#226 In which our hero discusses a costume contest and his co-workers and the affects giant boobs have upon both.
I didn’t win.
I put some real effort into my Halloween costume, the least of which was shaving my head. I mean, that was easy. And free.
So I arrived to work that morning, and I was nervous that people won’t appreciate my costume and would just point and laugh. But, the reaction I got is pretty much what I was shooting for: unease. People looked at me askance, mostly because they didn’t know who I was. I don’t think a single person recognized me in costume, and probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t sat down in my office. One account coordinator in particular was really freaked out, and as I walked by I heard her whisper, “Who is that?” Later she told her co-workers that she thought I didn’t really worked here, and that I was a trespasser. Which amused me to no end, of course.
But once people started to figure out who I was, the were very complementary to my costuming efforts. Most comments revolved around, “Holy shit, you really shaved your head?!” People took pictures. A couple co-workers said “You’re going to win. No doubt about it.”
Now, I have some insight into costume contests. I once attended the Drexel 24-hour Sci-Fi Movie Marathon in Columbus. This was back when it actually was at the Drexel Theater, when there was still a Drexel Theater. That was actually Drexel Theater North, if memory serves. It closed down and was turned into a CVS while I was still living there. Probably the origins of my hatred of CVS. Anyway, it was just what it sounds like: 24 hours of sci-fi movies ranging from great to really, really bad. In-between the movies they ran shorts, cartoons and other odds and ends. One of the shorts they did was a 1950s-era atomic bomb readiness propaganda film (I thought it was the famous Duck and Cover, but after seeing it again, I realize it was not.) In this film there’s a portly man in the shower who either slips or is knocked down by the atomic blast. Some things, like people falling down, are always funny; so it generated a big laugh with the audience.
They also had a costume contest at the marathon. The girl I was dating at the time put a lot of time and effort into her costume, a replica of a Star Trek:TNG’s uniform (commander’s red, first season, for you hardcore geeks). She sewed it herself and bought little commander’s pips; it was a really great costume. She might even have drawn on a Bajorian nose ridge, but I don’t remember. So she went up on stage with the other hopefuls, and it was clear that her outfit was head and shoulders above anyone else in the theater. But who won the contest? A heavy-set guy who got up on stage, took off his shirt, then fell down like the guy from the atomic bomb short.
My girlfriend put in hours to sew a costume so it was perfect. A fat guy got up on a whim and fell down on stage. Who was more deserving?
So, going into the costume contest at work I knew that people are fickle, and it may not matter in the least how cool my costume was. In fact, that morning I told a group of co-workers that I would probably not win, and that it would go to some guy in a dress. Because what’s funnier than a man dressed up as a lady? Ho-ho-ho!
But, as the day wore on, I made the mistake of letting myself get excited about the contest. Everyone I talked to said they were going to vote for me. The Scientist and I could use those tickets to travel to California to visit her family or, well, we could go anywhere. We haven’t flown anywhere for a real vacation since we were married. How cool would that be?
The contest was popular vote. All the participants (and there were a lot of us, probably 20 or so) paraded in front of the assembled agency, each of whom could cast one vote. After the votes were counted, they called up the top three vote-getters. Who ended up winning? A guy in a dress, of course. In fact, it was this guy:
Much as I would like to, I can’t be pissed at the guy who won. I mean, yeah, he basically bought a costume at Wal-Mart and put on some make-up, but it was the agency at large who voted for him. I can hear it now: Tee-hee! Did you see Joe? He’s a slim fellow, but today he looks like a fat lady! With giant boobs! In a see-though dress! That is a laugh-RIOT!
So yeah, I’m bitter as hell. I won’t even try to claim that it’s not sour grapes, because it totally is. I wanted to win. I thought my costume was better--and I still do. I think the majority of my co-workers are idiots for not voting for me. As a friend of mine said after seeing the winning costume, “that’s typical, lowest common denominator crap.”
The best part? The day after the contest I had several people come up to me and said, “Wow, you really did shave your head!” Apparently a bunch of people thought it was a bald wig. Personally, I’ve never seen a bald wig that didn’t look awful, but they apparently think I am some sort of Hollywood special effects master. “I bet more people would have voted for you if they knew you really shaved your head.”
That makes me feel great.
The final tally? I lost the contest by six votes. Maybe if I would have walked around and shouted Hey! I’m really bald over here! I would have won.
Or maybe, I never had a chance against giant fake boobs.