Tuesday, May 3, 2011
A Top Hat Is Akin To A Man With A Baby
When next you see me, if ever you see me, don’t be alarmed if I’m wearing a top hat.
I managed to unwittingly double book myself last Saturday night, rsvp-ing in the affirmative to both a 30th and a Farewell. Not wanting to disappoint on either front (though, my lack of arrival anywhere could never truly be titled a ‘Disappointment’ of any variety) I decided to break my Cardinal Going Out Rule.
Painefull’s Cardinal Going Out Rule (CGOR) = Never, ever change venues. People will disperse, your feet will be sore, everyone will either sober up or get messy and you will develop an irrational hatred of whatever music is playing.
The second challenge of the evening, following from the breaking of the CGOR was that while the Farewell required me to come as myself, the 30th demanded that I go in costume… which now that I think about it, is probably in direct violation of my 2nd Cardinal Going Out Rule.
Painefull’s 2nd Cardinal Going Out Rule (CGOR2) = Never dress up in costume to attend something outside of your own home. This is either a rule you understand implicitly, or not. If not, you’re probably not averse to caroling or aggressive PDA either. I think that says a lot about you.
Of course I’ve broken this rule before, but much like setting off a fire alarm or running naked between a bathroom and a bedroom, it should only be done in cases of emergency or confidence bordering on smugness. When breaking this rule I tend to go for the minimalist option – less is less, but it’s also probably more comfortable. I once attended a house party with a Bond theme, and did what I could to blend in by writing the letter ‘M’ on a piece of paper and sticky-taping it to my jeans. I was shocked by how many people had to ask me who I was.
The theme for the 30th was Circus. Jim, who lives for a themed party and relishes an opportunity for a home-made costume, decided to be a Lion. He crafted himself a tail, a mane and some ears, and completed the look with elaborate face paint:
ME: (wandering past the bathroom, and forced to do a double take) What are you doing? Are you… shaving?
JIM: (appalled I have to ask, turns to reveal half his face covered in white paint) No. I’m putting down a base.
I love it when other people over-commit to a dress-up party – it allows me to stand near them while making almost no effort, all the while appearing to make great effort. I simply wore regular clothes and donned a black top hat. Suddenly, Jim’s a Lion and I’m a Ringmaster (“Wow Painefull, you look great, loving the team costuming!”… is how I envision the internal monologue of all who see me under such circumstances).
In all fairness to me, aside from the hat (which I have had resting on the back seat of my car for over a month, for a completely unrelated reason), dressing up as a ring master is kind of tricky. How do you ask friends if they have a whip you could borrow? And do you really want them to actually say ‘yes’?
So first up, the 30th. Lions and Tigers and Mimes, oh my.
Then on to catch up with the Farewell, which has moved on to a rather dodgy establishment (one where I once discovered that, despite any possible soberness, I do indeed own a drunk look). Jim and I assumed we wouldn’t get in. Mostly, we assumed Jim the Lion wouldn’t get in. But for some reason, the shock of his appearance seemed to stop the bouncers from objecting. Then came this exchange with the woman collecting the cover charge from us.
WOMAN: (to Jim) What are you meant to be?
JIM: I’m a lion.
WOMAN: Oh. (turns to me) Are you the wardrobe.
Pause as Jim and I look at the woman quizzically.
ME: Oh, you mean… from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe? Well I suppose it was either that or the witch…
ME: (offering my wrist) I’ll just… take a stamp thanks.
Once inside the establishment, and when not distracted by Fi almost having a rumble with an angry Cougar (while watched by a cowardly Lion), I discovered something odd was happening. Not one, not two, but many men proceeded to approach and engage me in conversation. Like a moth to a flame, they simply couldn’t help but ask about the top hat.
Fi and I were marveling at it. It was the only explanation for the sudden onslaught of male interest. And then, just like that, Fi had an epiphany.
A top hat on a woman is akin to a man with a baby.
As women find men holding babies both sensitive and masculine, men find women in top hats both bizarre but intriguing.
There was practically a line to talk to me. It’s like guys were dying to misunderstand my quips about pulling out rabbits. Who knows, I might have even picked up, had the dance floor not cleared and I suddenly decided to give a Broadway performance (I was in a top hat after all – you can’t just ignore an opportunity like that when you’re in a top hat).
So, given all the benefits, not to mention the show tune opportunities, don’t be surprised if I find a way to fold the top hat into my everyday wardrobe.