01 November 2006

Three Faces of Cup

Next to Christmas, Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. When you have an imagination like mine, there’s nothing more thrilling than putting on a costume and another persona. My favorite was a gypsy because I could dress in a riot of color and tons of my mother’s jewelry. I loved the jingle of the bangles.

Halloween is also a helluva lot of fun when you’re an imaginative adult. I came thisclose to a fun costume party this year, but there was the threat of a soap opera, so instead I revisited costumes of years past.

Somewhere among all those T-shirts and floating pens and CDs and books and baubles are photos of me in the costumes described below, but I can’t find them (I’ll find them next week, no doubt) … so here I am on another Halloween.

Best Costume — Adult Category

Being a woman who loves color and baubles and outrageousness, it was inevitable that I’d one day spend a Halloween as Carmen Miranda.

I bought yards of a gold lame fabric covered with lots of wild, colorful squiggles. I wrapped it around me in a sarong style. This was the late 1980s, before the era of the thong, so I went commando. I used a strip of the fabric for my headwrap, to which I fastened plastic fruit — apples, bananas, grapes, an orange. I bought some cloth heels, coated them in gold glitter (I love glitter) and topped the shoes with more fruit. I was a vision in Del Monte.

The headwrap and the sarong cloth; isn’t that fabric so 1988?

We hit several parties that evening, ending up at a friend of a college friend’s party. By the time we got there, college pal Reifenberger was seven sheets to the wind — still damn funny, talking a mile a minute, but a bit oblivious to the world outside his drunken state (in other words, Reifenberger’s normal party state). We were talking and laughing in the kitchen when a very inebriated chick stumbled our way.

“Gweat costume,” she slurred. “Are you a boy or a girl?”

“I’m a girl,” I sniffed, resuming my conversation with Reifenberger.

“I dunno,” she said. “You could be a guy. Looks like something a guy would wear.”

“I promise you, I’m a girl.”

“Lessee …” and Drunk Girl lifted the hem of the sarong to the top of my head, sharing my tricks and treats with everyone in the kitchen. “Huh. You are a girl.”

And Reifenberger? He just kept on jabbering and never caught the show.

Great Concept — Poor Execution

I had a great idea, one that would play off my dramatic coloring of black hair and pale skin: go as a photonegative of myself.

I coated my hair and eyelashes in white temporary hair color. I painted my face, hands, arms, and legs black — with, of course, little white freckles sprinkled all over my face and arms. I wore a white T-shirt and shorts (sometimes in Atlanta you can wear shorts at Halloween), with a black bra and panties over that.

Cute idea, right? Problem is … my hair is so dark, the color came out gray, not white, and the color faded (well, flicked off like flocking on a dying Christmas tree) every hour. So … I didn’t look like a photonegative of myself … I looked like … oh, God … a badly executed racial slur. As we walked into parties, my friends would shout, “That’s so cool; you’re a photonegative of yourself!” so that the other partygoers would get it. It was so off the mark that when we waltzed into the Majestic (our longstanding dive of a diner) at 2 a.m., everyone stopped for a couple of beats, looked at me quizzically, realized I wasn’t a racial slur, just a bad idea, and went back to their eggs and grits.


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At 11/01/2006 02:49:00 AM, Blogger barista brat said...

haha, your post had me laughing this evening!

was your friend upset to find out later he missed the show?

At 11/01/2006 06:34:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Wow, I've never put that much effort into my Halloween costume, I'm ashamed to admit. Not very "heroic" on my part...I'll try harder!

At 11/01/2006 06:51:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

BRAT: Rumor has it he's still kicking himself.

HAAHNSTER: I mean, hero. What about all that effort you put this year into Crotchety Old Man? You had to pick out the boxers ...

At 11/01/2006 01:26:00 PM, Blogger Will said...

Happy Halloween! Dressing up is the best.

At 11/01/2006 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Did your K.Fed get you a lot of attention?

At 11/01/2006 04:30:00 PM, Blogger Ben Heller said...

"oh, God … a badly executed racial slur."

Best quote of the week by a mile !

I'm still laughing.

At 11/01/2006 04:35:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

I'm glad I could make you laugh when you're not feeling well. If I ever find that photo, I'll be sure to send you a copy. Sheesh.

At 11/01/2006 06:05:00 PM, Blogger lee said...

beth, you are a real character -haha :).

At 11/01/2006 10:57:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

That's a charming way to put it, Lee.

At 11/01/2006 11:12:00 PM, Blogger Both Eyes Wink said...

You have a good way of writing things that we can all relate to, thanks.

At 11/02/2006 04:44:00 AM, Blogger DaBich said...

lol...sounds like you've had some...interesting...Halloweens.

At 11/02/2006 08:03:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

I have always thought that commando was best.

At 11/02/2006 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Ben Heller said...

I'm still laughing...brilliant.

At 11/02/2006 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

When I was younger, I lived in Salt Lake City for a bit. I was on a job interview on Halloween, of all days. A couple of people walked into the office I was interviewing at dressed as klansmen. The interviewers and I just stopped dead, jaws dropping. It was an incredibly inapproriate costume. Salt Lake City is a weird place. I moved back to Chicago after just a few months.

At 11/02/2006 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Tenacious S said...

I want to have a big Haloween party now just so I can invite you! What a riot!

At 11/02/2006 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Jeffrey said...



At 11/02/2006 11:31:00 AM, Blogger Jeffrey said...

I do not approve of racism.

About slurs, however, I am undecided. Over at DailyKos we painted Joe Lieberman in black-face. It wuz rilly funny.


At 11/02/2006 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I like your ideas, but I still hate Halloween. I must be in the minority on this.

At 11/02/2006 04:09:00 PM, Blogger OnMyWatch said...

I love Carmen Miranda, but how could that person wonder - - what man wears fruit on their head?

At 11/02/2006 05:42:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

BOTH EYES WINK: Thanks! I hope you enjoy the stories.

DABICH: Some very interesting ones. And isn't all about if it will make a great story later?

OLD LADY: I'm more of a commando than thong chick myself.

BEN: YAY! I kept the sick Brit laughing!!!!!!!!!!!

JOHNNY YEN: I've heard so many weird stories about SLC. Can't believe they were dumb enough to dress that way at work!

At 11/02/2006 05:45:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

TENACIOUS S: You throw it, I'll come. We'll have a party weekend that will keep Chicago buzzing for years.

JEFFREY: Do you spend all your time-better-spent-listenting-to-music haunting the sites of those who have different beliefs? You should leave the hosue on occasion, dear; basements get musty.

GRANT MILLER: Even the slutty costumes we ladies like to wear once a year?

ONMYWATCH: Exactly! And I was sportin' a little cleavage. But she was very drunk.

At 11/02/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Wacky stuff and great ideas Beth. I remember when they first started casual Fridays at my office. One of the managers who had to work in an area open to the public wore a t-shirt that said No One Tells Me Shit. He didn't understand all the hastily thrown together rules before the following Friday.

At 11/03/2006 06:55:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

There's always one dumb one in the office to ruin it for the rest of us, isn't there, Dale? My biggest peeve on casual Fridays are the forty- and fiftysomethings who wear shirts embroidered with Disney characters. There should be a law that nobody over the age of 23 can wear a Disney character on a shirt.

At 11/03/2006 09:05:00 PM, Blogger mellowlee said...

I hate it when costumes don't work out. How horribly dissapointing!! I love the Carmen Miranda thing. I hope you post the pics some day, I would love to see them.

At 11/04/2006 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

If it's not the shirts with the cartoons, it's the FUN! ties people wear. Again, if you're over 23, smarten up.

At 11/04/2006 02:03:00 PM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

I would so like to see the poorly executed photonegative costume.

At 11/04/2006 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

MELLOWLEE: I'll post the Carmen Miranda photos as soon as I find them. I wish I could wear that ensemble every day ... I'd love to be known as the chick with fruit on her head and toes.

DALE: Damn, Dale; I just bought you a Porky Pig tie for Christmas. Guess it's back to the shopping list.

COASTER PUNCHMAN: You gotta see it; it's an embarrassment. And yet I'm strangely proud of it.

At 6/27/2007 12:48:00 AM, Blogger jewgirl said...

the shame... oh the shame of her.


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