May I present to you: Father Death, with some bbq.
Halloween: What Not To Wear
The Halloween costume for women that I call the “Slutty Noun” outfit is now a topic of debate and outrage; I’ve been complaining about it for years. It’s mainstreaming the sex industry, dragging women back into the Playboy Bunny past, and in poor taste. Yuck!
Last year I realized something worse. While the women dress as stereotyped available objects (nurse, catwoman, stripper outfits, little French maid, showgirls) the men have their own roles. They’re pirates, soldiers, cops, horror movie murderers, Dracula, barbarian.” These roles have something in common too: they’re powerfully violent and often depicted assaulting women.
What’s the message? Men are rapists and women are their victims. And now every year the men and women dress that way, go to parties and bars and get sloshed, and see what happens.
Anyone is free to explore sexuality and enjoy role-playing I don’t like. In this case it would be less worrisome if any if these people knew what roles they were taking on and where that might go.
In my father’s novel Bull Fire, the four holidays that most cultures share are named as follows:
The Greater Sunstop
The Lesser Sunstop
Happy Pandemonium, everyone!
Bluebeard’s door swings open
I briefly mentioned this the other night but it’s been bothering me. When I saw those drunk people ineptly pawing each other outside my friend’s place Saturday night, I had a realization. The woman was wearing the typical “grown-up” woman’s Halloween costume, which I call the “slutty noun.” Low-cut everything, fishnet stockings. It’s basically a Playboy Bunny outfit. That wasn’t the part the struck me, though. The man was wearing probably a pirate outfit, but I wasn’t sure. And that’s when it hit me.
Not only do the women dress as if they were available for instant sex, the men all dress as rapists.
The male costumes I saw were all some variant of this: soldier, pimp, pirate, “savage,” rapper, baller. Just about all the guys’ costumes I saw that night were a version of “permitted to rape.”
There’s your party. The women all dress as prostitutes and serving girls. The men all dress as rapists. And then they get drunk and play it out.
“Play” is where it goes for most people, and i’m not suggesting that everyone who dresses up goofy and has too many drinks is going to end up as a crime scene. I still don’t like it, though. You can have a lot of fun — and friends of mine did! — goofing around dressed as Borat or Log Lady or Cinderella or the Cookie Monster and enjoying the masquerade experience. If you’re going to play out a rape fantasy, though, it might be a good idea to know that beforehand and know who’s really down for that instead of just getting hammered and finding out.
The IM is coming from inside the house
I didn’t go to klikitak‘s thing tonight, partly because I am a social anxiety poster child lately and partly because I didn’t want to get extruded through my own car by drunk people going to L.A. and back. Instead I ended up at realitylost‘s where she and Craig stuffed me with really great food and their dogs sat on me. One of the many reasons to like Craig is that he is serious about food. O garlic bread, O cobbler.
I meant to go over and hang with burntcurtis for a few later but a quick trip across the boulevard revealed that his entire neighborhood had been parked upon by partiers. Tonight is official Adult Halloween Party Night, and everyone was getting smashed, with pumpkins. A couple of his neighbors were incompetently necking in the condo complex and I nearly ran them down. She was wearing a slutty noun costume and he was in a rapist costume (pirate, soldier, Haidl, dunno). He was trying to paw her while simultaneously bracing a 24 pack of beer on his hip and she was trying to do the coy push-away-only-not but instead stumbling in front of my car. Two cheers for Halloween; it’s now Daterapemas!
Part of the time at Susie & Craig’s tonight the TV was on. I hadn’t seen the History Channel in a long time. Wow is it dumb! The supposed academic guy referred to the “Cape of Africa” (?) and they spelled Gibraltar wrong, and the show about the history of dragons spent a full segment talking to a couple of lunatics who believed that dragons existed and waved broadswords while saying they were druids.
One of their neighbors has a license plate holder that says “Foamer Forever.” Anyone know what that means?
I think I know who gave me that flaming bag of dog poo. I THINK I KNOW
I dreamed that I had found a website that looked at first as thought it was the usual unpleasant sexual tourism thing, guys visiting impoverished countries to do nasty things. But it was worse. It was a cannibalism tourist site, where you could arrange to visit places so benighted that they’d sell you their children and you could eat them.
The site was disguised as a kind of crackpot medical clinic called the California Creative Radiology Institute.
I think this is the first actual Internet nightmare I’ve had!
Halloween time is funny nowadays.
Businesses desperately need Halloween, since holidays mean spending, so they want to make anything they sell somehow orange, spooky, or candy-related. The boom in “adult” Halloween celebrations means that slutty costumes and spooky alcohol are a huge money deal now.
The children’s holiday of my childhood continues, which means big money selling candy and party favors and pumpkin-oriented merchandise. And less slutty costumes, although some parents seem to have forgotten that pimp ‘n’ ho outfits or slutty nurse costumes aren’t too great for the little ones.
But then we have the Christians. There are a lot of very conservative evangelicals around here, and they’re wealthy too. If you get too spooky and devilish, they complain and you can lose their business. Since they’re stuck with the evangelical ghetto version of the holiday you can sell them stuff too, but it has to be for some neutered “harvest” holiday: squash, orange things, candy corn, centerpieces made from um sheaves or something. They’ll have a party and eat pumpkin pie and pray a lot and talk about Fall, and no demons allowed. It’s goofy but I understand. If I really believed in demons and evil witches, I wouldn’t want to play around about it and have my kids dressing up that way.
So, a lot of stores talk about “the season!” or “fall” or just have orange things, and it’s funny to see which ones do this and how they get around using the H word. The combination of hypocrisy and greed is always good for a laugh.
I saw a hilarious example at one of our local churches this week. They’re having a fun celebration for the kids and there was a big sign and display outside for it. They wisely sidestepped both “Halloween” and “harvest” but their choice was, wait for it… pirates. So there was a big pirate ship display and a “Pirate Fun Party” sign.
I agree with them that demons, devils, lost souls, ghosts, witches, and the Undead are not cool in their world and shouldn’t be celebrated. But what exactly is the difference between trivializing the terrors of Hell and whitewashing the rape, murder, pillaging, alcoholism, prison-sex sodomy, Vitamin C deficiency, and sociopathic greed of piracy? Maybe you guys should just go back to the sheaves-as-centerpieces thing and have some pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are tasty.
weak end update
This has been a good weekend, full of unexpected social delights and fatty foods.
I have had totally heterosexual man-dates two nights in a row. Friday, burntcurtis took me for Chinese (and I hardly look it) at China Palace, where I ate round-eye delights like orange spicy chicken. Great conversation with him in a romantic booth. Last night threepunchstuff spirited me off to a G(r)eek restaurant where we ate flaming cheese, etc. Thanks to both of you for being wonderfuli and totally heterosexual man-friends!
I also got to see all sorts of people I never see, and purely by chance, including the reclusive handstil and godforesaken who are rarely observed since their natural habitat is fifty feet underground.
And! Other people had sent me books recently so I read a pile of them, including two graphic novels about hellholes. Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang details his time in North Korea working on animation projects, and Ted Rall’s half-graphic Silk Road To Ruin is a combination “comic book” about his travels there and history/backgrounder on Central Asia. Both good. Rall’s is particularly useful and full of the sort of black humor that only places like Turkmenistan provide.
I’m enjoying the Halloween season this year for the first time in forever. I managed to recapture that childhood sensation of anticipation about costumes and haunted houses and candy skulls. I was never big into candy, although acquisition itself was a huge high on the actual night, but I loved the way neighbors did up their houses into “scary” haunts. People around here really get into that, and there are some dark and creepy strobed-out houses with hands reaching out the windows, etc. already. I like that way better than the adult beer-bash version.
Speaking of which, the costumes for kids are turning me into Old Conservative Guy. Nick and Nicole found a set of wrist-and-ankle bondage cuffs in the Halloween store, complete with unambiguous drawing of bound hussy, that included the instruction they were not for children under six. Meanwhile, a young teenager was being urged into a Slutty Nurse Outfit by her mother, as Junior complained “Mom, they won’t allow this at school!” No.
The Santa Ana winds make my eyes and throat dry and are kind of a pain in the ass, but it’s so BEAUTIFUL here right now with that very clear light we never get. I took a load of pics in Santa Ana yesterday and maybe some of of them are salvageable. The “camera out the window at 40 mph” style isn’t conducive to great art.
Maybe I’ll drive out to the desert tomorrow.