Debutantes

You know I don’t understand
Why you don’t treat yourself better
Do the crazy things that you do
‘Cause all the debutantes in Houston baby
Couldn’t hold a candle to you.
—-The Long Run, by the Eagles, Don Henley, Glenn Fry, Bob Seger

I was riding my bicycle through downtown, past the sculpture installation “Borders” and then cruised across the street to the front of the I.M. Pei designed Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the massive buildings designed by various Pritzker Prize winners that line the Dallas Arts District.

There were a cluster of expensive shiny SUVs scuttling around the entrance and a flustered clutch of shiny parents shuttling stuff in and out. I peered in the open doors, curious about what was up, and saw the long double row of professional portraits of young ladies in fanciful gowns. It was time for the Dallas Symphony Debutante Ball.

As I pedaled past, looking like an old overfed homeless man on my “vintage” bike, I snapped a quick photograph, felt the warm, dry air of the opened doors wash past me and I headed on down to the park to get a beer.

Waiting for the Debutantes

Waiting for the Debutantes

One thing that has always fascinated me is how different people exist in such different worlds and how little these worlds intersect. We all breath the same air, walk the surface of the same planet, our atoms obey the same laws of physics, yet the reality of a Dallas Symphony Debutante is so far removed from… well, mine or anyone else’s reality. It is not only a different world – it is a different dimension, a strange reality completely.

Not judging… just sayin’.

These are not only debutantes… these are Texas debutantes. While their lineage and tradition will pale when compared with some of the Northeast families of old wealth they will make up for this with enthusiasm and a dose of the Texas spirit of unapologetic “going for it”.

For example, there is the Texas Dip.

From the New York Times’ blog post on the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria:

The New Yorkers curtsied demurely; the uncharitable might even say their bows were boring. But so were those by debutantes from England, Alabama and Arkansas, though the Arkansan’s bouquet of pink and red roses touched with silver leaves fluttered, hinting at a tremor of fear that the genuflection induced.
And then the Texans swished into the room, across the dance floor and onto the stage. Each handed her bouquet to her collegiate man, who stepped aside for the giant gown — everything, from the ball gowns to the bows, is bigger in Texas, of course — and watched his girl dip.

Claire Crenshaw, 18, lowered herself with such subtlety, it was as if hydraulics were hidden underneath her voluminous skirt. Once on the floor, she doubled over and buried her face in her gown like a person inhaling fresh laundry. In short, she milked it.

But the best bow was by Olivia Flores, 20. Her dip was no different from any other scene-stealing Texan’s that night, with one exception: she did it all with a broken collarbone, her arm bound in a raw silk sling. It matched her dress perfectly.

Of course, if all this is too civilized for your taste, there is an alternative Dallas Debutante Ball – women playing rugby in prom dresses. Yee Haaw!