Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clearly, I don't have enough bling.

In the past 6 weeks I have been to a few big fundraisers, two of which stand out in all their contrast.  Suzanne Powers took me to the Great Ormond Street Hospital fundraiser when I was in London.  My new friend, Annie Oakley, took me to a Rodeo fundraiser last weekend.  Both events had a live and silent auction and about the same number of attendees.  That is pretty much where the similarity ends.

To start, it makes sense that a hospital has a fundraiser, even if it was for fancy beds that raise and lower at the heads and feet and have drop rails on the sides.  (The hospital is doing up a new children's ward and needs the "special" beds.  It wasn't that they had a fundraiser for such things, but that they clearly thought the beds fancy that caught my attention.  The special beds were standard hospital beds, albeit in fun kid colors. But I digress.)  The Rodeo has charitable fundraisers as well.  I've written previously on charitable opportunities appearing everywhere in the US.  (The tag "charity" has more.) The Rodeo is involved with many charities.

The hospital fundraiser was typically English. It was a Christmas choral concert in a stunning old church (does Europe have any other kind?), at which a Jewish girlfriend impressed me by belting out "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and at which most of the readings were secular Christmas themed poems and stories.  (I really must get around to writing the compare/contrast of UK and US Christianity.  The analysis is far more complicated that most people understand, but for this example, I can't imagine a non-church charity in the US having a Christmas carol concert to raise money--it would be a scandal, likely involving lawsuits--and I am quite certain that if a charity did have a carol concert, all of the readings would be religious.) After the music and readings, the smartly dressed attendees walked across the street to the hotel ballroom for a cocktail, read champagne, and canapĆ© reception, silent auction, and live auction.  In what I imagine is a newish innovation perhaps instigated by my American friend and charity committee member, there was a attended dining room/playroom set aside for children.  There were about a dozen silent auction items.  The live auctioneer was a treat, breaking up his speed talking with asides of typical British dry humor.  Altogether, it was a lovely evening.

The Rodeo function was...different.  It was at Dave and Busters.  We had the upstairs floor with the bowling lanes.  They move out the pool (billiards) tables every year to make room for the dining tables and dance floor. Gary P. Nunn donated 2 sets to entice people to come.  I walked in moments before he started his London Homesick Blues.  (I wish I could say that I planned that, but I really just got lucky.) Then there was the auction.  There were perhaps 100 lots in the silent auction, including this inspired set of redneck stemware.
The live auction included a cowhide antique settee.  The auctioneer was not as funny as the Brit, but I do think he was faster.  He certainly was louder.  One of the guests at our table had to leave for the speaker vibrations. Granted, we were at the front table as Annie, like Suzanne is on the committee, so the speakers were right above us.

For me, however, the previous differences were expected. The following was not.

I had asked Annie what I should wear, as I am out of practice with Texas social functions.  She said jeans and bling, "because it was dark in there." Is this why I have forgotten about bling, because bling in the Texas sunlight would blind the population?  Perhaps.  That and 5 years in London, I don't really have any bling anymore.  So I dressed in the perhaps British equivalent to casual bling: bright colors.  I wore a black leather skirt, non-cowboy boots (my Bush boots aren't ready yet), and a Ted Baker top, i.e. tailored with bright print.  Well, Ted Baker is not enough bling for the Rodeo--not even close.  Clearly, I need a rhinestone studded belt.  At the very least, I need to properly string the necklace of chunky turquoise that the children made for me a few years back. As I see it, big turquoise is the furthest one can get from rhinestone studded something and still fit in.  I was almost as out of place at this rodeo fundraiser as I was walking barefoot into Ascot, and that my friends, is saying something.  

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