Happy Birthday Marines.

Sometimes (and by “sometimes” I mean always) my life is weird. I like it; I get to go to weird and fun places and meet talented people and do cool things. This past weekend I went to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball with a complete stranger. I’d cross it off my bucket list, but I don’t know whether that qualifies as “be spontaneous” or “lose your mind.” I knew this would end up in the blog, so I’ll give you some background about what I initially thought. First, I creeped on Facebook.

  • First flag: profile picture has some ponytailed man in the forefront of a nascar scene. I am of course trying to be positive though, so I give him the benefit of the doubt and convince myself that he’s just cleverly ironic.
  • And let me just say that after seeing “Music Interests: Nickleback, George Straight, and 3 Doors Down” I wasn’t feeling very confident in my assumption about his cleverness; instead I was slightly abashed. However, since “ACDC and Jack Johnson” were on the list too, I reminded myself that my favorite mix cd has Michael Jackson, The Kooks, Jack Johnson, and Fleetwood Mac on it, and most people who see my itunes collection think I’m schizophrenic, so maybe I shouldn’t judge too soon.
  • Although, by the time I got to “Television interests” and saw: “Baseball Tonight, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The First 48, Fox News, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” I was no longer physically able to suppress the groan that burst forth from the depths of my despair (that’s right, despair can groan now).

**I also resent the statement that I was being equally unappealing by creeping on his Facebook profile, and the fact that our lack of connections prevented me from even seeing an actual picture of his face will not, I repeat NOT legitimize that assertion at all.

Fast forward to the trip down to old FL. From the moment that I woke Clara up with my original “wake up Clara I think I got something to say to yooooouuuu” song, I knew that it was going to be a good day. If you follow me on The Twitter you will recall that I tweeted “is it weird that I relish awkward situations for the creative writing opportunities they bring me?” and I meant it. Of course the writer within me was secretly rejoicing because she knew that this event had the potential to be quite the amusing blog post, so for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to try and squeeze my journal into a clutch. Just so we’re all on the same page that would have looked a lot like trying to force a grown cat into a fanny pack. Thus was forced to consider resorting to my “handy dandy” notebook (I say this because it, like Steve’s from blue’s clues, would also have fit into my pocket); the risk here, however, lay in the fact that using this notebook would have kind of created a strong resemblance between me and Daffy Duck as Dick Tracey. Looking back, I probably should’ve cared but I didn’t; at the time I was actually desirous of encountering the weirdest people and things so that I could relay them to you, purely for your enjoyment; you are welcome.

Back to the trip though! I do love a road trip, so it wasn’t torture or anything, and Clara (whose blog I would link to here if she wasn’t so reticent and sly) did inspire confidence with words like, “this is already so ridiculous ” and “i’m not even really sure where we’re going.” And several near death driving incidences and 3 Glee soundtracks later, we were there.

Fortunately for me, Andy (Clara’s friend and date for the Ball) was really funny and amused by the whole thing as well which both made me feel less crazy while doubting my sanity all the more. We watched some football and chatted for a while and then of course my surprise entertainment for the night comes into the hall to say hello as I am in the bathroom. Now I don’t want to be crass here, but I think you need to know this to understand my mortification. I had drank a substantial amount of coffee that morning and water that afternoon and my bladder just isn’t that big, so there I was in the bathroom while everyone outside the door is all “hey, I’m so and so; nice to meet you…Jenna’s in there.” sighhhhh. Of course. Of course I was. So there’s an awkward “hey, what’s up” and all four of us standing in the hallway by the bathroom before we realize this is dumb and everyone slinks away to whichever football game is still on the TV.

At some point we decided it might be a good idea to get ready, and the regret crept in. Now I remember going to formal things in high school-you know, back in the day- and getting ready was the big to-do, but even by jr/sr my senior year I had arrived at the point where brushing my hair was getting all dolled up, so 5ish years later it’s hard to imagine being enthusiastic about taming my bird’s nest for someone I didn’t even know. So here’s what had happened; I had showered that morning, and then (as if that weren’t enough) I curled my hair. Furthermore, I curled it using the most minuscule of mirrors and I didn’t catch anything on fire. Maybe, I thought, just maybe this was a good omen. And yet, there I was, a cardigan and Toms wearing girl now with eyeliner and a crazy elegant dress on (although, I totally thought it was a brilliant idea to wear my black glitter Toms with the dress because, well, I needed something to keep me from feeling completely fake and ridiculous…). So much for good omens, I kind of wanted to throw up.

they blend well, right?
Dear Marine Ball Jenna, you were a hot mess of crazy. Love, Everyday Jenna

And we were off.
Immediately my mind started racing as I wondered how on earth I was supposed to get my recording device iPod (WHY DIDN’T I BRING A RECORDER?!?!) out before I forgot all the glorious material that was being presented to me. Texting during this time would have been absolutely the most rude thing to do and I couldn’t work out a way to document things while the iPod was in the clutch or in my lap without it looking like texting, so I decided the best option was to claim that I had a bladder condition so that I could frequent the bathroom at dinner and safely take notes. (I considered IBS at first because that would certainly give me more time, but as it was kind of intense and a little gross, I felt it would serve best as a last resort) I did not do any of this however, so let me just tell you how it went down. There were 2 other couples at dinner then Andy/Clara and me and the boy. The other people said, “so, how do you know each other” (why? i knew it was inevitable, but why?) and Andy said, “well I met Clara over the summer, and Jenna is someone we picked up on the side of the road her friend.” I don’t know what the other people thought of me at that point, but I know what I would have thought of me and that thought alone made me blush. I don’t know why, but I have this weird embarrassment thing and it always triggers my blushing mechanism; I wasn’t embarrassed myself, I absolutely do not take myself seriously enough for all that, but I was embarrassed for the hypothetical person in my place. Fortunately, at this point I realized the boy and I would be friends because he said, “oh we go wayyyy back; I mean it’s been like what? At least 30minutes; we are bffs 4eva.” PTL for the bond of sarcasm and irony. And that’s pretty much how dinner went, way funny and good food. Which leaves only the actual Ball.

Here is where I wondered what I was doing with my life. When we started mixing and mingling I realized I was the only non-pregnant girl wearing flats, and I was certainly the only one wearing Toms. Look, some people perform their civic responsibility by becoming a Marine, some people buy shoes (if you just said, “who are you?!” you were not the only one). We got a pretty awesome history lesson and saw lots of historical things (the Ball was in an awesome aviation museum) and then something happened, the worst sort of thing, something I should’ve seen coming but didn’t.

There was dancing. I’m surprised I even survived to write about it because I think the SBC is about the equivalent of the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter. Just like the MoM knows when and where you’ve done magic, the Convention knows when you’ve danced. After that first step onto the floor someone had very purposely ordained for dancing, sirens started going off somewhere in the Bible Belt, and I was a marked woman. However, to my surprise and chagrin, nothing extreme happened, and I was forced to participate. At first, I felt a lot like i was in Dorothy Parker’s “The Waltz” but without quite as much animosity and pain. Apparently, it’s a Marine thing to twirl; I’m not sure if they teach it in basic or what, but looking around, all you could see was twirly mctwirlysons everywhere. There are two things wrong with that: 1. I have bad depth perception. 2. I get motion-sick. hey vertigo heyyy. Luckily, my date didn’t care about dance-dancing all that much either, so I got by the least amount possible, and the majority of my time was spent belting out tunes like a crazy (the band was super amazing and heavy on the 80s and solid oldies) while sticking with what I do best, which is karate-chopping like a champ and imitating John Travolta circa Saturday Night Fever (I would say the two safest and most acceptable forms of dance for silly baptist-raised white girl). The funny part in all of that is that looking back I’m not even really sure where he was most of the time. There was this whole awkward, maybe I should care where you went and tell you when I’m going to wander away and dance with whoever is standing near me, but maybe I should just be all nonchalant because neither of us really cares all that much either way, thing going on. I was trying not to be rude, but I mean I kind of kept forgetting his name (he kind of looks like Spencer Pratt and once I realized that, it was over–the result of being way too good at the word association game) and I was the one who only knew 3 people out of the 1,000 that were there. Pretty sure I had license to do what I want.

hey girls heyyy.

Overall, it was a pretty fun night, and certainly an experience I will put on the list of things I never intended to do, but had fun doing. But let’s just go ahead and acknowledge it, there’s a reason matches are made in heaven and not at the Marine Ball.

that’s us…being dumb, minus the date who was serious.


6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Marines.”

  1. I mean, at least somebody has interesting stories to tell people!

    Can I have you in my life for 4.3 seconds? Because I’m sure if I could, there would be amazingly ridiculous things like this happening all of the time.

    Just think about it. And let me know.

  2. I want everyone to know that I am responsible for this glorious event in Jenna’s life. This really is a nugget of gold. It was such a wonderfully weird night and I’m sooo glad you went with me! Lurves

  3. A) I love you
    B) Even though Baptist do not mean about dancing, I think we have done our fair share of late night dance parties that would have marked you long before this, so I think you’re ok.

  4. Clearly, I have failed you as I never meant for you to have such an adversion to dancing and really do not know where it came from… at least you were prepared for the obviously rocking music. What’s that you say… ah – Your welcome.

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