As I’m sure everybody is aware by now, I am incredibly classy. Therefore it will come as no surprise to anybody that I spent the first evening of the week kickin’ it with my friends in the royal box at the opening night of a new production by the Royal Ballet. My ticket sources must be kept top secret, because the secrets of my high-flying lifestyle (*cough*I won a competition*cough*) are all part of the mystique.
It began in classic ‘evening out with Nicola’ style. I was over keen – dragging myself and Fiancé to Covent Garden miles too early – and then pacing up and down outside the front door, snarling about how all of my friends are useless and never arrive anywhere on time. ‘On Time’ in my vocabulary meaning half an hour before the actual time we agreed on. But I was dressed for the ballet, so at least I was pacing and snarling stylishly.
I was pleasantly surprised when everybody arrived on time (which they pretty much always do – I don’t know why I have such a complex about punctuality) and the evening went off without a hitch. And now, as an experienced person, I present to you my newly-tested advice for how to behave at an incredibly posh event:
1) Realise immediately that if it’s a nice place you won’t be able to afford to eat, so find a restaurant nearby that sells £4.50 burgers and £4.50 cocktails in a rainbow of unnatural colours, and can have you in and out in 45 minutes. Not only will this mean you can finally untwist your knickers about being on time for the show, but you will achieve a record for completing the full ‘restaurant activity’ checklist. For the uninitiated, that’s basically a sly perve on at least three waiters, and being a bit mean about the people at tables around yours. Because you are classy.
2) Upon arrival at the ballet, saunter through the building to the royal box, flashing your tickets to every single person at every possible opportunity, while loudly complaining that you’d never be able to afford to pay £7 for a programme.
3) Stop dead in the corridor outside the door to the royal box in order to Instagram the sign on the door that says ‘royal box’. Yes, it is just a piece of paper that’s been jaggedly cut out and framed, but it’s also so much more than that. It is a way to declare your status to strangers on the internet and that cannot be undervalued.
4) Enter the royal box (smutty) and immediately demand that somebody take a photo of you doing a royal wave in the general direction of the serfs who had to pay for their tickets.
5) Get told off by your friends several times for not keeping your voice down when describing everybody in the stalls as ‘peasants’. Apparently it’s not so noisy in the auditorium that they can’t hear you. Feel surprised at the breadth of your own vocabulary – it turns out you know a lot of different ways of calling people poor.
6) After the first act of the ballet, leave a respectable gap after the applause stops and the lights come up (probably three seconds or so) before you say ‘well, I had no idea what was going on. Did you?’ Repeat after second and third acts. Other acceptable topics of conversation include ‘I can’t believe how muscly those women are, they look amazing’, ‘If I could get my leg up that high I’d be so much more popular’, and ‘Is that Angela Rippon?’.
You are so lucky to have me to guide you through these precarious social situations. Now, go forth and impress.