pearl earrings and a pair of black pumps with 2.5″ heels (there was some walking involved, but I have done it before with these shoes and can handle it without any problems). Once I was all ready, I called Stacy and she was just leaving home, so I jumped in my car and headed to our rendezvous. When I parked in the shopping center, I immediately realized the potential flaw in our plans – I am so 20th (or is it 19th) century – I do not have a cell phone. As soon as I leave home, I am out of contact with the world. Fortunately, Stacy was right ontime and we decided to go in my car as she still had her surfboard in hers. As we were driving over to pick up Lisa, we spotted her out walking her dog in her evening outfit. Both Stacy and Lisa are soooo Laguna Beach. Anyway, after she put the dog back inside her house, she hopped in and we were off. Lisa turned out to be a very sweet and interesting companion. On the way we talked about movies, vitamins, health, spirituality, pets and annoying adult children (Lisa’s and Stacy’s, not mine). In all to me it sounded like an entirely normal conversation that three girlfriends out for a night on the town would have – nothing forced or awkward. Lisa was a jewel and had no problems reacting to me as just another girl. What a wonderful feeling and a great validation.
Because we left a bit early (for our dinner reservation time), when we got to the Performing Arts Center, the parking structure was still functioning as parking for the office buildings in the area. This meant there was no event parking ticket sales person there to collect $10, so we just punched the machine and took a ticket. The bottom line here was that we got free parking as there is no one to collect after the evening events are over. Now we know – if you go early enough, parking is free!! We walked over to the restaurant where we were about an hour early for our reservation. They gave us our pick of any table and we chose one right up against the massive window wall that looks out over the quadrangle between the various arts venues (great for people watching – you can see it behind us in the picture). Our waiter told us that it would be a relaxed evening as they would not be that crowded. Boy was he wrong, as there were two perfomances going on that night and ours was an opening night that included a world premier. An hour and a half later the place was packed and we barely made it out in time for our performance even though we started an hour early. Of course part of that was our own fault – we spent about an hour tasting several wines before we selected the bottle of Willamet Valley Pinot Noir that our waiter had suggested at the beginning. We must have been driving him nuts and I am sure he thought we were three very ditzy girls. For dinner, Stacy had a large salad and we split a seared tuna appetizer. Lisa and I had rissoto for our main course and then the three of us split a dessert of several sorbets. We had a great time watching people arrive (including the ballet company in two large buses). It appears that turquoise blue is the evening dress color of choice this year – we must have seen 6 or 7. As we rushed to leave, I left my credit card and they had to chase me down to return it. Nevertheless we made it in time to find our seats and make a quick visit to the ladies room. Our seats were in the first balcony (tier) and were great.
The program was a repertory one that included three ballets. In the first half was a Merce Cunningham ballet – Duets – modern in style (no point), no stagework or lighting, only colorful costumes. The most interesting aspect of it was the music by John Cage. It was almost entirely percussion – very powerful and driving. By the end the whole audience was tired so much energy had been expended. The next ballet was a more traditional non-story ballet called Thirteen Diversions. It was very reminiscent of Balanchine and it featured some very dramatic lighting effects. At the intermission we all rushed to the ladies room again and managed to beat the crowd. Lisa then went off to wander around and people watch while Stacy and I went back to our seats. We talked for a while with the lady sitting next to Stacy and then Stacy’s old dance instructor showed up and it turned out he had seats in our row so she went and talked to him and his wife until time for the curtain. The second half of the evening was a world premier staging of Firebird. It was beautiful and exceptionally well danced – I think ABT is at its best when they are doing the fully staged story ballets and this was no exception (though as a story, if you do not know the Russian Fairy tale that Firebird is based on, you will never figure it out from watching the ballet). All in all it was a wonderfully enjoyable and entertaining evening with really great dancing. We were all in such a good mood when we left that we promised each other that we would do this again as often as we could. I would really like to have a small circle of girlfriends that I could do evenings out and shopping etc. with – kind of like Sex in the City without all the boyfriend issues and this seems like a very good start. Anyway we will be keeping in touch and will see where this leads. All in all it was a truly remarkable evening where I enjoyed just being me with two wonderful friends and I do not recall a single moment where I had any doubts or self consciousness. What a great time!