She chose one in particular from the pile – a black halter neck that cut low on my chest, high at the hips and sported a mesh cut out chevron through the middle. Three years ago I would have worn it to a class with my 60-year-old ballet mistress. Tonight I would wear it to a frat house with my 60 newest friends.
It seemed as though the ballet bun had come to my rescue. I threw my hair into a top knot for old time’s sake, sent my thanks to Balanchine and slid into the back of our group’s Uber.
Arriving at our destination, the mystique of said frat house quickly dissipated but a staunch pang of anxiety only arose in its place.
Here I was, on the way to losing my party virginity, but I had no idea how to do it. How low can one drop it without compromising technique? Was I moving my arms too much? Should I show teeth? Casual dancing was never in my repertoire and I had just unwillingly been thrust center stage.
But as my panic began to peak, the unimaginable happened: No matter how many fouettés she spots, how low she penchés forward, or how high she jetés across the floor, a ballerina’s bun never, ever, ever comes undone.
Nevertheless, as a stranger’s fist pumped near my head, his hand made contact and the bobby pins fell to the ground. Just three months after my last ballet class, the bun had officially fallen.
And maybe it was the fact my scalp had never experienced such great circulation or maybe it was the evening’s impressive mix list, but I had let the hair down and the steps just came along with it.
Photo by Alexis Tokarski