Alissa Troutman was suspicious.
A week earlier she suspected her fiancée Louis Ferro of planning a surprise 30th birthday party for her. But now it was her birthday night, and the couple had finished dinner and were grabbing a drink with still no surprise.
Troutman began to think she might have been wrong. They left the restaurant at Venetian Village in Naples and saw a black shuttle bus with tinted windows parked outside.
Ferro suggested the couple go check it out.
“We can’t crash a party bus,” Troutman said as she tried to pull her fiancée away. As she passed the door, she saw her cousin sitting in the doorway of the bus. Realizing it was the surprise she had initially suspected, she quit trying to pull Ferro away and they climbed aboard.
“It was an overwhelming and shocking surprise,” Troutman said. About 20 of her friends and family hollered surprise as she boarded and began to cheer and clap. Troutman looked as though she would never stop smiling. She was given a pair of glasses, with the frames spelling “30” and a glass of champagne. Troutman and Ferro made their way through the neon light filled bus, with black leather bench seating on both sides. Streamers dangled from the ceiling of the bus and ‘80s music filled the bus. The blinds were drawn on the windows, so it seemed more like a VIP lounge than a vehicle.
Ferro had thought of the idea after hearing about it from Paige Simpson, Troutman’s cousin.
“I was trying to come up with a different way to surprise her,” Ferro said. “At first I thought about using the trolley.”
It was the second big surprise Ferro has given Troutman. The first was proposing to her overlooking Machu Picchu while on vacation last November in Peru.
Now engaged less than a year ago, the couple set out to celebrate another step into adulthood. Turning 30. Troutman wasn’t necessarily looking forward to leaving her 20’s.
“I think for a woman, 30 is the new 20,” she said. “You can act like your 20’s, you can still go out and have fun, but at the same time, you still feel like you need to look like you’re 20 too, and things are changing.”
Troutman said it’s good that women turning 30 are not looked at as old anymore, but sees them having challenging expectations. She said women are supposed to have it all, the career, marriage, but still be able to have the youthful adventures as well.
That’s what Troutman dreads about it.
“I feel myself getting older. It’s much different for guys, they don’t care as much,” Troutman said. “You ask a girl if she’s 30 and it’s a big deal.”
Ferro, 31, agreed, saying that for him, his age was just a number. But he could see that Troutman wasn’t looking forward to her birthday, so he tried to make the experience more fun.
“I tried to do something nice, cushion the blow,” Ferro said.
It worked for Troutman, who said it was the perfect way to enter her 30’s.
A month later, Troutman said she feels better about her age.
“I don’t think about it as much,” Troutman said. “I’m happy and not worried about it, it was just the six months leading up to it.”
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Connect with Greg Kahn at www.naplesnews.com/staff/greg_kahn.