Evening Attire

The trees hang heavy with magnolia and tulips in this semi-tropical city. In May they have the Spring Cotillion. We're skeptical. This ain't no CBGB's. We prefer a ruder music. Our dancing is artless collision and conflict. We chafe at the prospect of forced etiquette, and "cotillion" just reeks of popularity contests and desire denied. We like to dress up, though.

I wear a white tie ensemble, and my Chuck Taylors. Black and white high-tops are "formal" All Stars, aren't they? Your little black dress with the dyeable bridesmaid shoes dyed black, probably wasn't what they had in mind when they said "evening attire" for a ball, but we're just going for the free booze, right?

The dancing is in the Great Hall, under the chandelier. We hang in the second-floor gallery, drinking champagne with strawberries. On the hardwood a few skilled dancers spin in epicycles, circling the room like Ptolemy's planets in their orbits, with perfect hair and impeccable evening attire.

After several cases of champagne have effervesced in plastic flutes, I acknowledge my place on your dance card. The professor playing the piano, red-faced and sweating profusely, pounds out a Viennese Waltz at a frenetic tempo of 180 beats per minute, faster then you or I can move our feet, though we try. The ever-young, ever-immoral dance hypnotizes us. Our spinning and whirling smears the world beyond us to a flux, with one still point at the center: you.