Let’s do the time warp again……right back to Halloween of 2001.
I was going with a friend to a huge yearly Halloween party at a local hotel. Every year it had been the premiere party to go to, with well over 300+ people in attendance. It was sponsored by a local pop-music fed radio station, and featured ever-flowing drinks from a cash bar, pop music induced dancing by songs from Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera (Holy crap, her last name is recognized by spell check!), and a faboo costume contest with cash prizes. You even got to do a walk of fame (or shame, depending), across a big stage in front of the entire ballroom of guests.
When you came in the door and paid your admission, you had to sign up then for the costume contest with whomever was at the door taking names on a list. That year it happened to be a woman with short lusterless light brown hair and glasses, somewhere in her mid to late 40’s, for whom the word “fun” looked like it had eluded her, her entire life. This was a really odd juxtaposition when the entire purpose of said night’s events were for the purpose of having, making, and sustaining large amounts of fun.
I responded, “Oh, I’m going as me”
“Yes, but what’s your costume? What are you supposed to be?”, she prodded.
I smiled, smoothed the fluff of my outrageously poofy ruffled petticoat, and answered her. “It’s not a costume. I’m just going as me”
“Well, you have to tell me who you’re supposed to be.”
“I’m going as me. This isn’t a costume. These are from my closet.”
“You have to be something”
“I am, I’m me”, all the while smiling. This whole exchange was light-hearted, on my side at least. On hers, well, she was getting a bit frustrated trying to figure out just what game I was playing at.
“How about Moulin Rouge?”
“Um, ok. But that’s not really what I’m supposed to “be””. I really don’t have any excuse for being a stubborn wise-ass except that at the time I was 24 years old. I’ve heard that developmentally, puberty actually extends into your mid 20’s, so looking back on my early 20’s, I’m inclined to agree. Yeah, I’m going with that. Score for my Jungian therapist!
“Good. Moulin Rouge it is.”
That’s right, it was the year, or close enough to it, that Moulin Rouge had come out and made all things flirty and burlesque-esque, popular. I’m not even sure it truly was burlesque, as I never saw the film, and from what I have seen in snippets here and there, it doesn’t seem so. This was actually a good thing because at that time I owned far too many corsets and stripper heels to explain my closet any other way. Not like I needed an excuse to own such things, but it sure does help in avoiding those questions from the more curious as to how I can justify spending $300 plus dollars on a custom-made satin, steel-boned, array of corsetry, with a wide array of matching 6″ platform stiletto footwear. (I still had no cover for the growing amount of shiny PVC fetish wear…damn)
Anyhoo, I did my fated stroll across the stage wearing my best satin corset in red with black trim from Versatile Fashions, matching black 5-layer petticoat, thigh high black silk stockings, and 6″ platform stiletto high heels, as seen here in this photo. Yeah, you get everything but my head. And while I do have a stellar head on my shoulders, some would argue that those get-away sticks I call legs, the ones that seem to end just about under my chin (according to a male friend of mine), are one of my best features. I personally think my ass is what truly makes the package, but the entire look just works, I think.
I did not win a prize, but I did get a lot of whooping and wooing of the general enthusiastic “cat call” variety, so it wasn’t a total loss. At least it wasn’t a slam to my self-esteem, because alcohol-fueled party participants can sometimes go either way. It’s like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You just never know what you’re going t get.
This photo was actually taken at a business event I attended for the art gallery I was working for circa Halloween the following year, 2002. I have no pictures from that actual Halloween party night the year prior. We were unfortunately still in that time period where not everyone had instagram on the brain, and a smartphone in hand and at the ready at a moment’s notice like we do now. This photo was taken with…gasp…film!!!! Old school, mo-fo’s, represent!
Oh, and that year we held a silent raffle to raise money for the gallery. It was the one and only year in the gallery’s existence that they had such an overwhelming response to the raffle, and raised the most money. It’s amazing what a corset and heels can do to persuade people towards a good cause! Sweet!
(No, my male co-worker and I did not coordinate on purpose, but it so worked)