Here’s a funny little story about costume challenge in daily life:
Once upon a time, many years ago, I had the priviledge of travelling with a Polynesian Dance Troupe to Hawaii on a dancing gig, but that’s actually a whole other story.
The point is, I was far from home, across the oceans in another country.
One night, on our last afternoon away, we were packing our bags for our flight home the next day and discussing dinner.
Two of us decided we would offer to walk to the local super market down the road and make dinner for everyone in our beachside bungalow.
As we were packing I took note of all our costumes, belts and sarongs and said “wouldn’t it be funny if we dressed ourselves, mixing up our accessories so that we really didn’t match very well, but acted as though we had in fact just dressed ourselves really awesomely, and walk down to the shops like that and do our shopping as if we believed we were totally amazingly stylish and sophisticated?”
My girlfriend responded with a deadly matter of fact “No.Way.”
“really? don’t you think it would be hilarious?”
“yeah” she giggled.
“So, lets do it! Just for fun!”
“No way” she said again. “I’m not doing it”
Oh well, and that was that.
I didn’t want to do it on my own. That would just be weird. Wouldn’t it?
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One week later, I was back home in Bondi cleaning my room. My gorgeous friend Kym, make up artist and latex bodice sculpting artist extrodinaire, dropped around while I was tidying up and started playing with my stuff. She put on an matted old wig she found in one corner and darkly outlined her eyes with an eyeliner pencil she found in another corner. She looked quite mad. It was funny to see her being ditzy in her cute little sweater, tight black jeans and black thongs.
I told her the story of how I tried to convince a friend just the week previously, to dress up in a ricululous manner, and leave the house as if we believed we were the BOMB, and to go and do our shopping like that, “but she wouldn’t, and so we didn’t.”
I continued tidying and thought nothing more of it. After a moment of prancing in front of the mirror, Kym turned to me and said said “Ok then, lets do it!”
I was stunned.
“What? you would go out like that and do your grocery shopping?”
“Yep!” she said.
“But, this is our home! We might run into people we know!”
“So what?” she said.
I didn’t know what to do.
It was one thing to behave like a weirdo on your last night in another country thousands of miles by air and sea from home, but, to do it in your own suburb??
And yet, here was the very same opportunity to do the very thing i was trying to convince another to do, I couldn’t back out now! That wouldn’t be cool!
“Ok” I said, “Lets do it.”
Yeah see? I’m cool.
She squealed and clapped her hands in quick staccato. I’m sure my complexion turned a pale grey.
So then, what angle should I take?
Taking a look at madcap Kymeee, it seemed to make sense that we were two misfits trying to make good in the eastern suburbs of NSW. I looked through my wardrobe and teamed the following pieces of clothing:
I found some preloved elegance in a fluffy white angora jumper recently picked up in an op shop, gathered and puffed at the shoulders with pearls sewn at neatly measured intervals across the chest. Then I pulled out a favourite pair of high waisted 70’s flared jeans unworn and still a deeply indigo blue denim which had been found randomly some afternoon in Bondi, built to cover platform shoes. Please rememeber, high waisted pants were far from de rigueur at the time, scoring some strange looks and double turns.
To this I added a green velvet scrunchie and a side pony tail with puffed out front fringe bit.
Black stilleto shoes.
Who does shopping in stiletto shoes?
They would team well with the flared jeans designed for platform shoes.
My toes peeking out and flash of spikey heels would show the shoes up at every step.
How embarrassing! I could see it, dressing up for the shopping, super tall, towering high, tottering around pushing a shopping trolley.
We had to finish the look with make up.
I powdered my face, and glossed my lips with a frosty pink, and outlined them in a dark brown.
Kym then shaped and pencilled my eybrows.
Already having thick dark eyebrows penciling made them excessively stylised.
They looked amazing!-for stage…in a .. big.. theatre.
We added blue eyeshadow, masses of mascara, tonnes of frosty lip gloss, penciled in a beauty spot above the lip…and away we went.
It was between 4pm and 6pm on a Sunday afternoon in Bondi Junction.
All the way to the shopping center I was freaking out, and kept telling myself, “It’s no big deal, you’re cool, you can do this”
Walking through the shopping center we got to the Super market quickly rushed to the bread section and squatted down where no one could see us, totally freaking out. My brain was like a stuck record: “OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!”
Kym and I looked into each others eyes, filled each others hearts with courage, and told each other it was too late to back out now. This was the first time I saw any glimpse that this may be a difficult exercise for Kymmee to partake in also.
“This is the plan” Kym said “we will take the trolley up and down every single aisle, walking through everypart of the supermarket doing our normal shopping, and once we’ve done that, we have completed our mission. We are not allowed to cut corners to get to what we want. We have to walk down each and every aisle. Got it?”
Too nervous to talk, I nodded, maybe too quickly and put my thumb up to give some indication I was cool with it.
With a twinkle in her eye, she took charge, stood up and started inspecting bread “So I told him not to call me again” she said, chewing some imaginary gum “he’s just like, waaaay too immature for me. He wont let me drive his car anymore, I only crashed it like, three times, he’s just such a wuss, you know?”
I just looked at her and concentrated my energy on steering the trolley.
“and..the last time I had to steal it from him, and, he like, got so mad, like, big deal, you know. it was his fault I scratched it, it wouldn’t have happened if he was cool about it.”
And we were off, starting with the bread section, working through the vegetables to the deli, one tall, fluffy jumpered, high waisted jeaned, evening shoed, frosty glossy pink lipped outlined in brown, beauty spot marked, sylised eyebrowed and velvet scrunchy side ponytailed wanna be glamazon, and a short skinny, curvy little thing with beautifully shapped high arched eyebrows giving a constant look of surprise, tight jeans, thongs, tight sweater and an old matted black wig plonked a top her head, walking through the supermarket just innocently doing their shopping.
I was so proud of my friend Kym, she really kept the ruse up, getting into ditzy head character and taking funny little steps, even the way she inspected groceries was all in character, talking about made up boyfriend issues and offering ditzy head advice about my problems she was making up on the spot.
Every inch of me wanted to cry out “This isn’t really me! I’m just playing a game! This isn’t me!”
But i made myself get into character, though I don’t think I was very convincing. Challenging situations like that tend to have a stunning effect, I was more rolling along the trolley like a zombie, trying to think of ways to contribute to Kym’s funny pantomime.
Two other girls had a crazy reaction to us. They were beside themsleves pointing and laughing, we didn’t really have much of a reaction to them, we just looked at them like they were a bit wierd, by the forth time we passed them they had regained composure and were not reacting to us anymore. I think they might have even felt a bit ashamed of themselves for bit, maybe, realising that perhaps we were just doing our best to fit in.
A couple of times I passed people I had costume dressed for parties, but i don’t think they recognised me.
Whilst standing at the deli mulling over which type of fetta to get, an old friend approached us.
“ladies..” he said, putting an arm around each of us “what’s going on?”
“Oh hi, yah!, what do you mean?”
“Nice make up. Nice hair. Some kind of undercover work or something?”
There was a lengthened pause as my mind just went totally…blank.
“Don’t worry,” he contintued “I wont give you away”
“Oh yah, yah, thanks, thanks, ta”
said Kymee, chewing her fake gum, and slapping away on the lino with her thongs.
Eventually, we had filled our trolley, purchased our goods and away we went.
“WOOHOO!” we said in the car. high fiving each other, “we did it!”
We got totally out of our comfort zone, dressing differently in a public place, losing our ego in moments of satisfying calm, struggling with the desire to be approved of and percieved of as cool.
It was tough, but we faced the challenge, and we won.
Well, we had done our grocery shopping for the week anyway, and that is worth something.
We sat down to a dinner well earned that night, laughing about the way we had individually reacted to the costume challenge.
This was the days before phone cameras and video, such a shame. There would have been some funny images there.
The greatest thing about this challenge is that you could just mix up your own wardrobe, no need to rush out to any hire place to get kitted up.
Use your imagination and mismatch your wardrobe for fullest effect.
Its a cheap and easy way to get your adrenaline running, and at the end, you have a funny story to share one day.
And it’s a really great way to become aware of your ego. To successfully complete the challenge, you have to be able to drop the ego, and not even be aware of the opinions other people may have of you.
Man, it’s a crazy feeling to be out in public dressed as you would not normaly dress, I mean, what if people really thought that it was you?
Why don’t you try it tomorrow?
Just for fun.
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