Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties Dresses for the Symphony

Last week I went to the SF Symphony to see a night of 'Classic Beethoven'. I took my Mom for her birthday but our girls' night out was a gift to both of us. Going to the symphony is about as high as you can go on the WIHT meter, so I've decided to let this make up for the boxed brownie incident.

I admit I have an affinity for classical music. Growing up, we listened to Brahms much more often than Led Zeppelin (much to L's dismay). My father could play the piano by ear, one of those ridiculously unfair talents that I usually curse people for. Thinking I might have gotten even a smidgen of his gift, I took piano lessons in my twenties. Things did not go well. My brother told me once that I play the most depressing 'Entertainer' he's ever heard. The one thing I did get from piano lessons is that I have the deepest admiration (and jealousy) for anyone who can play a musical instrument.

I am usually one to frown upon dressing up, but symphony night is different. At the symphony, people wear black and gold and shawls and Chanel perfume, sometimes all at once. Glasses are totally acceptable. Men wear suits and women bring clutches, and they talk about the French restaurant they ate at for dinner and the view of City Hall from the lobby . It's oh-so posh and sophisticated.

My night with my Mom started off fulfilling all these exceptions, that is until the group in front of us took their seats. Obviously, not everyone in the family had gotten the memo about proper symphony attire. One of them, and I'm not joking here, was wearing flip-flops.

Gasp! I thought to myself. A woman in her thirties does not-

But the symphony was starting, and they played my absolute favorite Beethoven concerto, and for two hours I was thinking about the piano and all the ways that classical music makes life better. Throughout the performance I was in a space I used to think all women in their thirties were in at all times, a space of complete relaxation and contentment (little did I know). By the end, my arms were sore from clapping.

Then the flip-flop wearing man in front of me stood up to begin a standing ovation. His pants were halfway down his behind, the crack in his rear end large enough to cover my entire view of the strings.

I know now that in situations like these, a woman in her thirties can't lose her cool. Symphonies and other such happy things don't last forever, so we must revel in them as long as possible. I wasn't ready to be smacked back to reality by the ample behind of the man in front of me. I did what any other self-respecting woman in her thirties would do-- I simply stood up taller and did my best to out-clap him.


  1. It blows my mind what people will wear to the Symphony. When Ben and I were first dating we went to the Phx symphony and I wore a long red dress and he wore a shirt and tie. Sadly I felt incredibly over dressed. I didn't have the jeans and t-shirt that adorned many of the patrons! I was shocked. Hopefully when I turn 30 I will be able to handle such events with more poise!

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