The Single Tax: Why Did Derby Couples Get a Sweet Deal?

And they're off...discriminating against singles again. That's right, Park Place Volvo's Day at the Races 2011 charged single people more per ticket than couples. The Lee Park Junior Conservancy hosted the seersucker- and hat-filled Kentucky Derby Day event, which raised money for the development, conservation and maintenance of Lee Park and Arlington Hall.

Before the "most exciting two minutes in sports" took place, Derby watchers sipped on Veuve Clicquot before it ran out and dined on cucumber sandwiches, brisket and grits and turkey and ham sandwiches. They had their pictures taken with Chelsea Handler via a green screen, listened to Ricki Derek and his band, bid on silent auction items, smoked cigars and enjoyed all the pretty people watching.

Typically on Derby Day people are used to throwing down some coin on their favorite colored silk or name of a horse. Not so at Park Place Volvo's Day at the Races 2011. Conservancy member individual tickets were $75, while Conservancy member couples paid $110 total for two tickets. Non-member individual tickets were $95, while non-member couples tickets cost $135 total for both people. That means member individuals paid $20 more than their coupled up friends and non-member individuals were expected to pay $27.50 more than non-member couples. (Ticket price info gathered from here.)

In the midst of a mint julep fog, these discriminatory prices against singles raise philosophical questions. Do single people have more cash? Do couples get a deal because of the simple fact that they see each other -- and presumably only each other -- naked every once in a while?

Whatever the answer to those questions, some Derby fans found a way to game the system. No one had to exhibit a wedding or engagement ring upon check-in to show he or she was the second half of a couple. And proper Southern manners prevented men from being expected to dump out the contents of their pockets and women from overturning their pocketbooks to show if they had toted condoms along for future couple-like behavior after an afternoon of Champagne and Belvedere vodka in the sun. As a result, single people bought couple priced tickets with a friends, instead of dates, to save some cash allowing them to bet more on which horse would win, place or show.

Just goes to show that single Dallas Derby watchers enjoyed mixing fun and philanthropy, rather than getting scared off by that six-letter word C-O-U-P-L-E. They bet on hope...that a future suitor would want to see what was under their impressive hats.

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Monica Berry