Monday, September 8, 2008

Jump Left, Step Right, Hands on Hips, Knees in Tight

It looks like the abbreviated instructions for the Time Warp, but it's actually the manner by which I squeeze into a costume for RT.

If you are a regular Romance Times attendee/devotee, you'll know the week is filled with elaborately themed costumes parties. People plan a year in advance for these shindigs - fairy wings, heels, makeup, glitter, the works. It is truly the best time of the year for a writer, be he/she an NYT maven, a prolific eBook champ, or an aspiring novelist, to feel like a movie star and have a good time.

That said, I hate costumes. I don't say this to be a spoilsport, or because my self-body image is that far below Bob Uecker's RBI. I am just not a girly-girl dress-up person. I like sweatpants, I like my comfortable T-shirts and black Vans. I don't wear makeup, ever. I do absolutely nothing to my hair. Even if I wanted to, I don't have the skill or patience for it, but I really don't mind.

Also, I'm damn cheap. I get that from my father, but for him the thriftiness could be understood. He was one of twelve kids growing up in post-Depression Kentucky. He shopped at the Goodwill and bought generic everything. Back in the 70s, generic store brands were nothing like they are today, there were no feminine names attached to them like Sara Lee or Linda Lou or Linda Lovelace. If you wanted generic ice cream you bought a white box with black block letters: ICE CREAM. If you weren't so adventurous you'd buy a box that had the flavor listed on it.

Anyway, for the Houston RT, I conceded to one costume, for the fairy ball. That wasn't much of an effort on my part, however. I found nice deep violet Ophelia dress on sale at the Heritage store, and just slipped it on. No wings, no halos, no glitter. At the end of the night I shoved it in my bag and went back to work editing.

This year, there is buzz on one romance board about RT '09's party themes. Seems every year the talk turns to more elaborate costuming - who plans to outdo whom - and who hopes not to commit any fashion faux pas like you know who last year. I really want to be excited this time, but that inherited stingy streak has shot up my spine. Money, money, money. It's going to cost me plenty to drive the 12 hours to Orlando, plus room and registration, plus promo material, plus Saturday Disney tickets. Do I really want to add the expense of costumes on top of that, clothes I may wear only once? I suppose I could be creative and dig through the closet for what I already have. I may end up doing that.

If you haven't heard already, here are the themes for the coming year:

Ellora's Cave Party: Jungle

Me Tarzan, me want food. Heh. I'm curious about this one. How does one dress for the jungle? Is it an African or South American jungle? Will there be EC models in gorilla suits? Open bar with banana daiquiries? More than likely I won't make this party since it's on a Wednesday and I'll be en route to the conference that day, so that's one night saved.

Vampire Ball: Rocky Horror

There was a brief time in college where I actually did enjoy costuming, and that was when I regularly went to see RHPS at the Regency Mall theaters. A group attempted a legitimate "cast" each week. By no means was it as elaborate as the likes of Sam Piro's group in New York, but it seems each show brought a new prop to use. Somebody found a bride of Frankenstein wig, somebody else borrowed his grandmother's wheelchair...eventually it all came together. I see this theme and imagine the ballroom will be filled with 600 Columbias, because everybody wants to be Columbia. Argue for Frank all you want, but admit it. You love that sequined tail coat.

For this, it will be a challenge to be original. I could play it safe and get a tux for the Time Warp, or may I'll dress as Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt (hap shit, will travel!).

Dorchester party: Beach party

No way in f***ing hell are you getting me into a swimsuit.

Fairy Ball: Seelie and Unseelie

I'll be the posture-pedic one. Can you tell I'm out of ideas? This is what I get for sticking to contemporary fiction - I don't know the lingo and therefore will look like an idiot come party time. Where's that Ophelia dress? I'll just slap some glitter on it.

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