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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Bare Swan

My wife is a cultured sort. She’s into the opera, the arts, and has a season pass to a local classical music series.

(I go with her to the last one — sometimes. For me, it depends on who’s playing. I like Beethoven and Bach and Mozart well enough, but Haydn can suck a harpsichord.

These are not distinctions I ever thought I’d have to make. The closest I ever got to classical music pre-marriage was Camper van Beethoven. Who still kick ass. Maybe Haydn could learn a thing or two from them.)

I’m happy to tag along for the occasional Carmen or painting gawk — where ‘happy to’ means ‘accumulating points for‘, of course — but I tend to draw the line at one of her other periodic artsy interests: the ballet.

Oh, I’ve been to ballets. We were dating once, back in the Cenozoic Era, and I did all sorts of nonsense to crawl into her good graces. And into other things, maybe, that we’re not allowed to discuss here.

(She’s been to law school. And she might read this. So shush.)

“Opera’s usually in another language, but it has subtitles to read. Some of the classical music is familiar, at least. Ballet is a bunch of springy beanpoles flitting around and calling it a ‘story’.”

So I’ve seen the Nutcracker (oh, how I’ve seen the Nutcracker), Swan Lake and maybe one or two others. And that’s just plenty, thanks. Quota filled, boxes ticked, strap me down and Haydn me to tears if you must, but if there’s any love left in you for me, then please don’t send me to the ballet. Call me uncivilized, but I just don’t get it.

(Really, I don’t. Opera’s usually in another language, but it has subtitles to read. Some of the classical music is familiar, at least. Ballet is a bunch of springy beanpoles flitting around and calling it a ‘story’. Honestly, I think I’ve gotten out of most of them because when I do go, I have to ask what the hell is happening the whole time:

Me: Why are those two tippy-toeing all around each other like that?

Wife: They’re in love. Shhhh.

Me: Oh. … Wait, so why is he shaking his junk at that other guy?

Wife: He’s not shaking– lord. They’re fighting over the girl. Now hush.

Me: Sorry. … Hey, what about that guy in the back? Is he going to fight, too?

Wife: Which… oh. He, uh, apparently has an itch. Don’t look at him.

Me: See, now how am I supposed to know that?

Wife: Shhhhh!

Honest curiosity or willful ignorance? I’ll never tell.)

The missus has pretty well given up on me attending the ballet with her — she has a handful of culture-seeking lady friends who are always happy to sip a chardonnay and watch the plum-smugglers dance — but every once in a while, she gives it another shot. Like this weekend, when she had two tickets to a Saturday night performance. And the enticement, the carrot to try luring me back to a sworn-off art form?

Boobs.

I’ll give her credit. The girl knows me.

Apparently, in the current Boston Ballet show, there’s some sort of topless female scene. So my wife’s pitch this week for the ballet was:

There’s gonna be niiiiiip-ples!

(It’s interesting, actually, to see the way the show is advertised in various places. In the link above, or in the Boston Dig, say, said nipplature is clearly prominent. Also, it appears that they keep it pretty chilly on stage. I’m just saying.

But in billboards and on buses around town — and even in their own trailer for the show, those bare breast points have been softened down. Airbrushed away. Denipped in the bud. One husband’s ‘enticement’ is someone else’s ‘scandalous exposure’, I suppose.)

Bare boobs or no, I stayed strong. I said:

Honey, thank you for the offer. But you go — take your friend, have a nice dinner, drink some wine, see the show. Please. Enjoy your nipples together.

(I mean, seriously. I have the internet. If I wanted to see nipples on a Saturday night, I’d just have to type the word into a search bar.

I’m not saying I did that. I’m just saying, I could. And I wouldn’t have to sit through two hours of inscrutable prancing to make it happen.)

So she went to her performance, reported that it was lovely — with very tasteful nipples, erect presumably with artistic integrity — and I wriggled my way out of another ballet.

Which will probably cost me a Haydn-heavy concert somewhere down the road. And that’s unfortunate. But I’m looking on the bright side — maybe they’ll play it topless, too. I wouldn’t see much from our seats — and I might not stay awake through the whole show — but it’d certainly be a change of pace. Maybe we can learn a little something from this ‘ballet’ thing, after all.

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