Costume dramas

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

Source: Aimo at Deviant Art

One of ironies of my life is the older I get, the more costume parties I am invited to. Not a month goes by without someone insisting the only way to celebrate reaching the same age their mother was when she had them is to dress as my favourite superhero.

Come Monday morning there is an exhibition’s worth of photos on Facebook of otherwise sensible public servants and engineers dressed as Breaking Bad characters.

It’s not how young Ben imagined adulthood back in the early 1990s. I pictured myself getting married (tick), buying a house (tick) and owning a flying car (seriously, who do we have to give millions of dollars in government bailouts to to make this happen?).

What I didn’t realise was in-between mortgage repayments and Ikea excursions I would be frantically searching for a black vest so the current Mrs Anderson and I could complete our Han and Leia couples costume.

There is a surprisingly logical argument that an introvert like me should welcome costumes parties. It gives you a ready-made topic of conversation, negating the need for awkward small talk about the weather and interest rates.

You can say stuff like “That’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen” or “How do you get it to stay erect?” or “have you always been an Amy Winehouse fan?” but this benefit is more than outweighed by the realisation you are a 32-year-old man dressed as the Blue Power Ranger.

Imagine if a latter-day St Paul was to write an updated Email to the Corinthians today? It would read “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I owned a sweet pair of Wolverine claws”.

Generation Y’s costume fetish is probably linked to the extended adolescence experienced by those of us who think the Berlin Wall is a live recording of a Pink Floyd concert.

We still lived with our parents until our 20s and Hollywood keeps remaking our favourite cartoons as movies so it is logical we still find it appropriate to play dress ups.

Another factor is the previously mentioned Facebook photos. Social media has unsurprisingly socialised us, turning the private into the public.

This means our lives are now a performance and if 18 years in amateur theatre has taught me anything, it is that even the dullest performance can be improved by a colourful costume.

I suppose if I had to choose seeing a worryingly realistic Edward Scissorshands or series of duckfaces I would pick the former but it is on par with having to decides between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my friend is celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary tonight and I have to put on my poker face.

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