Friday, July 13, 2007

The Jolly Polka

I have to admit, faculty appreciation dinners are why I got into this biz in the first place. They combine several of my favorite things:

A) Getting dressed up. I am shameless in my love for putting on a dress and high heels. A lot of women pretend to hate wearing dresses and feign a love for the "natural" look. In my opinion, these women are either freaks or liars. Getting dressed up and leaving the house sans kids is the bomb.
B) Awesomely delish food--buffet style. One time Mike and I went to an all-faculty dinner at BYU Idaho. They served lobster AND prime rib! It was my first taste of the sweet life of a full time faculty wife. I just kept going back for more.
C) Sitting at a big round table, picking out people to mock later on. And believe you me, in the humanities, there is a smorgasbord of people to choose from.

So I was really excited to go to the faculty appreciation dinner at BYU last week. I planned my outfit (a pink babydoll dress with metallic heels) and was ready to eat something spectacular. I was prepared for the usual glitz and glamour that is synonymous with the Wilkinson Center, particularly room 3228. So classy. What I was UNprepared for, however, was the entertainment. Or should I say "ethnic entertainment," which was what they called it. The entertainment consisted of three dances done by the same man, but with two different partners. Because these dances were from different countries in South America, the man--let's call him Julio--had to run out of the room and completely change his clothes for each new number. This created some awkward moments, during which people tried to fill the empty space with bad jokes involving camels going into bars. The best, though, was the woman who danced the Paraguay Polka. While she waited for Julio to change clothes, she began to explain the dance:

"the Paraguay Polka is a jolly polka. I guess that's why I love it so much. I mean, there's the Russian polka, which some might argue is equally jolly, but it's very different from the Paraguay polka. For one thing, the Paraguay polka is danced without shoes. People don't have shoes in Paraguay, because they are poor. But dancing the jolly polka makes them happy so they don't need shoes..."

At this point, I was getting uncomfortable. This woman's attempts to keep us entertained while Julio changed his clothes were too much for me. My eyes boring a hole through the door of Wilk 3228, I was trying to will Julio back into the room. "Come back, Julio...PLEASE Julio! For the love of PETE, Julio, come BACK!" I tried not to make eye contact with Mike, because I was so afraid I would start to laugh. He noticed my discomfort, and whispered "you need to relax" in my ear. It didn't help that we inadvertently sat at the Big Important table where the deans or department chairs or whoever sat. How would it look to them if I were laughing at their carefully chosen "ethnic entertainment"?

Several "jolly polkas" later, Julio came bursting through the door, panting and sweating from all his hard work. The music started, and--I'll be darned--the Paraguay polka really is jolly. There's just no other word to describe it!


  1. That ethnic entertainment sounds awesome. Last week I had a little of my own. The elders in our ward (who live in our bldg) were out on the back porch practicing a Hawaiin dance. Neil and I quickly turned off all the lights so they couldn't see us and got a good show. Maybe they need to team up with Julio.

  2. I wish they had faculty appreciation dinners at my school.

  3. I guess "jolly" is the new grunge.

  4. Delurking to say:
    That was hilarious! and Oh, how I miss 3228! LOL!

  5. Katieo--your comment has given me hope that there are still some people out there reading my blog. Thank you. I may hang on a little longer.

  6. Enough with the Polka, tell me more about the food and dinner conversation. Was it stilted? Head dignitary table and all. By the way I love Polka music and the accordian. It is HAPPY music. Or maybe I've been mistaken all these years and it really is JOLLY music?