The common theme was that our husbands/fiances did not share out enthusiasm :) Their pre ball planning consisted mostly of, Hey honey can you take my dress blues by the dry cleaners this week?
Oh, and shining their shoes!
After consulting with Amanda, and then bringing in the additional opinions of my mom and best friend Kate, I picked out a deep purple one shouldered floor length dress. When I showed the picture online to Fionn he was a little skeptical. "It looks kinda weird. It's missing a strap."
Uhh...that's why it's one shouldered?? Silly boys.
Through my new expat friends I found an amazing British stylist who did my hair. She was so nice and talented and it was great not to have to explain what I wanted in German ;) Then I went home, curls hair sprayed within an inch of their lives, and tried to sit as still as possible til the ball began. Fionn was very perplexed by all of this. "So, you're not going to do anything today? You don't want to go anywhere?"
Fionn...I just got my hair done. It's noon and the ball starts at 6. I'm not doing anything to mess up my hair.
He was a little confused by that and decided to go organize the man cave.
I should note that Fionn didn't want to go to the ball in the first place, and it was only after much pestering by me and the company putting pressure on (if they sold 600 tickets they got a 4 day weekend, so the stragglers were rounded up and harassed to by tickets) that he finally agreed. But he definitely did not share my enthusiasm for getting pretty.
I had never been to a military ball, so I was excited to see what it was like, not to mention I've been able to make a lot of new girlfriends this summer and when girls get together to dress up, the excitement level rises. Nothing is more satisfying than a group of girls getting all excited about whatever girly thing you're showing them after your husband saw it and was like, uhh...it's a dress right? ;)
Also, when Fionn and I were dating he offered "You get to dress up and go to a ball" as one of the reasons moving to Bavaria to live with him would be so awesome. So, I wasn't letting him off the hook!
We got ready and then had the big reveal-I thought Fionn looked absolutely dashing in his dress blues and he seemed to think the same about me (and he even liked my one shouldered dress after all). So in the car we got and headed to the ball.
We got there for cocktail hour, and I chatted with my friends while Fionn made the rounds. Everyone looked so pretty! My only regret is that I didn't get pictures with everyone :( We also had so much fun talking that we missed the receiving line. Oops!
After cocktail hour we took our seats. The first half of the ball is very ceremonial-it begins with the posting of the colors, where they bring in the US flag, the German flag, and the military flags/banners associated with your unit. All the soldiers stand at attention, and the civilians just stand. The whole room has to be facing the flags as they are carried to their location, it's a bit odd to watch an entire room shuffle in unison to follow the flags.
Then there is a prayer, followed by toasts where the toast giver says something and you have to reply. The last toast is "To the ladies". So your date seats you, then toasts you. One thing I liked about the ball was that anytime I tried to get up out of/into my seat, if Fionn didn't see me and pull the chair out right away one of the neighboring soldiers would rush to do it. How very chivalrous (and much appreciated since that long train was a bit of a hassle!)
After the toasts they made the "grog" which is a mix of alcohol that symbolizes...I dunno...pretending to be Vikings? ;) I missed some of that since they weren't using a microphone. Each ingredient had a special meaning though. Someone brought Fionn some of it-it smelled awful. The guys around me drinking it agreed!
Then it was time for dinner. The line was HUGE, so we split up-Fionn got salads and I held our spot in the (neverending) dinner line. The food was good, and the people at our table were very nice. It was cool to put faces to names.
After dinner was a speech, and then the formal part was over and dancing began. Fionn does not like to dance, so I let him off the hook. I danced with my friends for a while, but my contact lenses conspired against me and I agreed that we could head home.
my friends' husbands were ready to dance though! They stayed pretty late and had some pretty funny stories later...
All in all, it was a fun night. Fionn had fun too and was happy he went after all.
So...when's the next ball? :)