Not sure why, but as a kid I never did the dress up ‘trick or treat’ thing, probably because even when I was very young, I was a nerd. I started playing the clarinet when I was ten years old. Instead of, say, learning how to interact with my peers and develop healthy friendships. I didn’t take part in a lot of normal, typical-growing-up cultural memes (you remember, before ‘memes’ were called ‘memes’ , and were just called ‘stuff a lot of people did that other people did first?’) No, but there is a plaque with a red ribbon that says I read forty books in first grade. Hmmm…now why was I a virgin till I was twenty?
When I got to college, I finally learned how to cut loose—sure, I was a cybernetics major living in a dorm, but oh, lemme tell ya–I could do some crazy shit. Got into a prank war with a roommate. It started when he thought it would be fun to mess with my record collection. Now, I had something like seven hundred vinyl albums, and I was (okay, still am) kinda anal-retentive. Of course they were alphabetized. And sorted by genre.
So one day he screws up my albums, and I put his pillowcase in the freezer before he comes home. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to—anyway, you get the point.
I did drag once, in college, on Halloween. Being a culturally aware, sophisticated, twenty-first century bisexual, I realize that Halloween is the one night when closeted queens get to let their freak flags fly and nurture their inner Grace Kelly. Back then, I just thought it would be funny. (warning: frightening images ahead) So I’m hanging out in the dorm lounge in a kinda springy floral print sundress and big floppy hat, and a girl who lived on my floor says “I’d kill to have calves like yours.” Though I’ve never done drag since, it’s nice to know I had options.
As an adult, I loathe Halloween. If it’s not drunk frat boys wandering around in Uptown made up as zombies, it’s drunk frat boys yelling at women wandering around in Uptown made up as slutty nurses. Okay, maybe my problem is with drunk frat boys. But you’d have a problem with them too if you lived in a dorm and they kept pulling the fire alarm at three in the morning when you had an organic chemistry test the next morning at eight.
As a single adult, Halloween sucks because if it’s the one day when if you’ve chosen not to have obnoxious children, they get delivered to your door. I think the first time I realized I had become a ‘grownup,’ that I was now on the other side, was a Halloween night a couple years ago, when a couple of adorable moppets mocked the candy I was giving them. “Don’t you have anything else?” As I shut the door, I actually thought to myself “When I was their age” and muttered the word ‘ungrateful.’ The transformation was complete. I had become my stepdad. And by the way, when I was their age, I would have been happy with an Abba-Zabba bar.