â€œOh, all right.â€ I conceded reluctantly. â€œI suppose I could convince a guy to dress up in drag…â€
â€œOr you could invite Theresa, I’m sure she’d love to comeâ€.
Thus began many weeks’ worth of cajoling before Sam could convince me not only to buy tickets to my work ball, but to ask Theresa (a mutual friend) to come along as my â€œdateâ€ and to have everyone over to my place for drinks beforehand.
I guess the pictures speak for themselves. Although the theme was â€œbollywoodâ€ we decided to be anything but bollywood. For example I insisted on wearing my nice red shirt, which worked well with the hired tux and bow tie. Incidentally, red shirts are almost impossible to find in New Zealand. It seems as though if you’re a man you’re supposed to like grey, blue, black, or some other boring colour.
I picked a number of people up and took them back to my place where we had a few nibbles and some cocktails to get us warmed up. I got dressed while Sam picked up Theresa and his girlfriend Aleah kindly ironed my shirt for me since I’m not particularly organised at such things. After a margarita each we made our way up from my place to Sky City. The girls were pretty chilly in their skimpy dresses so we got them a taxi while us boys made our masculine way up Queen street in our formal get-up.Â
The ball itself was a great deal more enjoyable than I expected. After the meal (Indian buffet, of course), a covers band started playing and two couples took to the dance floor. I looked at Theresa â€œdo you want to dance?â€ She didn’t need to be asked twice.
As I made an ass of myself on the dance floor I reflected for a moment what a strange position I found myself in. Looking back, through high school, although I had many good friends I never considered myself to be particularly popular. I never imagined myself to be the sort of person to go dressed up to a ball and actually dance, let alone to be one of the first people dancing. As I looked out at the large crowd of people gathered there I fancied that I could see something in their eyes. What was that, was that jealousy?
I realised then that, at that very moment, I was one of the cool kids, one of the so-called popular people. I felt attractive, happy, well liked, and pretty comfortable in my own skin, comfortable enough that when my friends went to sit down for a bit I carried on dancing with myself until Sam called me for desert.
I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is that’s made me feel so happy and confident. Is it just age & thus maturity? Is it because I’ve started dating again? Is it because I can buy fun new toys for myself? Maybe these help, but I don’t think that’s the whole picture.Â
The reality is that nothing outward about me has changed to bring about this new level of confidence. I look the same, I haven’t gained muscle or lost weight, I eat the same, exercise the same and am notÂ taking any medication or anything of the sort. I think what’s happened is I have realised that I’m fine just the way I am. That people like me for who I am and (more importantly) I like being me. It’s something IÂ encourageÂ people to tell themselves all the time, it’s something I try to reinforce to myself all the time, but intellectualising it and actually feeling it are different things entirely.
Anyway, for the record, the ball was a blast. At this stage in my life I am feeling pretty happy about the way things are and I’m excited about what’s to come.