Monday, October 30, 2006

The Costume That Worked

I don't know about you, but my "work persona" was a lot different from my "away from work" persona. I don't know why this is, or if it is normal, but I always felt that the person who held down my job wasn't the real me.

I didn't keep a lot of personal items in my office, only a photo of my kids, and a little statuette that had "You Want It When???" printed on it. I also kept a certain amount of distance from my bosses, except for one, who was so down to earth that I could say anything I wanted to and he never got offended or upset, even if I was scolding him. In fact, he was so down to earth that he didn't last with that company very long. Talk about not fitting in!

Anyway, I admit to being a little standoffish until you get to know me, and you have to meet me halfway. Isn't everybody except Kell like that? Most of the people I worked with were nice enough, but the often oppressive atmosphere wasn't such that you could develop close friendships. And, the fact that I worked for the Boss didn't help.

So, I was surprised when I was invited to the home of one of the managers and his wife, who also worked there, for a Hallowe'en costume party. They had invited lots of people, but not everyone from work, which added to my surprise. So, I decided to put on a costume and go.

I thought about it for a long time, and finally decided to go as part Mae West, part Vampira, part Morticia Addams, and see if I could keep anyone from recognizing me. Now, I am not a small woman, so it was going to be a challenge to go as a vamp, but I thought, what the hey, if I can do it, ok, and if they all recognize me on sight, that's ok, too.

I happened to have a floor length black skirt and a black blouse, so that would be the basis of my costume. I went to Wal-Mart (chanting my mantra, as I always do when I HAVE to go there), and found a long black wig, false eyelashes, blood red lipstick, long, dangly earrings and a red feather boa. I put on my makeup with a trowel - well, not really, but it looked that way - and applied bright blue eyeshadow and black eyeliner, the eyelashes and my lipstick. So far, so good. My black skirt, blouse and shoes all still fit. Whew. And, when I threw the red boa around my neck and shoulders, the look was complete. So, as my old journalism teacher used to say, "Ready, Go!"

When I arrived, fashionably late, the front door was open, and I could hear laughter and talking coming from the downstairs basement room. So, I sashayed down the stairs and made my grand entrance. I stood there for a moment, with one hand on the door frame and the other on my hip and took in the scene. All talking stopped and everyone was looking at me rather strangely, and I thought, "Oh, Jeez, what's wrong? Am I trailing toilet paper on my heel?" My hostess came over and got right up in my face and said, "Hello." I said "Hello to you to." I realized that she didn't know who I was, but I didn't enlighten her. I just thanked her for inviting me, and she recovered and directed me to the bar they had set up.

I slunk over to the bar and perched on one of the bar stools, still looking around. People were trying to be subtle, but I could tell that they just couldn't figure me out. Finally, I slithered, wiggled and jiggled my way over to a group from the office, twirling my feather boa. I looked at one of the men and gave him a big old wink and, somehow, he figured it out. Then, he ratted me out. Everybody was just flabbergasted.

If there had been a prize for the best costume, I think I would have won, although the guy who had recognized me was wearing a Kermit the Frog costime, and his veddy British wife was clad in a body stocking and lots and lots of purple baloons, which she explained were supposed to depict "frog spoor". Even so, they were recognizable, and I wasn't. So there.

A few days later, there was a photo circulating around the workplace. Someone had taken a picture of me at that party. People looked at me a little differently after that, I hope in a good way. In case you're wondering, I never did get hold of that photo.

That sure was a fun party!


patsy said...

I think in person at work you were very somber and prime and proper and that was why they didn't know you.

John said...

If you left off the boa you could walk into most British pubs on a Saturday night and no one would look twice at you. :-)

Ch3ll3 said...

Sounds like you really got into the spirit of it. It's supposed to be fun! Way to go, Betty.

I would have loved to have been there.

Kell said...

How I wish you had a photo! Every year I want to have a costume party and every year it doesn't happen. One of these days.

susan said...

That sounds like such fun! Too bad you never got a copy of that photo, but the picture you painted in words was great!

gawilli said...

Oh I would like to see that photo, too! We had a friend come to a costume party once in a gorilla suit. We never did figure out who it was. We went over the guest list in our minds and finally gave up...then he took of the head and surprise. It was so much fun. I'll bet they looked at you differently at work after that! I bet it was in a good way!

Annie said...

I'm wondering if the costume allowed you to be more of your "real self" in the company of your colleagues?

Betty said...

Annie: I don't know, really. It may have revealed more of a sense of fun that didn't show at work.

Annie said...

Well, yes, I see now. You definitely demonstrated a sense of humor and one often can't display that often when one works for the boss.

Tink said...

That's awesome! YOU'RE awesome. I don't know what you look like, or what you looked like dressed up, but I'm going to view you a little differently now. :)