The Swine Ball got started in 1981 by some disgruntled Tennessean journalists who were tired of watching the Swan Ball Publicity Committee arrive at the newsroom seeking coverage of an exclusive party almost no one can attend. One must be invited to attend the Swan Ball and hardly anyone ever is…and if you ask for an invitation, you most certainly will never be invited. But you can just invite yourself to the Swine Ball. Just click here (there will be a bacon bar – more about that in a minute).
Since I have never been invited to the Swan Ball, the following is pure conjecture on my part and not meant to, in any way, represent what truly occurs at Nashville’s most exclusive party. In other words, I’m making all this up. But this is my interpretation of the differences between the two events.
Swan Ball Dress: Ladies spend six months visiting the couture houses of New York, Paris, and Milan to select a custom made gown that costs tens of thousands of dollars and may or may not actually look good on them. Exhibit A. You decide.
Swine Ball Dress: If Target doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.
Swan Ball Jewelry: The Swan Ball has an official jeweler each year who is fervently hoping that the ladies in the $10,000 dresses accentuate them with his or her high-priced baubles. But truth be told, the ladies are all married to exceptionally wealthy, and occasionally good looking, men who have gifted them with more diamonds than Queen Elizabeth owns. They just open their private bedroom safes and grab a necklace and a pair of earrings.
Swine Ball Jewelry: Pop-apart beads are not only acceptable but encouraged. In any event, anything more showy than plastic bangles or crystal earrings is considered tacky and just suggests you’re putting on airs. And pig noses are required and will be furnished at the door.
Swan Ball Entertainment: An internationally known entertainer or band is always the headliner at the Swan Ball. This year, it was Kool and the Gang. Tony Bennett, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin have also entertained.
Swine Ball Entertainment: A band that plays 1980s and ’90s cover tunes from Kool and the Gang, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.
Swan Ball Food: Oddly enough, there is no mention of food in all the Swan Ball coverage this year, but I know they have it. I imagine it involves filet mignon, lobster tails and truffles. It’s possible some of the women actually eat it.
Swine Ball Food: Bacon Bar! We’re talking mounds of bacon, including the unparalleled Spiced Bacon Twist. “Bacon Dreams Come True” is the theme of this year’s Swine Ball. Enough said. Plus pulled pork sandwiches and all the fixin’s. Nobody will miss the truffles.
As one of the histories of the Swine Ball put it, everyone gathers to “eat cheap and drink deep.” Somehow, I don’t think that’s in the Swan Ball literature.