In trying to describe last night at the Washington Opera Ball, the story that best sums it up is the one that ends in the Israeli ambassador's wife offering to give me the name of her dentist. That, more than any moment the entire night, was the time I felt like I was watching myself in a movie. Am I really here? Is this really happening?! Who let this happen?!?!
Some other fond memories:
We were a little late to dinner at the Israeli Ambassador's residence because some (soon to be disciplined) girl at the opera gave us directions to the embassy. Once we finally got back on track, after clopping down a rain-sodden Van Ness Street with my gown gathered under our umbrella, it took our cab another ten minutes to go five blocks. We arrived just as the ambassador's wife was beginning the toast, right in front of another couple who also got caught in the rain. She could not have been more gracious and charming, and when I apologized to her again over the salad course, she waved her hand and said "don't worry about it at all! Of course you had trouble finding us-- this house was designed by the Mossad!"
(And by the way, I totally have a girl crush on the ambassador's wife now. She was so lovely and charming that I really want to go get cocktails and manicures with her and catch up on fun yet not-mean-spirited gossip from the diplomatic corps. LOVE her.)
After dinner we arrived for the actual ball at the Italian Ambassador's residence, called Villa Firenze. The theme of the ball was Venice Nights (or similar). In keeping with the theme, the five-pages desert menu was heavy on chocolates that had been sculpted and molded into various aquatic shapes.
That there picture is of a giant chocolate clam, filled with little fish-shaped chocolates. There was a chocolate pirate ship filled with chocolate booty, chocolate lobsters and chocolate sea kelp. Needless to say, Blake and I referred to this room as "The Chocolate Starfish Room" all night.
The ball was gorgeous. Grandly grandly, spectacularly beautiful. They had a massive tent set up behind the residence that overlooked a valley in Rock Creek Park. I would have taken more pictures, but this was not the sort of event at which one weilds a digital camera and still maintains dignity. All the pictures I took before 11:30 were surruptitiously taken behind the backs of skinny, fur-clad society women and the portly men who do the White Man's Overbite with them. After 11:30, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who looked sadly frail-- I resisted the urge to tell her to sack up, ho) and the Scalias (who were CRUNKED) headed home with all the other VIPs, the band switched from Viennese waltzes to James Brown and we took over the dance floor.
Don't Sam (L) and Blake look great? I, on other hand, look like I'm about to eat some babies. Why does my camera always make me look demonic? Sam, when you email me the photos, will you also let me know what kind of camera you have? Whatever it is, I look cute in its pictures!
The dress was a big hit, though. It was the first evening gown I've ever felt comfortable in, and it looked pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. Compared to many of the older women, though, I was completely underdressed. I didn't have a feather or a fox pelt anywhere on my body. If you've ever wandered though Neiman Marcus and wondered just who buys hot-pink marabou feather stoles... it's the Italian ambassador's wife. Anyone else would have looked like a Fraggle, but I maintain that she was fierce enough to pull it off.
Speaking of the Italian Ambassador and his wife, while we were waiting for a cab home I wandered into one of the side rooms off the foyer. There, in between framed portraits of this gorgeous couple with various heads of state, was a coffee table loaded down with surprisingly pedestrian reading material:
They watch mediocre romantic comedies and wonder about the real-life relationships of the stars! Ambassadors-- they're just like us!
In addition, I can neither confirm or that I stole a roll of Smarties from the candy jar in this room.
So that was the ball! We drank a lot, danced a lot, enjoyed non-controversial yet pleasant conversation with people who would not normally give us a smile. Saw how the other half lives. They live well, indeed. But today I went to Harris Teeter in a newsboy cap and... wait for it... bought groceries. The glamour never ends!
More photos over in Flickr.