Explain to me this Debutante Ball...

My aunts have persuaded me to apply to be in Cleveland’s Czech-Slovak Debutante Ball. Sounds interesting enough (I’m hip to being in touch with my Slovak roots) and I’m thinking about going for it.

While I’ve been on the catering end of a Debutante Ball, I never really had time to pay attention to exactly what the ball was. I always thought it was more of a upper class thing but some Googling has led me to believe it’s pretty common for ethnic groups to have them as well.

Here’s a few questions I have. If you have any other insight (like if you have been a part of one) I’d appreciate all the info I can get.

-I’m 23, the “cutoff” age. Will I feel kind of out of place? will most of the other girls be younger?

-What’s up with the date you bring? I recently started seeing someone new, would it be a major committment to ask him to be my escort (he’s not slovak)? Or, would it be weird to take my brother as my date instead?

-Who can you invite? Anyone?

-Since this is the “Czech-Slovak” ball, I’d imagine part of the application process might involve some sort of proof of my heritage. It wouldn’t be hard for them to figure out that i’m 3rd generation slovak-american, but i’m interested in what the “requirements” might be.

-My dad’s not 100% slovak (in fact our last name is German). Nor is he or anyone in my family really a major figure in the Sovak community. Might this hurt my chances of getting accepted? Do we need to be rich?

-Is there usually a set number of girls they accept? Is it a competition?

-What kind of work is involved other than showing up and looking pretty? Do I have to sell raffle tickets or do community service?

-What’s it like when you’re there? I know you get “presented” and have to dance…do I need to make a speech or anything?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

bump.

Your best bet’s probably to ask your aunts about it, or contact the organizers of the ball itself. If anyone can fill you in on the details, it’s the people who set the whole thing up.

Or maybe you can find someone in your area who’s done the ball before.

ZipperJJ, here is my experience based on my debutante ball, but ours was a regular one for charity, not an ethnic thing, so YMMV.

Will most of the other girls be younger? We were all 18-19 years old, per tradition.

What’s up with the date you bring? Almost all of us took our boyfriends as dates. It is a commitment, but it just depends on your relationship. If you haven’t been together long, I’d wait until later to ask someone. You could bring your brother, but who is going to present you? If not your dad, then it needs to be your brother, uncle, etc.

Who can you invite? Anyone? Sure, but we had to “donate” a certain amount ($1K per guest) for them to attend.

Since this is the “Czech-Slovak” ball, I’d imagine part of the application process might involve some sort of proof of my heritage. I’m sorry, I have no information regarding this.

My dad’s not 100% slovak (in fact our last name is German). Nor is he or anyone in my family really a major figure in the Sovak community. Might this hurt my chances of getting accepted? Do we need to be rich? It’s not really about applying and being accepted - you are invited.

Is there usually a set number of girls they accept? Is it a competition? Yes, the number of debutantes are limited - see above. In fact, most of my friends were not invited to participate.

What kind of work is involved other than showing up and looking pretty? Do I have to sell raffle tickets or do community service? We did a lot of community service, but that was something I already did, so it wasn’t a big deal.

What’s it like when you’re there? I know you get “presented” and have to dance…do I need to make a speech or anything? No speech, in fact, no speaking of any kind, but you usually have to do a special “bow” after you are presented, but don’t worry, you’ll start practicing that months beforehand. Professional pictures first, presentation, dancing, dinner served, dancing, more drinks, etc.

Any other questions, let me know.

I was not a “deb” but several of my friends were. It’s a kind of archaic practice dating from the times when a girl was presented as being eligible for marriage. In our town the girls were usually 16 or 17 and the prerequisite was that their Dads were prominent in the community. Your date was whomever you wanted but most likely was a son of another of the prominent members. After you were presented, you curtsied and then the debs all danced with their escorts while the rest of the crown watched. If you have been invited, I wouldn’t worry about providing pedigree papers. How many people are 100% anything in America these days? There is no competition, no set number of girls, no prerequisites. If you really want the detsails, I would suggest you ask the organizers. If you are embarassed to do that, have someone else ask! Have fun.