Sunday, October 31, 2010
The Pumpkin Incident
Halloween, as everyone knows, is an excuse for girls to dress like sluts and not get called sluts. It's a wonderful thing. I typed "as everyone knows" but this is, perhaps, inaccurate. It would have been more accurate to say "as everyone finds out one day". For me that day was about 15 years ago at a Halloween party when I was on the cusp of my teenage years.
The Halloween party was being thrown by a neighbourhood friend of mine who was a year or two older than me and much, much more mature. I, for instance, did not then know that Halloween was an excuse to doll myself up in something black, skin-tight and as revealing as was logistically possible.
Hence my decision to dress up as a pumpkin.
The costume was a simple: I stuffed a lurid oversized orange t-shirt with an old bed sheet, cinched it in at the waist with a belt and poked my scrawny pre-pubsecent legs into a pair of green leggings. A green ice-cream container, jammed onto my head, completed the winning ensemble. Sadly no photos of the event survive to this day but I looked, I can only presume, like an obese 8-year-old with jaundice. My Mum said I looked great.
I realised I had made a mistake only when I arrived at the party to discover two things:
1. There were boys at this party.
2. Almost every single other girl at the party was dressed as a slutty witch.
This was not like any of the parties I had attended to date, where parents oversaw wholesome party games involving balloons, everyone was included and the worst that could happen was a bad red creaming soda spill. Here, girls giggled together in groups, ignoring plates of sausage rolls, flicking their hair and flashing glances towards the groups of boys who frankly looked as bemused as I did.
These girls were not like the girls I knew: their hair was shiny and styled, their barely blossoming boobs pointed skyward with the aid of push-up bras and their red lips and black eyes revealed that they, unlike I, had known the touch of a make-up brush. To me, waddling across the room in my pumpkin finery, they appeared not like girls at all but minature women.
Needless to say they terrified me.
Even so I did not actually flee the scene until someone decided that a game of Spin The Bottle was just what the balmy spring evening called for. In vain I looked for a parental figure to intervene and suggest a rousing game of Pass the Parcel, or perhaps just a round of cold showers, instead. But my friends parents simply smiled indulgently and disappeared to another part of house, upping the volume on Hey, Hey It's Saturday to drown out the sound of teenage hormones zinging through the air. Silently I fumed at their idea of responsible parenting, thinking to myself that if one or all of their daughters wound up impregnated by a douchebag called "Stevo" by their 16th birthday they would have nobody to blame but themselves.
Then - and only then - did I flee.
Which all goes to explain what happened this weekend when I donned a short black dress, threw on some slap and plaited my hair to attend a Halloween party. What the hell was I supposed to be exactly? I was calling it 'Slutty Wednesday Adams'.
Naturally my costume was put to absolute shame by many of the others, particularly the brave fellow who dresed as a triffid from John Wyndham's charming novel, Day of the Triffids. Unsurprisingly, however, I blended in perfectly well among the gaggle of other women. Lo here a sexy spy (short Stella McCartney-for-Target black dress, big blonde hair, legs up to her armpits), yonder there a Saucy Catwoman (skin-tight leggings, come-fuck-me boots and a token pair of cat ears).
And, hey, it only took me 15-odd years to learn that lesson.