Friday night’s “Diamonds and Divots” gala at the Polo Reserve was a huge success, and a helluva good time for attendees, judging by my volunteer stint that night. I started the evening on hostess duty, greeting guests and helping them find their seats among the 1,400 places stretching under a huge white tent alongside the polo field.

I wore a black halter dress, snug at the waist and full-skirted (a la Marilyn Monroe in white, for The Seven Year Itch). I left the house thinking I was looking pretty darn snazzy, and joined up with my fellow volunteers still thinking the same. Then the guests arrived in clusters, with nearly every group containing at least one similarly-garbed gal. Not the same dress, exactly. Thankfully I did not run into the dreaded and feared female faux-pas of seeing someone else wearing your dress. Naturally this is made a hundred times worse if said someone looks — gulp! — better than you in the dress. But apparently the below-the-knee, retro black halter dress happens to be super popular this season. Stunned by the sheer numbers, I started actually counting. (One does get a bit distracted in between polite chatter and hostess duty, you know.) Once I counted more than 20, I gave up, and switched to counting non-black halter-top cocktail dresses, which was much more fun, and much less frustrating. I saw two fabulous floor-length red silk numbers, a single sunny-yellow clingy-cool creation, one floaty fuschia concoction with silver sequins, which sounds hideous but amazingly enough, looked great on the perky blonde who pulled it off. Several dresses looked suspiciously like recycled bridesmaid gowns (turquoise satin A-line ring any bells?). My favorite for the evening: a simply divine, pale blue chiffon vintage ball gown.

Once the majority of the guests had found their tables and friends, they congregated on both of the open bars for hours. I was quickly commandeered to help meet the demands of the thirsty masses. I now have a new and deeper appreciation for my neighborhood bartender. Oddly enough, in a crowd of non-professionals my talents for uncorking bottles in a hurry proved extremely helpful, if slightly damaging to my manicure. (Damn those foil wrappers!) After opening — literally — hundreds of bottles of wine and champagne, I was excused from volunteer duties and released to wander with the crowd. I soon found my tipsy friends, hit the dance floor to boogie to Hazel Miller, and wandered back to the bar for a little refreshment of my own.

Overall it was a great event, and a fun night for all. I heard the event raised around $350,000 for local children’s charities, which made the nicks in my knuckles well worth the effort. Still, I did learn one thing the hard way. Next time I hit a black-tie bash? I’m definitely going to retire the little black dress.