Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Harlot-ween!

Due to Kat's incisive comments on the Maoist Orange Cake blog, I have been forced to wrestle with my "Ghosts of Halloween Past". She wrote about the increasing popularity of sexy costumes for All Hallow's Eve wear, especially among women, and quoted (what I thought) was a hilarious, if controversial, column by Joel Stein on this issue.

Those who know me will no doubt find it slightly hypocritical for me to be discussing this subject. This is, I regret to admit, gentle reader is because I must confess: I too, have been a Halloween Harlot, not once, but several times.

It all started in the mid- '70's: I was invited to a Halloween party, along with my best "fremeny" Char; I heard she was going as a pregnant nun, and so, in an effort to upstage her, I went as what I can best describe as an "S&M Gal", and my date wore a sleeveless T-shirt and a dog collar, and crawled on all fours as I led him into the party. I stole the show, got a big laugh , and so, for a time, a tradition was born.

Since then, I've been a pregnant nun (yeah, I stole it!) slutty nun, dance hall girl, nympho-maniac (pink negligee with a blow-up mattress strapped to my back) , Vampira, Catholic school-girl (okay, I was going as Mary-Catherine Galliger, but several people said I looked hot), The Scarlet Lesbian (don't ask), a One Night Stand (I was a nightstand with a #1 painted on it; hey, it wasn't very sexy, but it was sexual) and even tried to go as a "ho" and have my then-girlfriend as my pimp (I know, racist, sexist, and my girfriend refused to do it).
Why did I do this? I was trying to be funny; I was trying to stand out (when I wore these get-ups, I was the exception, not the rule), and later, I saw it as a chance to be more divinely campy and queer than I dared to be in my regular life.

Now that I'm older, and wiser, and as these sorts of costumes have become more popular, I'm more than a little revolted by this behavior. I see the sexism and objectification at work here. But how can I criticize, when I have been one of the worst offenders? Comments???


little gator said...

"i know better now" is a fine excuse for criticising anything you used to do. Though if you're not careful how you say it you will sound like a self-righteous meanie.

Your whatever-she-was didn't invent the pregnant nun costume meme, which is probably older than I am.

And the popular naughty schoolgirl thing puzzles me too. It's been around for ages, yet I still hear of first-timers thinking they invented it.

Beavis and Butthead comment when they see a music video with girls in field hockery unfiforms smashing car windows,

"I didn't know *girls* could be *bad*!"

Well, yeah, they're stupid 14 year olds. But most of us already know girls can be bad.

One part I went to had a guest as "PMS Pam." She wore pajamas, a bathrobe, and fuzzy slippers. The pockets held Advil, chocolates, and kleenex.

The costume theme of this 1999 party was "a person, thing, or idea of a the 20th century."

I was a (20th century) fox. I wore brown pants and shirt, a headband I'd put ears on, a bit of suitable makeup. But the best part was that I took my cat's toy furry snake and stuffed it down my the back of my pants for a tail.

I carried a small stuffed dog so when I felt like it I could be the quick brown fox and jump over it.

Someone else wore a storebought ladybug costume with "2K" written on the back.

Mr Gator stole the old Monty Python flasher bit. Under the long overcoat he wore shorts and a tshirt, and a sign that said "BOO!"

shadocat said...

LOVE the idea of "PMS Pam"! Will have to try that one sometime!

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