Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lessons from a Marine Ball

Last night we were excited to attend our first-ever Marine Ball! It was a beautiful event, held outside in downtown Lome, with streamers and lights covering the entire venue. Along with great food, good wine and fantastic company, the night was an appropriate time and setting to learn a few new lessons.

1. No matter how pretty you are when you leave the house, or how fancy the event is, when you arrive you will still be outside in Africa. The second you step from the safety and comfort of your air-conditioned car, the sweating starts, the buzzing begins and the bat guano starts falling from the trees. Mosquitoes, bats and humidity are apparently oblivious to glorious radiance, perfect hair, beautifully applied make-up and modesty.

2. The Marines actually cut the cake with a sword! And contrary to some widely-held beliefs, it's not an appropriate time to laugh. Or offer to lick the frosting off. Or turn to Mr. Kate, hold up your butter knife and challenge him to a duel. "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

3. The table with the single place setting, sitting off by itself is not simply a table set for one.  It is the table to commemorate MIA soldiers-- and therefore NOT an appropriate place to set down your wine glass and camera for just a moment while you run to the restroom to apply more bug spray. Can we hang a sign or something next year?

4. Everyone knows how to do the Gangham Style Dance. EVERYONE. Except me.

So, now that I've discovered all the Marine Ball faux-pas (and potentially ruined Mr. Kate's career... again), I'm aware of certain behaviors I can work on for next year. I'll obviously start by locking myself in the house and finding a way to stream MTV so I can brush up on my mad dancing skills for the next time someone wants to dance to a mash-up of the Harlem Shake and Gangham Style.

Happy Birthday, Marines. Thank you for a great evening!


  1. Love your post Kate! And YOU just look fabulous! I also remember my first Marine Ball and the famous "Advance the cake"!.. so much to learn, right? God bless the Marines!

  2. I know how it is to dress up in the tropics - the beauty doesn't last long! Great post!