31 October 2007

Hallowe'en can be a real drag...

Today, in celebration of one of my favourite holidays - yet more scanned photos from 2001 (and 1998, and 2002) showing my complete lack of imagination in Hallowe'en costumes. They may, however, reflect two of my past (and unsuccessful) career aspirations: drag king and drag queen. Apparently, I wasn't butch enough for the former nor femme enough for the latter. Oh well.

1. Hallowe'en 2001

a. Prince

As an October Fools' Joke on the only male co-worker in the office I was then working in (hereinafter "The Guy From Ottawa"), my four female workers and I conspired to dress and act like him all day. We were all present and ready when he arrived - the above photo shows me greeting him as he came in for the day. The pink thing in my right hand was the closest thing he had to a bible... a very fascinating pamphlet on the topic of above-guideline rent increases.

The co-workers would not consent to a group shot at the time. Such wimps. My nickname at that particular workplace was Exalted Ruler* and accordingly I believed I could bully everyone into this... but NO.

However, fun was had by all for the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon as we all took turns pretending to be The Guy From Ottawa:

Viz. me aping The Guy From Ottawa's typical pose of gazing out the window when he should have been working, dammit!

(b) Princess

But the fun did not stop there! We women had brainstormed and come up with a nefarious plan - that I would don my evening Hallowe'en costume and then come back in pretending to be an aggrieved costumer that The Guy From Ottawa had met with earlier in the week.

We managed to fool him!! (and, man, is it ever funny to see how people react when you pretend that they know you and they don't but are trying to be polite...you know what I mean, don't you?). Anyway, I managed to keep up the charade for a couple of minutes but then blew it by starting to laugh.

By this point, I sensed that The Guy From Ottawa was probably ready to kill me, so I hightailed it right down to the Harvey's for a double burger and fries. I even brought him back a Diet Coke!

And here is the costume in more or less its full glory (sans blue fun-fur jacket):

2. The Royal High Empress Kristina of Sparkleville

I do love my floor length dresses. So much so that I wore this one (acquired at Thrift Villa in Parkdale for $20 - a mere bagatelle!) two years running for Hallowe'en. How lame is that? Having said that, I did make significant modifications to the costume as a whole - I'm sure you'll notice the difference right away.

(a) 2002 - Drag Queen

In which Kristina almost cuts it as a true drag queen. If only she would wear makeup!!!!

And - note the fuschia cowboy boots with the dress. Tres chic.

(b) Glenda

The costume design modification is rather obvious here, I think. Can't remember what the button said. Probably "Je suis locataire et je vote" ("I'm a tenant and I vote" in French - I had dozens from a past workplace at one point). It is a very little known fact that landlords are everywhere - even in Oz.

So - two completely different costumes, right?

3. Hallowe'en in June

This is a shot of me heading to some "Hallowe'en in the Summer" party during Pride Week 2001:

This was actually meant to be a costume. I don't remember what, though. Probably "sunburned freak with shades she thinks are cool who blew it again when trying to cut her own hair".

The next photo, on the other hand, does not really represent a costume, unless you count me trying to look like a cool European goddess a "costume", which may well be the case:

It is a little known fact that all of the Toronto (nay, the Canadian) glitterati pose for secret photos in the basement of the 519 Community Centre next to the diaper changing table in the ladies'. Don't tell anyone, or I might have to kill you.

And now for a short break to keep our sponsors happy (note: this may not make sense to my American or overseas friends. If not, feel free to E-mail me and I'll explain it for you, if you really want to know, that is):

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Kerr's Halloween Candy
Originally uploaded by mezzoblue

(You know, the stuff that everyone saves until last from the Hallowe'en loot bag if they haven't already forced it on their little brother.)

Taste that stale sugar. Feel the molasses taffy rip out whatever teeth you have left in your head. Ah, those Hallowe'en memories.

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Now, back to our regularly scheduled programme.


I repeat... this is not a costume.

What is it then, you ask? It is a very, very rare sighting of me in robes - approximately 3 minutes after I became a full-fledged lawyer - 11:00 a.m. or so. The fact that I look like the world's happiest penguin is probably related to the fact that I was heading to the nearest pub by 11:05 a.m (minus the robes, of course).

In the five years following, I have never since had to don robes. My gigs do not require that I attend at "big court" as some of us lawyers who only really deal with administrative tribunals lovingly refer to it, so I am actually not allowed to wear robes in any current work capacity. You cannot imagine how devastating I find this. Really.

5. This isn't a costume either

Just to complete the perspective, here is my fabulous law school graduation outfit from 1998, including furry collar thingy (anyone know the rationale for that?!). Note that when you shell out $30K plus to go to school (and please don't ask what I did to afford that kind of coin unless you have at least two hours to spare...), they give you a little loot bag at the end of it. Can't recall the contents though - probably a tie clip, a flyer saying "let us frame your degree for you for only $50.00" and an alumni donation registration form.

Whatever happened to the days where they actually gave you GRANTS to go to university, anyway?

Sorry - no photos of me in undergraduate drag. That's because I blew it off. My parents were furious when they figured this out some two months later. At least one of them got over it, though. ;-)

On that happy note, I remain,

your faithful and obedient servant,


A PS AND A WARNING: the following is only very tangentially related to Hallowe'en (as JJ would say, "nothing changes", eh?). However, it is related to secret handshakes and probably the odd costume or three, sort of.

And now for the footnote:
* in case you bothered to click the "Exalted Ruler" link above and wondered why you were referred to a page discussing the history of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks (hereinafter BPOE or Elks) - obviously you didn't read that page too carefully. Specifically, under the heading "Fraternal Traditions of the BPOE" lies the following explanation:

The BPOE adopted several fraternal traditions similar to the Masonic Fraternity. An altar, decorated with the Holy Bible, is found in the center of every Lodge throughout Elkdom. Old Glory served as the altar's drapery until 1956, when it was given its own distinct place of honor to the right of the altar. An "Exalted Ruler" governs each Elks Lodge as the "Worshipful Master" does in a Masonic Lodge[emphasis added].

Pardon? "What exactly does that explain?", you ask.

Is it because I admire the symbolism involved?

A most fitting representation, the stately elk is, for a distinctively American, intensely patriotic, family oriented organization subscribing to the cardinal principles of Elkdom, "Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity."

Er, no.

Is it because I would love to belong to a group which started off as the "Jolly Corks", a name borrowed from a bar trick?

Well, that's more like it - but nope.

The explanation is, in fact, far more boring than that, as you may have gathered. I had occasion many years back to work at The Arthritis Society (as part of a "workfare" deal which had just been introduced to the province. Thanks, Mike Harris. Having said that, to be fair, The Arthritis Society was a great place to work). That job primarily involved hitting up corporations to hold Casual Fridays and... writing to service organizations.

As regards the latter duty, I was fascinated to learn that when hitting these orgs up for money, you will not get anywhere unless you address the leader in the appropriate fashion. Hence, I made (somewhat of) a living writing reams of letters which began "Dear Exalted Ruler", "Dear Worthy Grand Knight", "Dear Worshipful Master", etc. Everything, in other words, other than Dear Tremendous Fearsome Water Buffalo" and "Dear High Faluting T. Rex"

And so, six years or so later, I insisted on my favourite as a work nickname.

And - if you want a slight chuckle, check out these Elk history and humour tidbits.

Amazing what one can find on the internet. Frankly, I can't say I'm too upset that they don't let women into these groups.

Wishing you a wonderful Hallowe'en, and don't eat too much of that molasses taffy or your teeth might fall out! (Thanks, Mezzoblue, by the way, for the flickr photo of the Kerr's candy. I'm the only other Canadian who actually likes the stuff, apparently. You are not alone.)