Can’t imagine doing this without help. #pregnantandshopping
HALLOWEEN HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY. Ever since my parents divorced when I was two and they both turned into big-haired, low-cut shirt wearing excessive freaks from a David Lee Roth video, I wanted to be someone else.
Throughout the year, I’d take every opportunity I could to assume another identity. When my sister and I started getting allowance in the second grade ($2.50 a week), she’d go to the store and buy Lee press-on nails while I’d buy paper masks and make her pretend I was the Chinese foreign exchange student that was only temporarily living with her. A simple disguise gave me the freedom to do and say all the things that the real me couldn’t. Like, “You’re not my real mother,” and “Dad, your jeans look like leggings.”
As I got older, I did what all disgruntled kids with a penchant for avoiding real life do: I became a theater major.
I went to college at UCLA where I met my dear friend, Mike. Mike was six months away from earning his Masters in Playwriting and busy casting his thesis, a play about Iowa that involved a superhero and a young girl. I won’t bore you with the Commedia dell’Arte influences or the Freudian undertones but suffice to say Captain Blasto Comes to Iowa was an Aristotelian masterpiece… Or at least that’s what he told me. Looking back, I’m pretty sure we were just doing a staged reading of his Dawson’s Creek spec script. But regardless, I got the part and we became the best of friends.
Mike’s birthday is on Halloween, making dressing up and going nuts almost a moral obligation. Every year since meeting him (minus the year I was dating a Serbian warlord and moved to Germany), I’ve spent Halloween with Mike. He usually throws a dinner party/costume contest where everyone goes all out — he always dresses as Van Halen. Over the years, I’ve donned a myriad of outrageous looks hoping to win the Van Halen CD he autographs at the end of the night (as Van Halen, of course) and presents to the winner. But until last year, I came up short. In 2009, my Michael Jackson was boxed out by an overly zealous Nipple Slip and in 2010, My S&M Lego Fucking Another Lego came in second to a Chilean “Minor.” But last year, everything changed.
The week before Mike’s party, I was pretty convinced my husband and I were going as Casey Anthony and sexy Duct taped baby. I loved the idea of Jason’s mouth being sealed shut but I wasn’t particularly thrilled about spending the night in a less than flattering pink button down. The more I thought about it, the more I started to doubt our decision. Just as my husband was about to purchase his extra large corset from Trashy Lingerie, I called him.
“I’m over our costumes,” I said bluntly.
“Do you have anything with red lace?” I heard him say to someone in the background.
“Jason! Are you listening to me?” I shouted.
“Jenny, I’m just kind of in the middle of something. Do you think garter belts actually work?” he went on.
“Baby, we are getting different costumes. Put everything back and come home now,” I said calmly, as if I were talking to a monkey waving a handgun.
“But I found so much cute stuff!” he whined. I promptly hung up the phone.
Mike’s party was in less than five hours. In order to win the costume contest, I needed an outfit that would speak to Mike personally. I needed something that would strike a nerve, something relevant, something hilarious, and something scary. There was only one real option: Go as Mike’s mom.
Mike’s mom, Sara, is your typical sweet, good-natured, overly involved parent who everyone who isn’t related to her absolutely loves. She can light up a room with her personality. She is personable and more than a little outgoing. But from time to time, like all parents, Mike’s mom can drive Mike crazy.
Last year got particularly bad when she tried to insert herself in the planning of Mike’s wedding. Mike has no sisters and his only brother had eloped three years prior, so this wedding was going to be Sara’s one chance to throw the party of her dreams. Yes, she took Mike and his future bride’s wishes into consideration, but in the end, she was hell-bent on having things her way. Mike joked about his mother’s wedding fever and alluded to the fact that she was driving him insane, but never did he badmouth her in the way I would my mom. Mike was too PC to admit that his mother needed to be tranquilized. But having known Mike for as long as I did, I was able to read through the lines. Mike’s mom was becoming a monster. There was no Halloween costume on the planet that could get under his skin more.
“Baby, I am going as Mrs. Freedman!” I exclaimed as Jason walked through the door with his hands full of shopping bags.
“Wait, What? Noooo! I just bought my entire outfit!” he cried.
“I told you to put everything down and come home!” I said, annoyed.
“I thought you were kidding,” he lied, taking all his lingerie out of the bag and pulling it on. “How cute are these?” he asked as he fastened two satin bows to his hips.
“Fine, you can still be a sexy Duct taped baby and I can be Sara Freedman,” I said rationally and I walked upstairs to go through my closet.
Upstairs, I found an old house smock that belonged to my grandma, a black wig I rocked the Halloween I was Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction, and a pair of spectacles Jason wore before he had Lasik surgery. I sprayed the wig with white shoe polish to give myself some age, stuffed my house smock with bigger tits, and popped out the lenses of Jason’s glasses so I could see. When Jason walked in to ask if I’d do his eyeliner, he was stunned. I looked Just like Mrs. Freedman. We pulled out some old photos to compare and the resemblance was truly uncanny.
“You look just like Mike’s mom!” Jason gasped.
“I do, right?” I said, staring at myself in the mirror realizing my husband in drag looked more fuckable than I did.
By the time we arrived at Mike’s party, I’d cut the house smock in half and added fishnets and added stripper heels to my ensemble
“So I don’t get it, now you are slutty Mike’s mom?” Jason asked as we walked into the party.
“Jason, you’re a baby. You don’t have the ability to judge.”
We made our way through the crowd to Mike who was already three Midori sours deep. Horror washed across his face when I caught his eye.
“Are… Are you my mom?” he stuttered.
“In fishnets?” Mike continued, looking me up and down.
“I wanted to sex her up a bit.”
“And what is that?” Mike said looking at Jason.
“Oh, I’m her slutty dead baby.” Jason explained.
“Wow,” Mike managed to spit out, before handing over his Van Halen CD without hesitation.
We won the contest before all of the guests had even arrived. An hour later, Mike was huddled in a booth in the fetal position sobbing, but I like to believe that had little to do with seeing his mom in Lucite heels and more to do with the fact that he was turning 35.
Six months later, Mike was saying his “I dos.” The wedding was spectacular and everyone looked beautiful. After the ceremony, guests were invited to a pre-dinner cocktail hour in the adjacent banquet hall. Mike and his mother looked happy as they gabbed in a corner by the hors d’oeuvres. When Jason excused himself to the bathroom, I snuck over to give them both a quick kiss.
“Mazel tov!” I said, excitedly.
“Thank you!” Mike’s mother replied as if she and Mike had just wed.
“Oh, Mike, did you tell your mom about my costume this Halloween?” I asked, innocently.
Mike’s eyes popped out of his face. He scrambled, under duress, for something to say.
“What happened on Halloween?” Mrs. Freedman inquired as Mike slammed his glass of Champagne and braced for the worst.
“What happened on Halloween?” Mrs. Freedman inquired as Mike slammed his glass of Champagne and braced for the worst.
Oblivious, I continued talking. “I went as YOU!!!!!” I said proudly.
“What?” Sara asked, not following.
I clarified: “Well, like a sexy you.”
Just as Mike was about to stab me in the neck with his empty champagne flute, Jason returned and started praising the floral arrangements above the urinals. Mrs. Freedman blushed and immediately went into a long diatribe about orchids. Mike pretended to see someone waving at him across the hall and took off.
I haven’t seen Mike’s mom since his wedding. I seem to miss her every time she’s in town and find out about later it only through Facebook.
This year, Mike made a note on the bottom of his Halloween invites that simply said: “Try to refrain from coming as anyone’s mom.”
So Jason and I are going as sexy Mike’s dad.
When you’re sixteen, you want nothing more than to fit in. You want to hang with the popular girls, know latest gossip, and have a bedroom filled with picture frames that spell out things like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “World’s Cutest Bestie.” You don’t give much thought to life after high school because life after high school doesn’t matter. But the social hierarchies you establish in your youth are the ones you subconsciously carry with you into the continuing chapters of your life. You may get into a great sorority, date a hot law student and even make enough money to finally own a Cabrio, but if you didn’t feel cool in high school, you aren’t going to feel cool anywhere, ever.
When I hit thirty, three things surprised me:
1. I wasn’t dead
2. My legs still looked okay in shorts, and
3. I still desperately gave a shit about what other people thought
Oh, and I guess:
4. I ended up marrying that guy that fucked the pie in those American Pie films (which in a way sort of negates number 3). Nevertheless, I was still pretty much the same girl I always was, minus the Cabrio.
When you’re married, you end up in a lot of situations you purposely avoided when you were single, like business dinners, kids’ birthdays, and game nights. But in relationships you’re forced to compromise. So instead of curling up in bed with season one of Revenge, you pop a Xanax, tell yourself that being unemployed doesn’t make you a failure, and you accompany your spouse to annoying, work-related events.
A few years ago, I was forced to endure a Mexican-themed BBQ at the home of a producer my husband was working with. Like all Mexican-themed BBQs, I had zero interest in attending, partly because it meant interacting with others, and partly because it stresses me out watching people consume massive amounts of carb-ridden margarita mix. But like a good partner, I went.
“You’re gonna owe me for this,” I said to Jason as we pulled up to the Valley of the Dolls valet.
“I promise, this weekend we can eat healthy and do whatever you want,” he assured me as he smacked my nails out of my mouth.
“I have social anxiety and disordered eating! If I want to bite my fingers down to the nub right now, that’s my business,” I balked, sticking my fingers back in my mouth and getting out of the car.
We walked up a long driveway to a gorgeous mid-century home covered in red, white, and green Christmas lights. Two mariachis offered us tequila shots and escorted us in. I slammed my shot and my husband looked at me, pleased.
“I drank a super strong cup of Dieter’s tea with senna in it so anything I eat is just gonna go straight through me,” I explained.
“That stuff makes you shit for days! I told you to throw that out,” he said as his eyes caught the first of many people he’d have to be fake nice to.
I tagged along as we made a loop through the kitchen, into the living room, past the game den, and outside to a long dining table covered in chips and various salsas. The people seated at the table were all notable in some way or another and since I didn’t have any cocaine on me to gain acceptance with, I had no choice but to try and socialize. Which might have worked, if I wasn’t instantly confronted with the question, “Soooo, Jenny, what are you currently working on?” I wasn’t working on anything. In fact, I hadn’t been employed in a year. Feeling more than a little inadequate, I devoured a fist full of carne asadas and tried not to cry.
By the time the dulce de leches arrived, I was three margaritas deep and sandwiched between the hostess, Marlene, and her stylish gay friend, Blue, who wouldn’t shut up about his workout regime.
“I’d be down to go hiking tomorrow morning,” Marlene said excitedly, like exercise was the most fun thing on earth.
“Sting and Trudy have a fitting I have to be at!” Blue pretend cried.
Having been awkwardly quiet for nearly fifteen minutes, I felt the need to contribute before looking like a creepy eavesdropper.
“I’ll go with you,” I clumsily blurted out.
Jason looked at me from across the table, shocked.
“Um, okay,” Marlene reluctantly agreed as she unconsciously looked down to appraise my handbag.
Once we’d left the party and I was home in my duvet cocoon, I started to panic. In less than twelve hours I was going to be hanging out with Marlene. ALONE.
“I’m really proud of you!” Jason exclaimed through his toothbrush, as he got ready for bed.
“What are we going to talk about? I’m totally not cool enough for her. I don’t even own a pair of work out sweats that don’t have period stains on them,” I lamented.
“She’s harmless. You’re going to be fine,” Jason insisted.
The next morning came too quickly. I set my alarm for six but was already up at five with a stomachache I attributed to stress. Marlene showed up at seven in a fitted Stella McCartney tracksuit that screamed “My husband has more money than yours and I don’t even give a shit.”
“You ready?” She asked without setting foot inside my house.
“Sure,” I said, trying to act normal.
We pulled into Malibu National Park, threw our purses in Marlene’s trunk, and started hiking into the abyss.
For the first fifteen minutes, Marlene rambled on and on about progressive schooling while keeping a pace that sort of implied she was trying to ditch me. In between breaths, my stomach grumbled with increasing intensity.
“You okay?” Marlene finally asked when one of my groans interrupted her diatribe about the importance of salad bars in schools.
I wasn’t okay. With each step I could feel the diet tea breaking down last night’s decisions. I tried moving faster in an effort to quell the now intense gargling coming from my intestinal region. Thoroughly weirded out, Marlene looked at her cell phone to check how much longer she’d be stuck with me.
“I think I’m going to–” I started, before lunging for the bushes.
Once hidden from view, I pulled down my pants and started spraying shit. Unable to make out what exactly was happening, Marlene called out, concerned.
“You, um. You want to turn around or something?”
“No! Just go ahead without me. I’ll meet up with you in a few,” I urged as a flood of macerated taco shells spewed from my ass.
When the shitting finally subsided, I looked around for some version of wilderness toilet paper but found nothing. The canyon was especially arid and the only option was a pinecone or a pair of sticks. Grabbing the sticks, I quickly tweezed the remaining feces strands out of my ass, pulled up my period sweats and climbed out of the bushes. Marlene was still standing there.
“Everything better?” she asked disgusted.
“Yeah, I guess, I just… Well I didn’t eat breakfast and…” I muttered trying to look for an excuse as sweat poured down my face.
Just then, a group of teenagers jogged past.
“It smells like shit!” one of the teens exclaimed.
Looking down at my shoes, I realized I’d accidentally Jackson Pollacked my toes with poop. If the teens could smell the shit, so could Marlene. I was mortified.
This time, instead of asking if I wanted to cut the hike short, Marlene just started heading back to her car without speaking.
When we got in the car, my stench only increased. Marlene rolled down her windows and cranked up the radio so we wouldn’t have to talk about why I smelled like poop. As the radio played, a flood of images went through my head. I remembered the time in fifth grade when a popular girl asked me to play after school but was instantly turned off when she saw that I was still riding a banana seat bicycle. I thought about the time in eighth grade when I went to school wearing a giant push-up bra everybody knew wasn’t my real rack, and I thought about the time in high school I was asked to leave a house party because I wasn’t invited. I would have gladly re-lived all of these experiences in exchange for never shitting myself in front of Marlene. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.
When we pulled up to my house Marlene waved goodbye as I was still sitting next to her. Taking the cue that she obviously didn’t want a hug, I smiled graciously and got out of the car.
“We should do this again sometime,” I said nervously trying to gage if she hated me.
“Totally!” she agreed, in a tone that confirmed she hated me.
I never saw Marlene again but I’m sure she still thinks about me every time she wipes her butt. In a way, the experience opened my eyes to something I’d been refusing to admit since high school. Trying to be cool never ends well.
In retrospect, I should have just shat on Marlene.
MY EPIC RETELLING OF JESUS CHRIST SUPER STAR