The Gateway to Being a Lady

14 May

I have  recently turned eighteen and prior to my birthday people keep asking me if I was going to throw a formal party. They told me that it was an important part of life because you are eighteen only once and it will serve as the go signal that you are a lady and ready to be courted. For some reason I still don’t get the whole transformation from being immature to mature at eighteen. I mean, you are still a teen then right?  Why not just have a party when you’re twenty or twenty-one?

Last May 4, I attended my friend’s debut. I enjoyed that party. Not because of the program though, but because of the people I was with. One thing I notice about parties like this is that no one really pays attention to the whole program prepared. I believe that I got lucky to sit at the table that was situated at the back of the room. I actually wanted that. I knew that once the program started we all have to be glued to the stage since the debutante was there. But being at the other end of the room gave me and my friends the liberty to talk and mingle while the program was running. Even though I had friends seated at the front of the room, I really did not care. By the way I look at them, I’d say that they were not as free as those of us seated at the back. They had to listen and pay attention to the whole program because they know that it would be disrespectful to the debutante.

During the first few hours off the party, I notice people looking around for those that they knew. It was kind of uncomfortable though, observing other people. It was not noisy and the people were not mumbling with those at their table at first. As the minutes pass, the people start to pay less attention to the program and more attention to what their peers are saying. I know that it is disrespectful, but the people get bored with the program because they do not want to just sit quietly and look at the things happening on stage. I personally think that this has something to do with the people’s perception of the term party. Let us face it, we really do not want things that will tie us down because we will feel somehow limited by it. The same goes with the program, we feel that it somehow limits us by stating what we should be doing at this hour and what we should not do. It cages us somehow. And we loosely define party as an event where we can mingle with other people. In this case, we want to mingle with our high school friends. Another reason that we do not focus our attention to the program might have been our longing to catch up with friends that we no longer see or talk to. I notice that most of those in the party spent half on the program talking to the people they are with. They talk about different things. Most of the young people tend to talk about gossip while the older ones tend to talk more of their family life, careers and businesses.

It is kind of weird, and not to mention awkward, to see people be bored in a party. One of my friends commented that she would rather sleep than attend if she didn’t really love the debutante. I guess the fact that we stayed awake during the program is proof that we would do anything for the people that we love even if it meant sacrificing certain things. Either that or we just don’t want to humiliate the debutante by sleeping at her party. I am pretty sure this has something to do with the way Filipinos value the way people look at us. We do not want to be judged by other people with the way we do things that is why we are very limited with our movement in public.

The latter part of the party was kind of weird for me. Though I am a Christian, it is rare for me to attend “Christian parties,” since most of my friends’ families are not really Christian. I think the thought of incorporating religion in a social event, such as a debut, kind of catches people off guard. It is just very different. Towards the end of the party, the debutante’s father thanked those who came and celebrated with them. It was in a weird manner because he seemed to always mention how thankful he was to God for this party and how the party was also  an offering to God. This part was kind of off too because I can see how people don’t want to listen but they do anyway because it will be disrespectful if they don’t. I guess, this whole Christian party thing is not as bad as it seems if we look at how the debutante’s family looks at it, and me too, sort of. I think it is because we believe that in everything we do, God is inevitable. Maybe that is what makes it weird for other people who do not view things the way we do. But that’s just us…

Chrysse Manuel 114769


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