Coming up with a Halloween costume has always been difficult for me. I don’t know how to sew and I don’t like the mass produces costumes available at the party stores or online, especially cause the ones for women are always so trashy looking, why be a nurse when you can be a slutty nurse? I don’t know. Anyway, I try really hard every year to come up with something different that I can piece together myself with thrift store finds or whatever I can cobble together from my own wardrobe and this year it was even more important to figure out something epic because I was going to a party.
I’ve been a gypsy a number of times until I realized how racist that is. I’m working on being woke and it’s amazing how many things I don’t know that I don’t know. So anyway, this year I knew I couldn’t fall back on that old standby and I started trying to figure out what I could be. I decided that if I could just get an electric guitar, I had everything I needed to be a Robert Palmer girl: red lipstick, gel for my hair, black heels, dark nylons, smokey eye makeup, and a little black dress.
Spoiler alert! There are no electric guitars for sale under $100. Not even ones that don’t work anymore. Not in thrift stores or garage sales or Facebook Marketplace. None. So I did what any girl with no money and a deadline would do, I made one. I got some cardboard and cut one out using a sharpie to color on some details. This was brilliant, way lighter than an actual guitar and much cheaper. I was all set.
The thing is, I was pretty proud of myself. I mean, how many people would even think of Robert Palmer not to mention that iconic video from before I was even born. So you can’t even begin to imagine my surprise when I got to the party and there was another chick dressed almost exactly like me. Only difference was she actually had an electric guitar, way rad. Luckily she was super cool about the whole thing. In fact, we made a killer duo as we stood side by side doing the whole sway back and forth thing that the girls in the video did, you know that like lean, pop, lean thing? We had it down! We totally exchanged deets so we could get together sometime and then she decided to go stow her guitar cause it was heavy and cumbersome, making me even more grateful I hadn’t spent money on one.
So anyway, there I was looking fantastic and having so much fun when some dude came up from behind me and grabbed my ass! I bellowed something like “what the hell?!” and when I turned around you could tell the guy was super shocked too and he said something like, “er not mahla?” before stumbling off in another direction.
Marla! He thought I was the other Robert Palmer girl. Oops. That was awkward. Oh well, no biggie. I mean, my butt was still stinging where he’d grabbed it, but I’d survive, nothing a little more Fireball and Red Bull couldn’t cure. I went in search of a top up and found the whiskey was out. I was grabbing a beer from the ice bucket when I heard “you bitch!” behind me. I turned to see what the hubbub was about and as I did so, a hand slapped across my cheek a bit of nail catching in a scratch.
“Ouch!” I exclaimed, putting my palm to my cheek and checking for blood.
“Oh my god! Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I thought you…oh geez, are you okay? Here lemme get you some ice.” The girl who’d just assaulted me was cute, in that way that all the beautiful girls wish they were cause they now their beauty will fade but the cute girl will always be cute. Her glare had been replaced with raised eyebrows and a lip trapped between her teeth as she rushed to put ice in a napkin and hold it to my face.
We stood there in stunned silence for a minute, well, I mean, we were silent, but the party was so loud you can’t even imagine. Someone had the bass up way too loud so it was impossible to say which song was playing, but whatever it was you could feel it in your bones. Finally I asked, “what’d Marla do?”
“You know her? Is this like a group costume?”
“Yeah, I mean no. I met her here, but we didn’t know each other before. Coincidence,” I stammered. “So, what’d she do?” I asked again.
“It’s a long story,” she looked me in the eyes and kind of shuddered before saying, “I should just let it go. She’s not worth it.”
“I could give you her number?” I said, remembering Marla’d given it to me earlier.
Now, the girl really smiled, a bashful and sweet and sincere smile, “that’s okay, really. I need to let it go. But thank you.” She came up beside me and reached down for two beers, opening one and handing it to me.
I’d forgotten all about getting a beer, the one I’d grabbed right before she hit me was broken and empty on the ground beside me. “Thanks,” I said.
“Cheers,” she tipped her beer towards mine.
Several beers later we were still hanging out. Turns out her name is Maya, same as me only pronounced different. We had the same taste in music and went to the same coffee shop, it was crazy we’d never run into each other, “drive thru!” we both said and laughed. By this time I was super drunk and I’d been mistaken for Marla a few more times but had the great good luck of Maya’s support and protection. We were sitting back to back on a fountains edge when she asked, “there’s something’s been bugging me all night, I gotta know, who are you?”
I turned my body round to face her, confusion written all over my face, “I’m Maya?”
“No, girl,” she snort laughed, “no, I mean, your costume. Who are you supposed to be anyway?”
I started laughing too, “that girl from the Arnold Palmer video!”
“Who’s Arnold Palmer? You mean like the lemonade guy?”
“No, no, no, from that old music video,” I stood up on shaky legs and started trying to do the lean-pivot-lean only it wasn’t coming out too great, “the lights are on, but you’re not home,” I sang loudly and off key.
We were both laughing so hard I thought I’d pee myself.