Sunday, November 1, 2009
night of (shattered) illusions
i don't know if there's any place where halloween is explored in all its manifestations than nyc.
there's the liberation of the mask - the people who do strange and uninhibited things while hidden.
there are those who dress up to reveal secret desires - exhibitionism, sadism, masochism, sexual ambiguity.
and the ones who are silly, who dress up like fruit or hotdogs;
there are the intellectuals - or the ones who believe they are clever - who have to explain that they are the most recent black hole or swine flu vaccine. costumes that have to be explained are like sentences written by young men in creative writing classes, "what do YOU think it means?" it's sloppy, it's lazy, it's a cover-up for a last-minute idea that you threw together that doesn't quite work.
there are all those bright, professional young women wandering around the street at 4 in the afternoon in g-strings and impossibly high-heeled shoes when just that morning they left the house in tidy j.crew or banana republic suits and unremarkable aldo pumps.
and the parties begin days in advance - building to a complete decameron by all hallow's eve - the debauchery covered by the fact that everyone has metamorphized into the mask.
as for me, i was a wood sprite or a forest fairy - and i was one of those sloppy last-minute dressers because i bought my accessories for discount prices on ebay and they didn't arrive 'til an hour before the party and the shoes i had planned to wear were just too uncomfortable for me to walk to the lower eastside.
i suppose, in the midst of my disintegration, i secretly wished to be pretty and effervescent, innocent and airborne.
and i thought i got it right until i showed up at the green halloween party and discovered that more or less everyone was festooned with silk flowers and ivy and my ricky's butterfly wings were not nearly as lovely and chic as so many of the ones around me.
the only pleasant thing was that as the evening wore on and people became drunker, i got more and more compliments on my costume, until i (wisely) standing beside the tequila bar became one of the most photographed and congratulated members of the party.