The boy in the dress

The trick-or-treaters came in droves this year.  I started to worry that I would run out, because I take pretty seriously having plenty of good Halloween swag for the kids.  I still remember when I was 10 and arrived at a house with my hopeful paper bag, and a couple was exiting the house, well dressed, purse, polished shoes, jewelry.  Going out.  One feigned, “Oh!  Is it Halloween?  I guess we forgot,” and dropped a nickel in my bag.  Then they scuttled to their car to spend the night hunkered down in whatever fancy restaurant they were headed to.

Bad.  That was just bad.  But if you come to my house, you’ll get swag.  Good swag.

One of the clusters of kids who came for candy this year was three boys in their early teens:  two galactic warlords of some sort and their companion wearing an ill-fitting dress and some sloppy girly makeup.

I was immediately put off by the “man in the dress” satire.  Although I was busy handing out candy and not thinking in complete sentences, I was musing something along the line of here’s a young guy who needs someone to contradict his gender paradigm before it becomes so entrenched it can’t be uprooted. But I paused, and more thoughtfully wondered, is he a boy who would really like to wear dresses, beautiful dresses, with tidy makeup, but could only feel safe as a Halloween satire of himself?

Either way, it was a troubling costume.  It was either a parody of a girl or a parody of a boy’s silence about his identity.  I couldn’t help notice that he did seem very sad.


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