Recently, I had been given the most delicious offer that I could imagine; an offer that played right into my desire to do thrilling, cosmopolitan things. My Italian class was taken to go and see “Madame Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera.
I was excited, not only because I was going to see a high-end work of art, but also because this sounded more like the sultry beginning to a romantic-suspense novel, in which an eighteen year old girl goes to the opera and it changes her life. I showed up ready to feel cultured as hell. I was going for chic, fashionable; trying to be one of those interesting New York women who makes people turn their heads so fast that they get whiplash. Using professor youtube as my guide, I put my hair in a bun and mentally-prepared myself for when my updo would fall through. After squeezing myself into a dress that I can only fit into if I force it over my head and not my hips, I jammed my feet into a sassy pair of bows-on-toes, super-high heels that would have made Carrie Bradshaw weep tears of joy. I have had the dress since the sixth grade, which might explain why it was cutting off circulation in my armpit.
My class and I experienced “Madame Butterfly” and I petition that we change the title of the opera to “men are trash,” since that is the overarching message. For those of you who don’t know, the opera is about a teenage Japanese geisha girl who marries an American soldier, only to have him leave her. She marries him for love, because she is a wonderstruck child who still believes in such concepts, whereas he marries her mostly because it was fashionable. Everybody insists that he has left her for good but she is in denial due to her naivety, despite the fact that he has been gone for three years. When the soldier’s friend, the counselor, tries to explain to her that their marriage is no more, she exposes the fact that she has a child. Her husband comes back and she is excited because she thinks that her husband is finally returning to her, but in reality he is bringing his new wife in order to collect their child. The woman is devastated and, in proper opera fashion, she kills herself.
Blush-pink rose petals being showered down on opera singers, may have been the most resplendent aesthetic I have ever seen, and made every unmarried person in the audience plan their wedding. Above the stage was a large mirror that showed the audience what was going on behind all of the set pieces and created a bold reflection whenever there was an elaborate costume. The opera singers hit such high notes that it didn’t sound like human voices anymore. My limited Italian came in handy, but I was also guided by the subtitles on the backs of the chairs in front of me.
I obsessed over every aspect of that night, but one of my favorite parts of any posh night is the dressing up part. I was proud of the sleek look that I put together, even though it did not take long to fall apart. Later that night, once I was no longer around anybody who had seen me prior to, I really let myself go and a girl from my writing class saw me walking barefoot through a cold parking lot, wearing only one earring, and appropriately asked me “ya, good?” I was definitely fine, but was craving that post-outing decompress, where you let your hair down and put on sweatpants after an eventful night. Back in my room, surrounded by some much-appreciated warmth that I had been deprived of when walking around in a short dress and heels, I scrubbed off all of my makeup and unwound.
The Tragic Queen,