Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costume Battle of the Sexes

Women have often been criticized for their talent of turning mundane Halloween duds into a more tantalizing costume. Why be a cop when you can undo the top two buttons and be Sexy Cop? Why be a chef when you can wear fishnet stockings and be Sexy Chef? It doesn't stop at uniforms. I've seen girls transform religious figures (Hot Nun), cuddly animals (Playboy Bunny), and even inanimate objects (A T-shirt with "Juicy" across the chest requires reading, and therefore makes the person wearing it a book. Sexy Book).

But let he without the first tacky Halloween idea cast the first stone! Some men take advantage of the night to dress up as women. Not famous women. Just women. That's not a costume! That's indulging in a secret desire to see how the other half lives. "Wow, I don't know how you girls do it..." Well, we don't do it daily in bright red lipstick and frizzy wigs, Chuckles, but thanks for the sympathy. Honk honk. Other men insist on costumes affirming their sexuality. A pickle barrel with a hole in the crotch. A desk with a lamp shade ("I'm one NIGHT STAND,") or a shirt with a sign that says, "Free Rides" and points to the face.

Let's not limit this discussion to heteros. What about drag queens? Talk about a night of shameless sparkle. They take advantage of the night to flutter extra-long lashes and six foot-high feather headdresses that would normally happen and stay in Vegas.

I'm also putting the spotlight on the nerds, perverts, and technologically savvy convicted felons. This is their night to find a large avenue, unveil their video camera, and tape publicly! Any other night they would be harrassed by 60 Minutes and shamed into signing a release form.

Even little boys make bizarre selections for costumes when left to their own devices. My 5 year old neighbor said he was going as a "Maniac Prince". What is that, exactly? I went trick-or-treating with a kid who was Alex Trebek Electrocuted in a Blender. That's not even possible!

Allow me to set the bar this year with a costume that no one can judge. I'm going as a bagel and cream cheese. No one will accuse me of twisting that around. Bread is not sexy!!

Happy Halloween!

PS: I found this by Googling "Bagel Costume".

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Black Like Me

It is hard to know what to think about Angelina Jolie, who for all intents and purposes is presumably white, playing widow Marianne Pearl who, according to page 17 of today's Metro, is not black but really biracial, in a movie. The role did not go to Thandie “Sally Hemmings” Newton or Halle “Queen” Berry.

Should she be allowed or shouldn't she? Is it believable that a white woman could convincingly play a biracial woman?

According to my childhood, YES. If you polled the black kids at School #91 in Indianapolis in 1987, they would unanimously agree that I wear white girl shoes. If you interviewed the young ladies in my Home Ec. class at Shortridge Middle School in 1994, and asked why I think I'm soooo smart, they would say, "That's just cuz she talks white." If you asked the all-white Christian campers in 1997 why I continually sway off-beat to the hymnals they would be perplexed and say, "We don't know. We thought she was black. I guess we were WRONG. Hahahahaha!"

All of these case studies, thanks to the invention of the Time Machine on March 24, 3040, conclude that both black and white races classify me as white. But I don't FEEL white. And identity is about how you feel! Trans-gendered people, help me out.

Clinging faithfully to the antiquated and unscientific One Drop Policy, I have always claimed Black on survey sheets and joined Black Student Associations throughout my education. In high school I insisted on reading the "On This Day in Our History" announcements during Black History month. Why? Am I stubborn? Am I greedy for acceptance? No. I'm Black.

Sometimes people affirm my blackness without me prompting them to. As a drunk, white frat boy in college once confided, "I think Tyra Banks is UGLY. Oh...no offense, Abbi". Offense proudly taken, Racist.

The fact that the Metro feels the need to clarify that a biracial woman is not black explains a lot. Anyone who has had to pick out his "good hair" so it looks like an Afro and so the black kids won't tease him knows that. Anyone who feels like she has to "axe" a question at Popeye's when she orders knows it too. Let me be black the stereotypically white way I’m black, and I’ll let you pretend you know French when you order Oh Grotten potatoes.

If anything, the reason the public should be reeling by the Thandie-Angelina switch is the same reason kids roll their eyes at high school play auditions. All good roles go to the Seniors. Forrest Whitaker has been in the game a long time, so when it's time for someone to play Idi Amin, he’s the one who wears shoe polish to get Africa dark. End of discussion!

Before we get outraged as a country over this injustice to Ms. Newton and Ms. Berry, let’s remember two things: 1) Marianne Pearl is not a slave. 2) She’s not a superhero who controls the wind. She is a REAL person whose suffering requires the ilk of a woman who has not just simulated having relations with the mangy Billy Bob Thornton, but who ACTUALLY HAS (dry heave) had relations with (dry heave) Billy Bob Thornton.