Olathe & Southwest Joco

Bringing in 2019 was a ball, no matter how uncomfortable

I’ve recently pondered one of life’s big questions: Why haven’t I have, in last half century, attended a masquerade ball?

I’m creative and theatrical. I’ve won many a costume party title in my days. In fact, I even celebrated the University of Kansas’ Final Four championship win in 1988, sporting a Victorian full-length, corseted gown.

As any KU girl knows, when you win the big game, you must celebrate as you are. I just happened to be in the middle of dress rehearsal for the college’s musical of “Carousel,” and didn’t care to change into street clothes before running out to join the cheering campus.

So this New Year’s Eve, I tried something new and attended my first masked gala. This party was to celebrate and raise money for the children’s theater my daughters are involved with. Formal masquerade ball attire was required.

This also happened to be my girls’ first black tie affair. So we went all-out la-dee-da-fancy.

Where do you find amazing masquerade masks, you ask? A craft store. Any reason for me to meander down those aisles of perfection, bursting with potential creativity, is always the decision. It’s every good crafter’s wheelhouse and those masks weren’t going to make themselves. Plus, it would be a great craft project for my girls and me.

After decorating our masks with sequins, feathers and jewels, I wrangled up some ball gowns for my children and purchased my husband a matching bow tie and pocket square set, knowing full well he would refuse to wear it.

Back home I headed to my closet with imagined, haunting sounds of bagpipes resonating in my head. I had been to a formal event 10 years before so I had a lovely full-length black velour gown, which was tastefully bedazzled in all the right places.

Was this stunner going to still fit? And more importantly, could I even find a pair of Spanx in my closet that could squeeze me into the dress?

For those of you who have never been blessed to wrangle your fatty areas into a corset of hell, let me share: It ain’t fun. It’s like making homemade sausage.

You have this flimsy casing in which you have to forcefully shove in the middle filling, while pinching the top and bottom, and still be able to move around without the contents spilling out. Word of advice: this sweaty workout should never be performed in front of your spouse.

All gussied and masked up, my beautiful family headed to a banquet hall in downtown Kansas City. The space was lovely, perfectly decorated and the other theater families did not disappoint. Ball gowns, and sequins galore — oh, my!

After much celebration, dancing and an impressive balloon drop, we had properly said goodbye to 2018.

As soon as I got home, I quickly exited to my closet to kick off my heels and roll the Lycra off my skin. After hours of solitary confinement by extreme tummy tucking, my abdomen was blanched from the modern corset of strangulation.

Then it hit me. I’m pretty sure the reason I never attended a masquerade ball before was I knew corsets were torture devices. There’s probably a group of retired female scientists in Scottsdale researching how most flab cinchers proportionally decrease the wearer’s fun by 30 percent.

Luckily, our gala was a huge success. I can check masquerade galas off my bucket list and go back to bringing in 2020 in my jammies and ruby slippers.

Ah, there’s no place like home with loose waistbands.

Stacey Hatton can be reached at laughingwithkids@yahoo.com.