February 11, 2013

Prim and Proper Parent Prom

Sometimes you just have to go to a Jane Austen ball when the opportunity presents itself.  We found out about one last Tuesday, bought tickets right away, and then went to it on Friday.

All week we were rushing to find costumes.  We put these costumes together from D.I., Savers, my mom's costume supply, Edith's closet, and Ye Olde Costume Shoppe.

On our way to the dance, we had to stop at a gas station and it was delightful to see Rex dressed like Mr. Darcy as he filled up the tank.  Fortunately no one was around to be entertained by us.  I must say that I've never had a better looking gas attendant.

The dance was held at a masonic temple.  The room was the perfect size and set up for dancing and dinner, but a little hard to create a Jane Austen atmosphere surrounded by robes, symbols, and pictures of old men.  Speaking of old men, the ballroom, which was only a few steps down from where we ate, was equipped with a box elevator on one side and a chair elevator on the other.  I don't know what anyone needing those contraptions would do on a dance floor, but hey.

 When we entered, we were greeted by this highly entertaining man.  He got our information and then loudly announced that we were  Duke Rex and Duchess Jenny who hailed from....  (There's no more nerve-wracking way to enter a room full of people you don't know.)  I kept wondering where they got this guy who made all the announcements of the evening in his British accent and pretty much doubled as a stand-up comedian.  We later found out that he is currently playing Elvis in a show.  And, as an added bonus, he even showed us some of his Elvis dance moves.   

After we were announced, we walked in where everyone was dancing.  They all seemed to know what they were doing.  Many had been to balls before and others had all been taking classes with Old Glory Vintage Dancers.  We finally got the nerve to join in and I was perpetually lost.  I might have said something like, "This is harder than math!"  People were shouting things like, "You're a 1!  You're supposed to be doing this right now!"  "Whu??  So I do this?"  "No!  Now you're a 2.  Now you do this totally different thing so you'll be too confused to remember what to do when you get back to being a 1".  Great.

I would finally get to the point where I had some idea what was going on, when suddenly they'd announce that dance was over and we were moving on to a new one.  Yikes.  Finally I started paying closer attention and I was able to keep up a little better.  After that, the dancing was way fun.  One was really fast-paced and involved doing the do-si-do and the reel.  So fun.  I was even sweating by the end.  Sorry, dress rental company.

At the ball there was a costume contest for the best Emma Woodhouse and the best Mr. Darcy.  I thought Rex had it in the bag.  In my opinion he was the most well-dressed, best-looking, Beau-Brummelly guy in the room.  I got my camera ready and everything.  My visions of him being carried on shoulders, cheered and praised were cruelly burst when he didn't even make it as a finalist.  He was robbed, I tell you!  Just look at him!!  It's amazing how manly someone can look when wearing women's clothes from a thrift store. And he even made his own watch fob.  No one else had a fob.  You know what they always say: don't rob the fob.  And if they don't say that, well they should.

Here are some more pictures of Rex:

Whoops, how did Jeremy Northam sneak in there?  I guess you can see how I'd get him and Rex all sorts of mixed up.

Dinner was roast turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls.  And for dessert: bread pudding.  Everyone we sat by was really nice.  One was a published author who writes Jane Austen fan literature.  She thought this event would be good for research.  Two others were parents of twins.  (They just probably wanted to get away from home.)  Another woman looked exactly like Mrs. Bennett.  When we pointed that out, someone asked in a British accent, "And have you married off all of your children?"  She said, "No, none."  Someone else picked up on the cue and asked, "And are they all out in society?"  She said, "Yes, all."  Someone else exclaimed, "What?  Youngest out before the eldest is married?"  Then she said, "Yup, but at least my 28 year old finally moved out of the basement."

 Here are some pictures they took of us there.  We posed in front of a green screen so they could pretend we were in a beautiful ballroom or cathedral instead of a creepy Masonic temple.

And that, folks, is what it's like to go to a Jane Austen ball on short notice in a Masonic Temple with a man who looks like Mr. Darcy.

For group pictures of the ballroom and costumes, go to this link:



  1. how awesome! and yeah, he did get robbed, he looks just like darcy! you look so purdy too, what a fun night.

  2. Way to be spontaneous! I'm so impressed!

  3. You're so talented, Jenny -- this is hilarious! And I wish that Steve and I had gone :(

  4. That sounds like so much fun! Great costumes!

  5. My first time to your blog!!! Jenny, I miss you! The pics are awesome. You and Rex make such a cute Jane Austian couple. You look absolutely fetching (my Austin-era word for the day). My favorite,however, is Rex pumping gas. The dignity and aplomb he exudes as he condescends himself to such a menial task is
    quite stunning.

  6. This looks like so much fun! Great photos!

  7. Jenny - this looks like such a blast. You are BEEE-AUTIFUL!!!! And Rex does look handsome dressed in women's thrift store clothes. He seriously looks awesome - I can't believe you threw those costumes together. What a fun and romantic night. I bet Rex was pretty happy to do it - since it sounds like you gave him lots of attention and affection. oh and nice fob.

  8. I LOVE IT!!!! All kinds of grinning here. AWESOME!