This year, we decided to try something new for New Years. Normally we get together with friends or family (depending on which part of the country we are in), and play games late into the night, getting drunk on Sparkling Cider, cookies, and laughter.
This year we wanted to try something new.
So we went to the Opera.
My friend Briana was in town, and it was her idea.
The Opera tickets were very expensive, but thanks to our powerful and influential connections, we got in for free.
(did I mention that Briana's husband was playing in the orchestra that night?)
I was nervous. Not only had I never actually met Briana before (we are blogging friends), but I also do not own any formal dresses.
And this was a formal dress event. With well-to-do patrons. Who wore a lot of diamonds, sequins, and fur. Real Diamonds, sequins, and fur.
I can't imagine how many people died harvesting those sequins.
Before we left for the event, I ran around like crazy, trying to throw together a passable outfit.
It wasn't easy.
In the end, I chose a little black dress, with fancy high heels, and black stockings.
I hated those stocking.
I have a lot of tights, but all of them have runs. So on our way into Oakland we stopped at Target, and I bought the cheapest pair I could find.
They were super-ultra-control top. And I had to put them on in the car.
There we were, driving through traffic, with my skirt hiked up to my waist, struggling to pull these things up. Kurt was horrified.
"Helena! Stop it. The other cars can see you."
But I didn't care. It was either me, or the pantyhose, and I wasn't going to let something as trivial as "indecent exposure" get in the way of this victory.
Once I got them over my hips, I reached down to my toes, trying to coax that last inch up my legs.
And when I finally had them where I wanted them, I started flexing.
Usually when you're putting on tights you do it while standing, with room enough to squat and lunge them into place. That way the crotch doesn't sag tightly to mid-thigh, restricting your movement in a way that is reminiscent of a straightjacket.
Well, I had to mimic those movements in the car. I brought my knees up to my chin, and flailed my feet around. It probably looked like I was giving birth. In heels.
Not one of my more elegant moments.
Kurt gave up, and stared resolutely out the windshield, too embarrassed to even acknowledge when my foot hit him in the face.
(Which was a total accident. I promise.)
When we parked next to the library, I climbed out of the car, and surreptitiously gave the tights a few extra tugs. Then, glancing around, I squatted for good measure.
When we walked into the building, I was immediately impressed with just how impressive the other guests were. Or at least, how impressed they were with themselves.
Have I mentioned the sequins?
I looked around hopefully, and spotted Briana almost immediately. She looked beautiful. Her dress wasn't a dress- it was a gown.
I hesitated in the doorway, because, well, the pressure of meeting someone who reads my blog is kind of intense.
I am not very funny in real life. I'm mostly just awkward.
I was mumbling something about having to text and make sure it was her, when she looked up at me and smiled.
She got up, and walked quickly across the atrium, a huge smile on her face.
I tried to smile back, but it probably looked more like a frightened grimace.
"And Kurt! I am so glad to finally meet you!"
She swept me into a hug, and I started to relax.
(If you ever meet me in real life, please give me a hug. I will be really nervous.)
We exchanged pleasantries and compliments. "Your hair looks so pretty!" "I love your dress," and made our way towards our seats.
I began to feel more confident, and shared the panty-hose-in-the-car story. Briana laughed and commiserated, and I noticed the proper old lady in front of me shift with displeasure.
It wasn't exactly a refined topic.
(But I didn't really care.)
Throughout the performance, which was actually pretty funny, we were treated to some unexpected diversions. A man sitting behind us started to snore. And elegantly dressed woman tottered in after intermission, completely drunk, and flopped down all over someone elses chair.
Afterward, we went to the Gala.
The lobby of the library had been turned out elegantly. The gala was basically a ball, with a lot of free desserts.
I owned that dessert bar.
The guests were dancing and laughing, and spilling champagne all over the tables. At one point, a Navy Officer proposed to his sweetheart (and I am fairly certain she said yes).
It was overwhelming.
We danced, and laughed, and ate with our new friends. Briana and her husband are just as nice and funny in real life as she is on her blog.
After midnight, Briana announced "I need a cheeseburger."
So we hopped into our car, and drove to Steak And Shake.
It was a fantastic, magical night.
When we got home, I peeled those pantyhose off, and tossed them in the trash.
...but then I dug them out, and slept with them under my pillow.
That night was like a fairy tale. Only, with Pantyhose.