Who’s Behind the Mask?

Halloween is one of my all-time favorite holidays.  After all, when else is it perfectly acceptable to walk around in 6-inch stiletto heels, black fishnet stockings, and bright red lipstick?

I was never one to have especially cool or witty costumes as a kid.  No, I was a kid who usually wore those store-bought costumes.

Except one year.  I went as a housewife.  I put on my mom’s long baby blue quilted bathrobe and her shag wig – complete with rollers and shower cap, applied some coral lipstick, and stuck a cigarette in my mouth.  Ta da!  Housewife!  Now what does that say about my perceptions of a woman’s role in society in the mid 1970’s? 

If I were to choose a costume today though, I’d dress in a long red sequin gown, like Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and call myself a lounge singer.  Or maybe I’d go as a teacher.  A hip New Yorker.  Or a grandma.  Things I always wanted to be in my real life, but never got the chance. 

Each of us puts on a costume every day.  From the fashions we choose to the make up we apply in the morning.  Everyone is walking around every day with a mask of sorts.  Whether it’s putting on a brave face in front of our children, or holding back tears when our boss criticizes a project we’ve worked hard on. 

Monday, after I pack the Halloween costumes away, after too much candy has been eaten, and I’m back at the same of old office with the same old cappuccino in hand I’ll be wondering what’s behind my co-workers every day masks.

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