For the past several years I've been invited to Halloween parties for grown ups--or maybe I've always been invited and just haven't gone. But this particular host (she knows who she is) doesn't take no for an answer, and she gathers a fun group who put tremendous effort into the right getup for the evening. Two years ago I showed up in civilian garb and took quite a beating, but since I'd just come off of five consecutive sixteen hour days at a Firm meeting and had endured several weeks of anxiety and dread due to morphing meeting agendas across multiple international time zones, I gave myself a break. Last year I just didn't go, such was my dread of coming up with a costume. This year I've got two parties, the earlier of which my children will be attending.
So why not just go? It's not an office holiday party with forced cheer and small talk---I really like all of these people, but all I want to do is have a glass or two of wine and gossip in the the kitchen. Why are fully grown adults dressing up? Once I heard an impeccably turned out colleague of mine say, twenty years ago when quizzed about her garb for a Halloween party, "I got dressed. I didn't get dressed up." I took up her advice and decided there was really no need for me to go to a party and look foolish, at least not intentionally. God knows I can do that all by myself.
So I've just worked a 65-hour week and feel good because I managed to put in a brisk walk and buy some groceries today. And now I have to come up with an inspired costume that doesn't embarass me or so lame as to become a story that follows me to my grave. But if I don't put it out there, I'll be seen as a stick in the mud. My reluctance rises from, as with so many things, my perfectionism--if I can't do something properly, I don't want to do it--and from the notion that I'll reveal something in my choice of costume that will make people wonder about me. No, that's not quite it. My real concern is that it will make people talk about me, the small town girl's eternal fear. And then there is my quite opposing desire to wear something so scandalous that everyone will talk about it.
That said, I've got something rather tacky going, involving a leather dress, fishnet stockings and some bondage heels. But since it's me, I'll worry about looking trashy and might still end up looking like an expensive call girl. I suppose there are worse problems to have. The evening awaits.