Ever since our first visit to Europe a few years ago, I fell in love with Vienna. It is a beautiful city with gorgeous buildings, amazing art, and it’s clean and organized as an operating room. I’ve always dreamed ofreturning around Christmas time and attending one of those famous balls. It sounds stupid, I know, since I cannot dance to save my life and would look awkward in a ball gown. But a dream is a dream… I imagined it would look like this:
Wouldn’t it be oh-so-romantic to twirl around the room in a beautiful sparkling dress with my handsome, tuxedo-clad husband? Yes, yes it would.
The other day I started researching what it would take and found out that Vienna has over 400 balls every year, many of them are divided by professions: lawyers ball, pharmacists ball, etc. Why I would NEVER want to go see a bunch of lawyers dance. I shudder at the thought.
The premier ball is considered the Vienna Opera Ball. The cost of the tickets is fairly reasonable for once-in-a-lifetime event: less than $100. There are some formal rules for debutantes – those beautiful young ladies in white dresses and tiaras. But for all the other mortals it’s free for all. So far so good…
Upon further research, I get an uneasy feeling after seeing some “guests of honor.” Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra. And then this: a young prostitute infamous for bedding something slimy… who was that? Berlusconi I think.
Hmmm… I then read that the whole idea of the balls is quasi-ironic and meant to indulge rich Americans and rising class of foreigners in their fantasies. There used to be also protests a la Occupy Wall Street. For obvious reasons.
Argh! That kind of ruined it for me. Why can’t it be like the tango in Buenos Aires? Or hula in Hawaii? There, you have touristy venues where everything is pretty but for money and ironic. And then you have people taking this stuff seriously yet still allowing any outsiders who are interested to join in to celebrate the culture.
With that, I decided to skip the balls. I may still visit Vienna around Christmas because I bet it’s magical then.