Last fall during a local Harvest Festival I won a free pedicure at a local salon. Soon after the event the weather turned to sock season so I've been hanging on to the certificate for just the right moment.
Day after tomorrow I'm going to Florida for a few days so yesterday I went for my pedi. Got a manicure too, why not. So while the woman was doing her thing for the pedi, my phone rang. It was a good friend and regular reader of the blog and we had our usual inappropriate giggling banter, including a cleverly snide comment from her about the name of the color of the polish I chose. I won't publish the name here, but I will say that it did have the word "opera" in the title. I ended up telling the technician of course which led to a whole... well I don't want to call it a lecture, so ... let's call it, an information session about opera. And because she was trapped there at my feet, literally, plus I was a paying customer (for the manicure) she had no choice but to listen, including when I pulled out the iPhone and played the mad scene from Lucia so she could hear the glass harmonica, and then Juan Diego singing the impressive fast bit at the end of Cessa in Barbiere. By then it was time to move to the manicure room, where it was too noisy to hear anything else, so she had to be satisfied with simply seeing a picture of Nathan Gunn (poor girl, somehow she survived) and listening to me describe his voice. She promised to look him up on YouTube. Of course she promised... I hadn't left a tip yet. I kept punctuating everything with, "Opera is not snooty! The tickets are just expensive unless you sit in the nosebleed section," and I gave her the "You know more opera than you think" speech, complete with little snippets of popular pieces. I told her about being a super, crawling on the stage, etc. She seemed genuinely interested. After all, the operas need hair and makeup people, right? We talked about that, and about how to make buns with thick hair, and how to make pin curls, etc. She didn't seem put off by the opera talk at all, which of course means she's good at what she does.
It's a shame that some people have this attitude toward opera that, when they hear that you like it, attend it, participate in it or study it, it affects their attitude towards you as a person. I recently had an unfortunate experience with a local moms' club of which I am a member. I had met some nice women, had lots of fun and thought I had made a few good friends. But then this opera stuff, they bring it up and are mean about it, because it's "weird." I didn't go in announcing my love of opera, blah blah blah. It just comes up, especially when I'm in an opera as a super. Traveling to Chicago last year might have been the starting point of the weirdness, now that I think about it. One incident that stands out in particular was in the middle of the summer. The moms group had a mani/pedi party at a local salon. It was in between Traviata performances so I was looking for a neutral nail polish color that wouldn't be seen from the audience. I wasn't announcing it to everyone, it just came up when a few of us were looking at the selection. One of the women said sarcastically, "Gee Susan, it's not a big deal. No one is looking at your NAILS!" Well yeah, duh, and we don't want them to be. Little comments, little digs like that came from the same few women until I really felt a bit like I was in the 7th grade. Then they started excluding a few of us from events by forming another online group and making arrangements there, but of course we weirdos found out, blah blah blah. All sorts of female passive-aggressive popular girl nonsense that I don't have time for. So what's my point? My point is, these people ostracized me (and a few others, women who I genuinely like because they are interesting, smart and different) because I/we didn't fit into their mold of what a mother/wife/regular person should be. And at the same time that they were telling me that they didn't like me because of who I was (and one of them did send me a rather mean email about it!) my true friends were spontaneously telling me that they liked me because of who I was. It was quite the interesting situation. I miss the fun social stuff I did with that group of women, but don't make me choose between opera and what you consider "normal," because I'll choose opera over normal any day. So to my true friends who read my blog, you're all a bunch of weirdos and I love you all.