The Halloween allure: Is turning into someone else for a day really all it’s cracked up to be?
I was amped up for Halloween this year. After days of glaring indecision year after year, I inevitably wind up putting on a wig and/or corset and calling the whole thing a day. The whole point of Halloween these days is to dress in a way that you wouldn’t ordinarily, right? But this year, ah this year, I had the perfect costume… and I was eagerly anticipating going out instead of standing around thinking: ‘ho hum, another party, another day.’
After deciding that I’d make a fine Ariel the Little Mermaid, I made my plans. I spent many, many minutes at the dollar store stocking up on ninety-nine cent items for my DIY costume. Side note, there are few places in life as much fun to shop at as the dollar store or Target. You wander in, intend to get one thing, and wander out an hour later having spent $50. Does one really need six different kinds of plastic cutlery or five different scented body lotions? But I digress…
On the Friday of Halloween weekend, I laid out the whole kit and caboodle. I was in rare form and raring to go. Red wig, check. Green tablecloth/tail, check. I even had a miniature Flounder to keep me company (he’s her fishy friend, in case you don’t do Disney).
So I set off on my precariously high silver and gold heels to one of my favorite spots, where a Beautiful and the Damned party was going on. Although my tail kept unraveling and the strings on my seashell bra snapped a few times, I definitely fit in with the party guests.
Why was that, you might ask? Well, what do you expect to find at a Halloween party in Southern California?
Yup, that’s right. Lots and lots of near-nudity. There was tanned, toned skin everywhere. Long blonde ponytails whipped around the dance floor. Glitter seemed to be coming out of every orifice. Nakedness reigned supreme.
And at first, it was fun. I’ve never been the kind of girl who’s comfortable showing what my mama gave me in public, never mind having the audacity to cover the girls with nothing more than a piece of plastic. I don’t wear mini-dresses or stacked heels. My uniform du jour is a V-necked T-shirt and a pair of jeggings. I think looking like a teenage boy is actually OK as a 31-year-old woman.
It was interesting, from an anthropological point of view, to attract the kind of attention that one of those girls usually gets. You know the ones I mean. They walk into a bar and every male eye is on them. Men rush to buy them drinks, clamor for their affection and would beg, borrow or steal to be with them. They are referred to by not so very kind names. Girls love to hate ‘em.
Except as one of those girls, I wasn’t me. I found that hiding behind my cloak of make-up and hair made me mean. I wasn’t looking to meet someone, so didn’t care what came out of my mouth. I could say cutting, horrific things to men and get away with it. They not only come back for more, but seemed to love my cold behavior.
What had been amusing soon began to make me weary. I didn’t drink. I simply danced, danced, danced until my real hair was soaking wet and the heat from my Ariel wig was setting off a mini-fire on my head. At least when I was dancing with friends I could avoid the whole mating ritual going on inside.
So I made my excuses and left. The first thing I did when I walked outside the bar was whip off that godforsaken headpiece, twirl it around and throw it on the ground. When I got home, what did I put on? That’s right: a T-shirt.
I couldn’t take the pressure of being one of the ‘hot girls’ and I didn’t like what being grouped in with them entailed. I don’t want men I don’t know hitting on me and disrespecting me. I’m not the kind of girl who could easily have a one-night stand, and I don’t want want to be viewed as such, even by strangers. I don’t want to be the kind of girl who’s so easy that anything — literally and figuratively — goes.
Taking off that wig, plucking off those tightly-tied seashells and purging my face of all that eyeliner and concealer made me realize one thing very, very clearly: I’m happy with who I am.
It’s alright to get dressed up sometimes and play at being someone else, but I don’t actually need those outer trappings to make me feel good about myself. It may work for other people; to each her own, after all. But I’m done with getting myself gussied up to please others. I wear my jeggings, T-shirts, flip-flops and cherry chapstick proudly. To heck with everything else.
I don’t need that attention, nor do I want it. Like Mark Darcy tells Bridget Jones, “I like you very much, just the way you are.”
And that’s the kind of man I’m going to meet and fall in love with: someone who loves me for me, a guy who’s going to appreciate the gift inside and not just get excited by the wrapping paper. So three cheers to loving yourself… and being happy wit who you are. Don’t go changing.
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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.