A marinade for Madame Butterfly: recipe for a date to the opera

    Curtain time: 5 minutes

    Walk time: not nearly enough.

    Yield: a stable relationship


    • 1 couple
    • assorted lacey undergarments
    • 1 evening gown
    • 2 tickets to a pressing social event
    • 1 tuxedo pants
    • 1 dress shirt
    • 1 tuxedo jacket
    • 2 thin-heeled ladies dress shoes
    • 2 black leather dress shoes with shiny silver buckles (socks optional)
    • 2 pendulous earrings
    • 2 black velvet opera gloves
    • sprinkle of cufflinks
    • a pinch of finely sliced diamonds
    • a distant colonnade


    1. Defrost the man and woman and let them sit with each other for several weeks (months and years, while they improve robustness of flavor, are not necessary). Marination in conversation develops the agreeability of the flavors.
    2. After defrosting the man and woman, begin dressing them. Start with the undergarments and work up through the tuxedo pants, dress shirt, and evening gown. Next, coat the feet with gender appropriate shoes. Shiny buckles for men and laces, peep-toes and high heels for women. Note that socks, while optional, contribute flavor. Then move on to the opera gloves, earrings and jacket . Garnish with a sprinkle of cufflinks and a pinch of finely sliced diamonds.
    3. When the man and woman have been prepared, place them on a one-to two block strip of cement, preferably an urban sidewalk (if sidewalk is unavailable, any well-worn path should suffice: a dirt road, gravel, a trail through tall grass or between dunes. As long as it’s operatic). Adjust the temperature to Mild-Fall Evening. Set them facing the distant colonnade and hand them the two tickets to a pressing social event. Push lightly if they hesitate.
    4. The trick to this recipe is inserting a kernel of hurried doubt in one of the ingredients, say, the point of the high heel. Though difficult, this technique can soften the couple through the unusual sight of bare feet on a busy street. If prepared correctly, the couple will pause for a moment and discard the element that does not gel en route to the colonnade, such as the shoes. The woman bends to remove the kernel, but, finding herself too well marinated, is forced to proceed barefoot. You may find, however, that other tricks serve your tastes better.

    Serve on a red carpet with opera and bite-sized cupcakes.


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