Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002
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Please stop petting me while I work

Doing lines at the Charity Ball

Doing lines at the Charity Ball

Belle of the Ball
Matt Pearson
Deputy Editor

It's been said many times before that life at Western is a lot like high school.

By the same token, Saturday night's annual Charity Ball – the pre-eminent social event of the Western year – is like a giant prom, with the same sort of manic planning and anticipation, the same sort of regret and disappointment.

Despite the pricey tickets, the awkward conversations with non-friends, the cramped ballroom and the after-event cab fiasco, the Charity Ball re-created the fashion-forward, fast-paced sexiness of 'Paris at Night'(this year's theme).

Of course, like all things Western, it began with a line. Or two. Or six-thousand.

You waited in a line outside the convention centre only to wait in another line once inside, which leads to another line in a different room where you waited to check your coat.

Then it's onto the next line, where party-goers were divided into gender-specific lines – security guards copped a feel on the men but didn't confiscate their testosterone, while they made sure there were no lipstick bombs in those "far too small to carry anything" purses women carry.

Then there was the ID line, which was more of a non-line and the men's washroom line, which – in the strangest turn of events – was actually longer than the women's queue.

Still, none of these lines could even begin to prepare you for the drink line. Pushing, shoving, a young woman's stiletto heel digging in to the top of my foot and the complete absence of import beer – having fun yet?

Once inside the giant ballroom, you wouldn't know you were in Paris until you tripped over the people having their pictures taken before a faux Eiffel Tower. Where the hell does someone find a giant replica of the Eiffel Tower? Do you rent those things or did someone's grandma just happen to have one lying around in her basement?

Like most social events of this magnitude, it is likely you will run into that person you sort of know – but not really. Even worse, it's totally awkward to introduce them to your date because you long ago forgot their name so you just say, 'Oh, we're on our way to dance' and flee the scene immediately.

As the night progressed, the dance floor spilled onto the surrounding carpet and drinks spilled onto everyone.

But, amidst this righteous hedonism, there was trouble brewing – for what would a charity gala be without a drunken fist fight?

Apparently there was a meeting of the Big Dick Club and some of the members couldn't quite decide who should be president, so they turned to that most masculine sport of all – pushing and shoving in the middle of the dance floor until a young woman is sent away with a bloody nose. Way to go, fellas, how charitable of you.

Before the debauchery could continue, however, the lights came on and the ball was over. There, in what had become the grandest ballroom of all, it seemed everyone stood in silence, waiting to see what came next.

And then I overheard the girl next to me say to her companions, "Wanna hit Sammy's?" and, at that moment, I knew we weren't in Paris anymore.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002