At 33 years old I have finally mastered the art of parallel parking. I can tie the hell out of my own shoes and play a mean air-synthesizer to Ah Ha’s “Take On Me”. I have never been able to discern my right from my left without holding my hands out in front of me with index finger and thumb extended, to see which hand forms the “L” or tell time on a watch that has actual hands on it, and isn’t made my Casio. Another thing I have never mastered is picking out the quintessential Halloween Costume. I know you may be saying “You’re too old to dress up for Halloween” and I’d like to encourage you to shut-up. Yes, I am on the cusp of being too aged to dress up like a slutty princess and act like a moron for a night. But, time is flowing like the sand’s through the hourglass; I’ve got to take advantage of the stretch I have left, before my body totally loses its battle against gravity and I am relegated to wearing an orange Jack O’ Lantern t-shirt, blinky ghost necklace and black mom jeans.
I was reminded of my shortcomings in the costume department today, as I stood in line at the Post Office, waiting to return the suggestive bunny costume I had recently purchased from an online vendor. On the website, this costume had everything I was looking for. It was sparkly, black, low-cut and appeared to be missing pants. On any other day, if I wore this in public, I might be arrested for indecent exposure. I would probably also receive some marriage proposals from strange men and dirty looks, from women actually wearing clothing. But all forms of modesty go out the window on October 31, here in sunny South Florida and you are free to let your skank-flag fly as high as you want. You can be anything and although I have never really had a desire to pose naked in the pages of Playboy, I figure one night of pretending I do wasn’t going to kill me. My parents would have more than likely disowned me if I ever received a paycheck signed by Hugh Heffner, and I’m not sure I would have been able to handle walking around thinking people were picturing me naked….because…they had actually seen me naked.
Anywho, back to the costume…I stumbled upon it because Facebook suggested I may like a website. Someone must have seen the photos of last Halloween and decided that this site and I were a match made in heaven. I could have picked anything; there were pages and pages of trampy, poorly manufactured get-ups from Taiwan. I had stumbled upon The World of Whorecraft. Incidentally, I don’t think they celebrate Halloween in Taiwan, and our traditions here in the West probably confuse them as much as chop-sticks confuse us. I’d like to get the perspective of a factory worker in Kaohsiung City, and see what they assume about the people who buy this crap. I hope they understand that we don’t walk around in Warrior Princess garb every day. Actually, no I don’t. I’d like to be at the airport, should they ever visit the States, to catch the look of disappointment on their faces as they confront the ugly truth.
Should I be a floozy robot? A trollop kitten? A nearly naked Tinkerbelle? A strumpet Miss Muffet? The possibilities were endless! My boyfriend suggested I go for something more modest “Why don’t you check out that green M&M costume?” he said, hoping I would select something that would keep him from possibly having to hit someone in the face, should they get the wrong idea about the content of my character. I ignored his proposal; he just doesn’t understand the science of Halloween from an aging woman’s perspective.
I scrolled through the inventory until my eyes crossed. Weighing the options of every costume that caught my eye “This is cute, but it looks like it may be hard to get in and out of and I’ll be drinking…there is nothing worse than having to pee and not being able to negotiate your way out of Lederhosen”. “Oooh, I really like this one. But it shows the stomach and I don’t want to have to worry about sucking in my gut all night,” this went on for hours. I finally settled on the bunny, and anxiously waited for the package to arrive in the mail.
When it finally made its way into my mailbox, it was not at all what the website described. It was more medieval torture device than it was harlot woodland creature. The costume could not have been any less flattering. The corset; which was described as having a sweet-heart neck line, pushed everything from my waist up, uncomfortably towards my chest area. It made me look as if I was born with just one giant uni-boob, definitely not the lift and separation I was going for. The sequins sewn to the corset sliced the tender undersides of my arms, and I appeared as if I had developed a strange rash. The tiny shorts that came with the ensemble flattened my behind in such a manner that I seriously considered breaking out the VCR and resurrecting the Buns of Steel video.
No, this was not cute, not one bit; I searched the packaging for the return policy. Upon reading the policy of the communist regime that operated this bastion of all things morally questionable, I was informed that I was not eligible for a refund…but I met the requirements for an exchange or store credit. The pamphlet directed me to their website, where I would have to follow specific instructions to send the costume back. It was clear to me, when trying to locate the customer service link, that this store did not want its merchandise to be returned and was going to make it very difficult for me to complete this task. After some searching, I found a link that instructed me to perform a series of steps. I had to get something called an R/A number, which I did, and write it all over the return envelope, check. I was then told to send the package back with a tracking number, as shipping was the customer’s responsibility, give a blood sample, last 4 digits of my social security number, turn around 3 times and jump over a broom. Ok, that last part I made up, but you get the idea.
Having just been at the Post Office, it’s a wonder that anything gets anywhere it’s supposed to go through our mail system. The postal employee that assisted me today had three hairs atop his head, which were poorly dyed a strange shade of red. When his gaze met mine and he said “How may I help you?” I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me of the person behind me, as his eyes did not focus in the usual manner. “I’d like to send this back,” I said, hoping that I was the target of his request. “Are you shipping any liquids, explosives or fire arms?” he inquired. I always want to answer “yes” to this question; but I have a feeling that this may land me in Federal Prison, so I said “No, just one very ugly, sequined, bunny costume”. “You got a whole costume in here?” he laughed, holding up the petite envelope that contained my holiday disappointment. “Yes, Roger” I sighed, reading his name tag to keep from making eye contact. “Ok, that’ll be $13.00” he mumbled as he whisked my package away. I hoped he and the other physically irregular employees of the United States Postal Service could perform the task at hand and get the bunny abomination back to its original location.
While I left the Federal Building feeling really good about myself and my mouth full of teeth, I am more than a little concerned that this Halloween I will be void of a fine for exposure. If things work out in my favor, I may just pick up the M&M costume and forgo the stress of having to decide between the slightly slutty sailor or really slutty witch, again.