Every Halloween I’d get asked by this one guy in my fraternity what he should wear. He was very demanding. Like, sit in my room with a pad and paper to brainstorm ideas, demanding. It would never annoy me, but I was kind of apathetic to his whole plight. Let’s say I gave him a sweet idea like Patrick Swayze in “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar.” Then he goes out, tells everyone he’s a guy from a movie he’s never seen. Meets a girl who can’t believe a strong, confident, alpha male like him would ever dress in drag, never mind pulling off those heels. He’d make jokes to her like, “This thong, is actually comfortable.” She’d say something like, “I can’t wait to see you in it.” Then they sleep together, date through college, move to the same city, get married, have kids, and tell those kids how they were both wearing lipstick for that first kiss (one of their kids will later get a boner from this story, but I digress). Glasses clink, laughs are had, and a whole family is built from a single lie.
You see, I wouldn’t be helping him dress up as something funny. I’d be helping him dress up as me, a guy who saw that movie and had that memory and looks great in heels. That’s why I never really trusted people and their funny Halloween costumes. I’m a guy who takes every opportunity to dress up in a costume. Theme nights, day parties, pre-games, romantic nights (What’s up ladies!), snow days, Yom Kippur, funerals, and Wednesdays. I think the best part of wearing a costume is the moment, and much less the costume. The day is the setup, and the costume is the punchline. Halloween is a worn down setup that just gets a million different punchlines. Some are good, some are bad, and they all took no risk. So this guy goes out wearing my punchline, and gets to keep up with the pack. But for what? What’s next year’s costume? He’s sitting there holding a fish with no idea of how to catch it.
This is a trend that I started seeing a few years ago. Outsourcing our interesting. A whole industry has been created out of our generation’s intense desire to have a specific personality. Go look at half the ads on your Facebook news feed. Retro shirts are all over the place. I thought the BaySide Tigers was an actual college team. Hell, look at your short shorts from Chubbies, or your ugly Christmas sweater from Tipsy Elves, or your (dare I even mention it) Back To Back World Champions sweatshirt, hat, t-shirt, wallet, shot glass, condoms, blanket, and tank. How hard were those things to find? How much thought did it take to dress up in something you knew was already socially accepted? There are currently very few steps between seeing a personality and dressing up in it. Again, worn down set-up, and a million punchlines.
I’m not blaming these companies. Those all came from funny ideas. A single person that took the risk to put something he’d never seen on a t-shirt. This is more about us. Our need to look and be perceived as interesting and funny without any of the risk associated. Just listen to how people speak. Any time I hear someone say, “Living the dream” my brain turns off. Because, honestly, theirs did too. When I asked, “How are you doing?” It wasn’t because I was looking to run script from a Will Ferrell movie, it was because I wanted to know how you, the person, was doing. Saying, “Living the dream” was them going into their treasure trove of socially approved personality one liners and getting through one more moment with zero chance of failure. But the more we avoid social failures, the more we limit our success.
So what costume should you wear? I don’t know, I’m sure Elite Daily has a list for that. Just understand that nobody will remember what you wear as much as they remember what it said about you. The guy as the pirate just really wanted to look hot. The Girl as the sexy cat doesn’t take risks. The guy who didn’t dress up is lazy. The girl who linked up with twelve friends, grabbed a rope, and put on a kid’s backpack, lacks individuality. And the guy who six months earlier, cleaned out his parents attic, found some sweet heels, tried them on, and immediately thought of a mediocre mid-nineties movie, probably has something to say you haven’t already heard..