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What Every Girl Must Learn: Advice for Balls and Sex

Masked Ball in Palace of High Nobility, 1740

Masked Ball in Palace of High Nobility, 1740

If my puddle jumper plane ever touched down on a green patch in the middle of nowhere and Mr. Roarke and Tattoo stood welcoming me with open arms and lifted glasses, I would request tea and crumpets with the well-versed etiquette author, Emily Post, and candid tip giver, never one to withhold her opinion, sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer .

Mr. Roarke may raise an eyebrow in concern but you won’t because admit it. You’re intrigued. Still reading. You’d come too if invited. Or beg to be a fly on the wall, if we were uncouth enough to allow flies to attend. Because you know it’d be an interesting afternoon. Particularly if the hour drew late and tea and crumpets turned to tequila and tapas.

Emily Post may look all prim and proper, but her seemingly innocent nuggets of advice for young debutantes attending a ball could have just as easily come from Dr. Ruth giving very different advice for different firsts.

But I paused, I admit. Like you’re doing now. Emily Post and Dr. Ruth? Really, KC? Really? Sure you’re not indulging in a bit too many schnaps while typing away at that blog of yours? Could the lady once considered the Mistress of American Manners exchange pleasant banter with the woman who the Wall Street Journal described as a “cross between Henry Kissinger and Minnie Mouse?”

Truly. I believe the two would have had a ball together!

Sorry. Not funny– squeezing the ball thing in there but you know what a mean. Both ladies gave men and women advice on how to act, and not act in order to have a good time and be successful at the venture at hand. Albeit, often very different ventures, but with a little tweaking here and there, the advice of one could have easily been advice by the other. And I’m sure Dr. Ruth would agree that a good time at one could lead to the other. (Although I think this might make Ms. Post choke a bit on her crumpet).

“There is one thing every girl … must learn—self-unconsciousness! The best advice might be to follow somewhat the precepts of mental science and make herself believe that a good time exists in her own mind. If she can become possessed with the idea that she is having a good time and look as though she were, the psychological effect is astonishing…”

I can see Dr. Ruth slapping down her tea cup in agreement. “Ms. Post, I’ve been saying the same exact things for years.” Then she might continue to talk about how she always says a woman has to take responsibility for own or—… well – suffice to say, she’s referring to her pinnacle of good time. So here we see how the two ladies are basically saying, it is up to the woman to make her own good time – in the ballroom and in the bedroom.

Add to that, Dr. Ruth’s, “When it comes to [the activity], the most important six inches are the ones between the ears.” Now with that, I think both ladies would agree full-heartedly.

Dr. Ruth continues her good advice, which I am sure Emily Post would second that, “Say to yourself, you know, I’m not going to be afraid of a little work, or a little challenge. I’m not going to take the easy way out.”

In a very similar strain, Ms. Post explains, “…for…success… especial talents are needed just as they are for art or sport or any other accomplishment,” and “do not drag through [the activity] as if you found [it] wearisome, it is an insult to your partner, but while you are cheerful and animated; be lady-like and dignified in your deportment.”

Dr. Ruth realizes that comparison is never a good thing and I think Emily Post would agree that such actions are not conducive to a good time for anyone.

Kaffeesiederball Vienna Palace

Kaffeesiederball Vienna Palace

So when engaging in the activity, “Don’t criticize…. Discuss constructively later” because “If you tell a partner about past [partners], he or she is automatically going to make comparisons with them. That’s not going to be helpful.”

As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango so Dr. Ruth advises and Ms. Post would not object that couples need to, “…be attuned to their partner, recognizing that he or she is sending a signal that should be respected.”

And Dr. Ruth would certainly not argue with Ms. Post’s 1922 words of wisdom that “. ..the old idea also has passed that measure a girl’s popular success by the number of trousered figures around her. It is quality, not quantity that counts.”

But I do worry a little, and it might explain Mr. Roarke’s initial show of concern that as the tequila drains, things could get a bit out of hand. Afterall, Roarke’s fantasies were not without peril and he always made it quite clear that he was powerless to stop a fantasy once it had begun. So the three of us are forced to play out our soirée to its conclusion.

So when Ms. Post sighs and explains that the “… gilded youth likes to [engage in the activity] when the impulse moves him; he also likes to be able to stay or leave when he pleases,” Dr. Ruth sees this as an open invitation to add her own two cents on the matter.

“Some things belong in the privacy of the bedroom,” Dr. Ruth will say. Ms. Post will be in the midst of a full on nod of agreement, when Dr. Ruth will add, “or living room or kitchen floor.”

How long will Ms. Post retain her perfectly balanced consummate grace? Particularly when Dr. Ruth starts talking about how the time has come for women to pay for young beautiful men (taxi dancers, anyone?) and asks, “Why should only rich men have young, beautiful women?”

But if I am any kind of judge of people based on their writing, tidbits like, some of the greatest belles ever known have been as stupid as sheep, but they have had happy dispositions and charming and un-self-conscious manners evidence Emily Post’s spunk. So when Dr. Ruth comes right out and claims, “Skiers make the best lovers because they don’t sit in front of a television like couch potatoes. They take a risk and they wiggle their behinds. They also meet new people on the ski lift.” I’m expecting Ms. Post, her words no longer so measured, might just answer, “But my good Dr. Ruth, you obviously never met a dancer. They not only wiggle their own behind but force you to wiggle yours as well.”

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Delve into further Reading:

Post, Emily. Etiquette; New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1922. Print. – available online via the Gutenberg Project under: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14314/14314-h/14314-h.htm

Dr. Ruth Interview in Esquire, January 2011 “meaning of Life” issue available online under http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/meaning-of-life-2011/dr-ruth-quotes-0111

Dr. Ruth’s Website

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Taxitänzer (Taxi Dancer) – Rent a Man …to Dance

Wives are people who feel that they don’t dance enough. ~Groucho Marx

Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can’t talk and dance at the same time. ~Ginger Rogers

Coat and Tails are just rigt for a ball at the Imperial Palace

Coat and Tails are just rigt for a ball at the Imperial Palace, here at the House of Gentlemen on Vienna’s Kohlmarkt in the 1st district

Cinderella is proof that finding the right man to take you to the ball can change your life. Or maybe just finding the right shoes.

But let’s face it, not even the finest shoes can outshine a couple on the dance floor who knows their moves. Or are having fun faking it.

Last year at Kaffeesiederball, I met – dare I admit — a fellow American who boasted about the amount of balls he had attended that season (note to fellow Americans – all Austrians are required by the State to master two skills in their lifetimes – skiing and waltzing). This American Ball King rattled off some impressive number that amounted to a ball every single weekend. I could hardly wait to see him twirl. An American guy who can waltz – finally!

Well…

Fortunately, what he lacked in talent, he definitely made up for in enthusiasm. His smile shone so brightly that he practically managed to blind all present to his two very left feet. (ever see the completely bizarre film, The World’s End? Kinda blinding like that).  Mark Twain once said, “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching.” This guy loved to dance like no one was hurting.

So even if you don’t know how to 1-2-3, 1-2-3 you can still have a great time with a partner with the right attitude. But let’s say you don’t have a partner or you really love to dance without getting stepped on the whole night.

Ball Attire for the guy

Ball attire for the man

Who you gonna call?

Taxitänzer!

Your own personal John Travolta, Patrick Swayze or Richard Gere on your fab five cell list. The kind of guys who want to spend their weekends dancing to forget about the reality of their everyday lives or their dead-end jobs. Or maybe the kind of guys who just like to dance. And actually know how.

Yep, money will buy you anything.

Even a man with good manners who loves to dance. And the bonus is that he won’t tell you that dress makes you look fat and definitely won’t complain about your mother or talk about his (unless, maybe you pay him to do so).

Garden Gnome from the other side of the fence

Met this rogue garden gnome at a ball but I don’t think he was for rent (but you never know!)

And how much will you have to dish out? Over an agency – about 40 – 50 € an hour plus drinks and if booking for a ball, the cost for the ball ticket. Keep in mind that a chunk of his hourly pay is going to the agency. Privately, people will charge about 15 – 20 € per hour.

True, this can add up. Tickets to the Kaffeesiederball cost 125 € a person. You arrive at the ball at 8 pm and leave at 5 am – that’s 9 hours. If you are dishing out 15 – 50 € per hour, your total by the end of the night will be somewhere between 135 –  450 €. For argument’s sake, let’s take the median and say 292 €. So to have a guy who can dance at you side for an entire evening at the Kaffeesiederball, you’re realistically looking at a bill of around 417 € plus drinks! (and maybe even a tip – I don’t know the tipping etiquette with Taxitänzer). At the current exchange rate of 1 € = US $1.37, that adds up to a whopping US $ 570. Just to have him along! We’re not even adding in your own expenses yet!

Wow!

Holy cha cha, Batman! Where’s the hope of a dancing girl now?!

White Dancing Gloves

White Dancing Gloves

I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish, I wish tonight.

I wish for a man who looks across the table, rises from his chair, bows, offers his hand and asks, “May I?” (Darf ich bitten?)

Guilt, Cinderella, can be alleviated by playing with the numbers – look at it as a once annual cost rather than a one night cost. So $ US 570 is really only US $47.50 a month, US $ 9.75/week or just a mere US $ 1.57/day (less than the price of that Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino you promised to give up at New Year’s and he’ll be helping you burn the calories in the process, not make them).

And these Dancing Darlings aren’t just rentable for balls – their available for all kinds of dancing functions. In fact, some of the agencies’ best customers are retirement home residents.

But hands off, Grandma! Hitting on taxi dancers is strictly VERBOTEN!

I do everything the man does, only backwards and in high heels! – Ginger Rogers

And about the shoes –truth is a perfect night of dancing requires the right man and the right shoes. So go in heels and slip a pair of flats in your bag. By midnight, after all the photos have been taken and the guys are removing their jackets, you can perform your own version of the old bait and switch. At 5 am when you’re still smiling and ready to fiaker on over to Café Landtmann for some breakfast and continued fun, your date –whether he’s on the clock or not — will be grateful to be spending time with a woman who knows how to look good without letting it get in her way of having a great time.

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Two Agencies in Vienna

Agency: “Original Taxi-Dancer”, (http://www.taxi-dancer.at/) founded in 1989.

Party Dancer: http://www.partydancer.at/tanzbegleitung.php

Read more here:

Article from the Austrian newspaper, die Presse, about Taxi Dancers: http://diepresse.com/home/panorama/oesterreich/483480/Taxitaenzer_Tanzpartner-fur-40-Euro

See my last two blog posts on Vienna and its Balls:

Vienna Ball Calendar 2014

Time to Have a Ball

What Every Girl Must Learn: Advice for Balls and Sex

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Time to Have a Ball – Vienna, World Capital of Balls – Ball 101

We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind, because your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance, Well they’re no friends of mine.
– Men at Work, You Can Dance If You Want to

No matter what you like – boogie, techno, brass bands, coffee, flowers, real estate, Mozart, whips, chains and leather – there is a ball for you.

Remember prom? You in a floor-length gown, him in a tux at the Marriott “Grand Ball Room” with its patterned carpets and stackable chairs. The room made to look upscale by helium-filled metallic balloons and some pink carnations. A DJ played music upon request over a sound system meant for a room 10 times the size. During the slow dances you resembled a weeble wobble zombie who won’t fall down and during the not-so-slow dances part of a larger group of teens experiencing some kind of body-contorting seizure. Ahh the good old days. The prom.

A Vienna Ball is nothing like your prom. Nothing. Except maybe the gown and the tux. But beyond that, nothing at all.

No, a Vienna Ball is a thousand times better and should definitely be one your bucket list and I am going to help you with some little Ball 101.

Background
The Vienna ball season takes place during the carnival and is usually launched New Year’s Eve with the Imperial Ball http://www.legrandbal.at/ at the Imperial Palace.  Over 400 balls take place in the city during this time with over 300,000 guests. Balls are sponsored by occupational groups, trade unions, universities, interest groups — if you’ve got an interest, Vienna’s got the ball. And ball wear can vary from traditional gowns and tuxes to Austrian Dirndl dresses and Lederhosen to funky new wave what-would-you-call-what-is-covering-your-essentials. In the 1800s, Emperor Josef II began hosting dance events in the Redouten Halls of the Grand Imperial Palace. On a Carnival Monday on March 3, 1783, Mozart performed Masquerade in the Vienna Redouten Hall. On April 27, 1854, Johann Strauss directed the grand Court Ball in the Redouten Halls to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef’s wedding with the Bavarian Princess Elisabeth (Empress“Sissy”).

Me and my friend at the Lifeball 2014

Me and my crazy Philly buddy at the Lifeball 2014

BALL 101 — QUICK FACTS TO HELP YOU OUT

Not Having a Man is No Excuse
Don’t have a man? Get one here: Taxi Dancer – Rent a Man … to Dance – Check out my post entitled Taxitänzer (Taxi Dancer) – Rent a Man…To Dance.

What to Wear
Don’t wait for the fairy godmother to show up and wave her magic wand. You need to go in style and this Ball Guide should help with the basics> Vienna Unwrapped’s List of Evening Dress Shops in Vienna

Hallway at Kaffeesiederball during Midnight Show

Hallway at Kaffeesiederball during Midnight Show

The Ball Opening
The honored guests parade into the ballroom and are seated. Next come the debutants who are dressed in long white gowns, long white gloves and crowns. They are accompanied by their “cavaliers” who are handsome young men also wearing white gloves and coat and tails. As they enter the ball room, typically Fächer-Polonaise from Carl Michael Ziehrer plays. Here is the Vienna Business Ball Opening from 2012

How do you know it’s time for everyone to dance?
After the debutantes and their partners do their little numbers, the master of ceremony declares the infamous words, “Alles Walzer” (Everything Waltzes) and all the guests flood out onto the dance floor and dance.

You can dance if you want to, but if you can’t, don’t let that stop you.
Just because you have two left feet, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t enjoy attending a ball in Vienna. In 2010, a survey conducted by the Vienna Economic Chamber asked ball guests why they liked to attend the Vienna balls. Dancing didn’t make the top three reasons. Instead, they said they liked to go because they wanted to:

Kaffeesiederball Vienna Imperial Palace

Kaffeesiederball Vienna Imperial Palace

1)      spend a nice evening with their partners
2)      enjoy the flair
3)      meet up with friends

At midnight, don’t run home unless you’re Cinderella
Midnight at the Ball is usually what they call the “Mitternachtseinlage” which is a break in the normal ball event for a special performance in the main ball room by featured guests and should be a surprise treat for the guests.

Ladies always get to take home a gift (and I don’t mean the dance partner)
Damenspende: a gift for each of the ladies as she enters the ball (or goes home)

The Invitation
How do you ask the lady to dance? “Darf ich bitten?” And if you are at a table with a group of people you know, be sure to ask every lady to dance by the end of the evening if you want your manners to keep stride with your tuxedo appearance.

Who knew?
Gentlemen who wear a coat and tails are not supposed to wear a wrist watch (tsk! tsk!) but rather a pocket watch on a gold chain.  As if anyone nowadays is wearing a watch anyway. Maybe you can get a pocket watch app and be trendy or a gold chain for your I-Phone.

Raffle Goodies at Kaffeesiederball

Raffle Goodies at Kaffeesiederball

Raffle Tickets / Tombola
Raffle tickets are usually sold at balls and sell out quickly so if you see a long line forming that isn’t for the restrooms, elbow your way in and buy some tickets. At many of the balls, every ticket will win you something or another.

How do you know it’s time to go home?
The Viennese have a subtle way to indicate it’s been fun but now it’s time to hit the road– the song that means “scram go home now” is “Brüderlein fein” from Ferdinand Raimund (1826) and is typically the very last song of the ball. I am adding it here so you recognize it and don’t embarrass yourself by requesting an encore once it’s played — “Brüderlein fein” with Hans Moser and Renate Holm.

What every Girl Must Learn
Check out my post on what balls and sex have in common with some advice from Dr. Ruth and Emily Post: What every Girl Must Learn: Advice for Balls and Sex.

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Little brother so fine, little brother so fine
don’t be upset with me
little brother so fine, little brother so fine,
don’t be upset with me
even when the sun is still shining so beautifully
she has to go down sometime.
Little brother so fine, little brother so fine,
don’t have to be sad
Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt mir ja nicht böse sein;
Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt nicht böse sein.
Scheint die Sonne noch so schön,
Einmal muß sie untergehn.
Brüderlein fein, Brüderlein fein,
Mußt nicht traurig sein.

For a comprehensive list of the 2014 Balls in Vienna so you can plan which ones you should be attending, see my next post: 2014 Vienna Ball Calendar. Print This Post

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