I, on the other hand, have never been known for my ability to be in the least bit sexy. No, no, it's okay. It's something I've grown to embrace. Short skirts and fish-net tights nowhere in sight (ever, as I don't want to induce the world's collective gag reflex), I'm much more likely to don a bear suit around the end of October. Or likelier still, a pair of trousers. Yes, that's the running theme throughout most of the photos you'll find of me at fancy-dress shindigs. That I've dressed up as a man.
Before you go imagining me as some svelte, slightly angular androgynous beauty, think again. I dress up in suits and similar garb not because I make it look particularly good, or because it's fashionable. Come on, I could never be described as androgynous, or skinny enough to look amazing dressed like that. My ass is much, much too South American. No, I constantly end up dressing up as dudes because the characters I want to dress up as are male. Alex from A Clockwork Orange, Bob Dylan circa Rolling Thunder Revue, Joe Strummer. Of course, you could probably delve into my psyche and shrink yourself up some conclusions about deep-seated desire for masculinity or other things of a similar ilk. I won't deny that I've been asked by family members on various occasions for a confirmation from the horse's mouth on where my sexual orientation lies (I like the dudes, not the laydeez). Be that as it may, from where I sit the reason is simple: I am a nerd.
Which leads me to the time a friend of mine sent out the word that she was holding a James Bond! themed birthday. Sitcom writers, grab a pen. The girls I knew were going all very quickly decided that going as a "Bond Girl" was the only sensible course of action. I don't know about you though, but to me "costume party" is synonymous with "think of something damn clever to go as". Thus, Bond Girl was never going to cut the mustard with my (at times wanky) sensibilities. Up until that point, I'd been lucky enough to have for the most part attended costume parties held by and filled with people who take a theme and seize it with both hands before running with it, running a goddamn marathon. Put it this way: if your costume couldn't be described as "pretty creative" at the very least, you were a dud.
So. What to go as. Some hard pondering lay in the road ahead. Maybe I could go as Jaws? Or a Bond villain's cat? Maybe I could go as a cat and a friend could be the villain! Or maybe I could go as A GIANT GUN.
No. No good. Then, like a pistol whip to the snout, it came to me. Ian Fleming. I WOULD GO AS IAN FLEMING. Mental high five. Inspired! Audacious! Intellectual! I would be hailed as all these things.
Or so I thought.
I borrowed a suit from a friend. I wore a kick-ass hat and tucked my hair underneath it. I took my copy of Dr. No to brandish around. I put on a bow-tie, and hit the road with a legitimately dapper looking Brian. We arrived at the party.
At once, my heart sank. I also began to laugh.
It seemed as if my voracious costume and prop acquiring efforts had been in vain, all for loser naught. It seemed as if James Bond! meant not so much "Character from the James Bond universe" but "Stylish and sexy evening-wear, a la James Bond". It seemed as if I'd again made an ass of myself in front of many people I was about to meet. Oh, right. Dang.
The ladies in gorgeous dresses and heels. The guys in suits. Nary a one-eyed with cat or silver-toothed villain in sight! Goddamn. Now, I'm not usually one to cower away when I'm the only one not in heels, or when I look a little out of place. But walking in without a hint of make-up, dressed as a DUDE, I kind of wanted to hide. If I'd gone as an obscure character or dressed in a costume nobody got, that would have been different. I've gone to a movie themed party and had to explain what felt like hundreds of times that I was "Annie Hall, from the movie Annie Hall". This time though, I was the only one who'd gone as a character, the only one at a shindig filled with very good looking people I mostly had never met. I made a bee-line for the bar, and cursed Brian for so easily fitting into the theme by wearing a suit. Me, I was obviously the birthday girl's token butch lesbian friend, underdressed and overdressed at the same time.
Sweet, sweet relief was mercifully quick however. Another friend of ours - who shares a love for dressing up equal to mine - had gone to much, much more effort than I. She had made a dress out of cut-outs of James Bond movie posters. She was a walking Bond movie. She looked amazing though, and to her credit obviously gave not a SINGLE FUCK about being the only one (apart from me) in costume. Seeing her not giving a single fuck made my spirits soar and renewed my injured confidence.
The rest of the party went off without a hitch. Smooth sailing, until we decided to head out afterwards. Rookie mistake. Or rather, it was a rookie mistake given the place we went. Silk Road.
My first trip to that particular establishment was enough to make sure it would also be my last. For those who haven't been to Silk Road, I will direct you to their photos so that you may form a mental picture/rushed opinion of the place. Now, I'm sure one is able to have a rockin' night there - it just ain't the place I would want to do it under most circumstances. I don't know what possessed me to go with the crew there, but I went. Standing in the line (seriously, who lines up anymore?) with all the scantily clad ladies and guys in identical striped shirt/pointy shoe combos, I tried my best not to give a single fuck. I mostly succeeded. The girl at the door looked me up and down and I gave the best "I'd offer to fight about it, but I'm not inclined to give any fucks at the moment" look I could muster. I had to laugh upon getting the all-clear to enter.
We made our way to the bar, maneuvering our way through the tans. The music was pumping. Do we hit the dance floor? Do I grind up against some hot female? Do I take off my shirt and bow tie? Nope. The bar. As I edged my way toward the front, a large mass shoved into my side. Some guy attempting to get through the crowd, it seemed. He must have realised that he'd bumped into me, and slapped me on the back in friendly apology.
The "hey, buddy!" tone of the clap on my back and his tone made me whirl around. I beamed at him.
"No problem, pal."
He saw my face (and the fact that I have boobs) and his expression immediately changed.
"Oh! Uh. Sorry! About that." He paused, then bolted. He looked as if his brain had exploded from confusion overload.
That was my cue to leave.