The Love of Masquerade and the Macabre

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Gunmetal Geisha - Black Widow

Such ugly fun. Naturally I was addicted.

                                                                                                                                                       
While I share the fascination of things dark, I don’t see the fun in horror. The mock-horror of Halloween on the other hand, always gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me because I get to explore dress-up’s darker side.

Oh blast it, I freaking love Halloween and I haven’t missed dressing up for it a single time since I was a nine-year-old!

I’m just not a lover of gore and torture, so I stay away from horror movies.

Gunmetal Geisha - Muertos

There are exceptions of course, like chilling ghost stories crafted by auteurs. The Shining comes to mind. And I do have a high threshold for film violence in non-horror genres since I am passionate about cinema as art. It can’t be helped — I’d miss out on far too much otherwise. But a trail of sawed-off human limbs leading to a masked boogieman? Nah. Aren’t there enough awful real-life happenings without us upping the ante with twisted atrocities for box office sales? Maybe it’s me. I must be missing the sadism gene.

Except when it comes to Dexter. I suppose there must be a bit of brilliance in a show that gets you to root for the killer, so I’m going to argue for my appreciation of craft. I don’t mean the craft of serial killing either.

It also happens that I’m not above watching the country’s most top-rated show. Yep, guilty, The Walking Dead. But when it’s on, I tune-out the squelching and flesh-tearing perpetrated by live corpses over my beloved characters’ screams of unthinkable pain. Instead, I make myself think of the masks, rubber and red food-coloring, and how long it must take a fleet of stylists to prepare all those zombie extras. That’s right, I watch the show for the drama — not the silly monsters — much like the men who used to read Playboy for the articles back before the publication took away the bare boobies.

Speaking of boobies, when did our national celebration of horror become a cosplay parade of tits and ass? Nothing against the sexy curves of my gender, but I thought Halloween was supposed to be about ghouls and witches. When else are those of us who love weird things going to have our Christmas? Yes, I’m allowed to love Halloween and weird things without liking horror films. Dressing myself up like a flesh-eating ghoul with strips of “skin” hanging from my mouth is nowhere near the same as watching people onscreen get gratuitously slaughtered.

My friend and I did plan a Sexy Ghost party one Halloween, but only because we consider ourselves clever and satirical. Besides, my ghost was more eerie than sexy, showing no skin, unlike the Sexy Ebola Nurse in this unintentionally creepy ad:

Questionable Costume

I wanted to write a high-brow post with Venetian masks, all Eyes Wide Shut and mysterious. I wanted to tell you about the days before The Exceptionally Tall Man, when I nursed one semi-deliberate heartache after another, setting myself up with emotionally unavailable men, or myself being emotionally unavailable. I was going to write it as if all the personages were in a sixteenth century masked ball, dancing around each other like the workings of a clock.

One fucker in particular — I’m mad at him, so I’m calling him a fucker — was all about a good time, and possibly, wasn’t a very deep human. But I never got to know for sure because he was well-practiced in wall-building and kept me out. If here and there I fashioned a door to get in, a fight would ensue between us and we’d become incommunicado for months. Such ugly fun. Naturally, I was addicted.

I’m definitely not immune to addiction, even if I like to boast about onscreen gore not being one.

When are we ever addicted to something good? (Nope, Halloween candy doesn’t count because tasting good isn’t the same as being good.)

Gunmetal Geisha - Vampires

Back then, I wanted to be addicted to exercise and punctuality, but no, I was addicted to my own mind’s torture. Recognizing that my instruments of self-torture were interchangeable, especially if they were guys, did nothing to cure the problem. Not right away. I either had no feelings for them or too much feeling. We, men and women both, mysteriously but commonly, have the masochistic tendency to pick the most remote humans on whom to dump our “too much feeling.”

But what sweet heaven of relief when we get it right.

Until getting right, I for one spent many hours reading into insert-a-dude’s every single word or gesture. That’s like finding one grain of sand and building an entire imaginary castle around it. The result? You end up romanticizing people who smell like bong water.

So in my sixteenth century masquerade, I would’ve romanticized the probably-not-very-deep fucker into a jester disguised as king to an empty court. I gleaned clowning and isolation in him, or clowning because of isolation. The class clown becomes a clown in order to be accepted. Too many “clowns,” I know. Reminds me of the scary clowns with chainsaws stressing the fuck out of me at a Horror Nights venue.

But I digress from my digression.

I speculated he must have had deep emotional issues he kept masked. It activated my empathy, and that in turn, made me love him. In the masquerade ball, he’d be in the corner of the banquet hall, a troubled ghost king from whom a jester split off to venture into the world on his behalf.

Gunmetal Geisha - Ghosts

The end. Of that story. Except in my effort to describe the lonely king’s  paranormal jester, I’m now stuck with the image of a creepy, clowning, undeveloped conjoined twin. A kuato. Thanks, Halloween.

I told you that story because it was in my notes from two years ago under “Halloween and Masquerade.” I’ve got a checklist of stuff to get out of me, even if they’ve become old hauntings and irrelevant demons. Though the earth has circled the sun twice now, my caped personages in Venetian masks never came to pass as metaphors in some high-brow analysis of our propensity for games and masquerade. Ah well. I can embrace the cheaper thrills once in a while like the Halloween candy corn I deigned try for the first time in my…thirties.

I’ve already accepted that these blog posts are never about just one thing, so notes be damned. I only meant to come here to show off my homemade Halloween costumes put together for dirt cheap.

Gunmetal Geisha - Halloween Costumes

Meandering into horror movies, addiction and foolish heartache happened on its own, not unlike the movements of a Ouija planchette. The unofficial Gunmetal Geisha criterium seems to be a tangential meld of levity, profundity and absurdity.

Much in the same way, my Halloween costumes follow a set of guidelines. For me, Halloween isn’t just an excuse to dress up and take selfies, but yet another creative outlet. My costumes have to be original and put together from scratch, never store-bought, and adhere to the proper Halloween spirit with scary, weird or bizarre elements.

I’ve gone as a murderous Black Widow, and more than once, I’ve gone in drag. On one occasion, I went as a pimp with greased-back hair and a gold tooth. I’ve also been a fly, an alien, a robot and a cubist painting. To really challenge my creativity, I never spend more than $30 on accessories and supplements. The costumes and make-up take hours, sometimes days, to put together. My finished characters give me the satisfaction of any creative endeavor.

Costumes

Last year, I searched the brush in the hills for just the right greenery and branches to weave into a headdress for my Halloween costume. Hours later, dressed as a Wood Nymph, I went on my third date with The Exceptionally Tall Man, embarking on the sweet relief of finally getting it right.

These days, the old demons have been exorcised and I suppose I’m not addicted to anything — other than creativity. So maybe after all, it’s possible to be addicted to good things. Of course, good or bad, all addiction is constant painful yearning.

Yearning without pain? That’s called love.

So as the anniversary of “getting it right,” maybe Halloween is actually my Valentine’s Day.

Gunmetal Geisha - Nymph


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20 comments

  1. Wow. Slow clap.

    1. Thanks!

  2. Your costumes are fantastic and brilliant and beautiful. Like you.

    1. Thank you, Chrissy! I imagine you like dressing up for Halloween too?

      1. Absolutely. I’m a big fan of the handmade costume as well

      2. So is it a surprise and a secret, or you’re gonna tell us? 😉

      3. Brian and I are Beauty and the Beast this year. ❤

      4. Super sweet. Can’t wait for the pictures!

  3. Gretchen Kellaway · · Reply

    I have called you a storyteller and tale spinner and it is so very true. Every word I read of yours is like magic. Truth is in the tales we keep logged in our notebooks!

    Your creativity is inspiring. I grew up in a family that started planning costumes months in advance. A troll doll princess, the white rabbit from Wonderland. My passion for the creativity of this holiday has never ended.. and I hope it never will.

    This year I am only using what I have in my wardrobe- it shall be revealed tomorrow! 😉

    And yes- even the addiction of good things leaves us open and wounded to the world! Bravo!

    1. So what did it end up being?! Where can I see pictures?

      And thanks for the lovely words!

  4. Paul · · Reply

    So cool GG. Great read.

    1. Thanks, Paul.

  5. Dear Wood Nymph,

    I remember you, and your date with the Exceptionally Tall Man, which occurred somewhere around pink clowns and not-the-plane-rides, and was as though something in your life had caught on a hook, but a good one – the one which Alice is reaching for (but never grasps) as she falls through the rabbit-hole.

    And I’m glad.

    I also kinda miss you, but we still know where each other are, and we’re still both transient in that way, but perhaps I’ll do the smart thing and reach out. You never know.

    Anyway, Gigi, I’m delighted, as ever, to read all that you meld into beauty here 🙂

    1. I love it when you read my stuff, Lizzi. It feels like you ride each individual wave, not just the surface.

      1. I think sometimes I do. They’re all beautiful, your waves 🙂

  6. You’re actually, like, a good writer, you know what I mean?? Like I read you and just know that. You’re personal and revealing without being self-indulgent. You’re lengthy (for a blog post) without being boring.
    I’m loving the sexy ebola costume XD. Here in NYC the sexy pizza rat costumes were all the rage.
    “Yearning without pain? That’s called love.” Nicely said 🙂

    1. I am pretty lengthy for blog posts, it’s true. It’s really difficult for me to write under 1200 words. Thanks for your comment and for reading — hope you come back.

  7. Epic costumes. Simply epic.

    1. Thanks, Dawn! It’s nice to see you.

  8. I really need to do something with a beestung lip next year… No, that is not all I got out of this but your costumes and makeup are the bomb…

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