A month after we moved to Los Angeles, Mike decided that we should meet his college buddies in Vegas for Halloween. While hanging out with a bunch of dudes in a casino may not be appealing to most women, it frankly seemed exciting that our new life on the west coast meant that weekend jaunts like these were simply an impetuous drive away.
I spent the week prior busy on my first editorial assignment covering California fashion and, while I do love a good costume, I was too focused on proving myself as an LA writer to think about putting together the elaborate getup that Mike assured me was required for Halloween nightlife in Sin City.
Luckily, we moved to LA for Mike to pursue his dream of acting, so he suddenly found himself with a lot of free time and enthusiastically volunteered to pick up costumes for the both of us.
“Don’t get me anything slutty,” I told him. “I want to be a little sexy…but also cool.”
“You got it,” he said.
“Like a pirate,” I added. “I want to be a pirate. Aaaarrghh.” Sex appeal has always alluded me.
“Don’t worry about it. I can handle Halloween costumes,” Mike assured me.
I still remember getting out of the car as he dropped me off at an event I was covering and as I swung my legs out of the door I yelled, “Just an eye patch will work!”
Quietly, I had recently purchased a very chic, leather Armani vest at a sample sale and I could picture zipping it up with nothing more than a pushup underneath. I would show just enough cleavage to be revealing, as my boobs had yet to succumb to motherhood, but paired with cutoffs the Armani would keep things classy. A prude pirate I would be!
We drove to Vegas the following weekend and headed to the room to prepare for the all-night escapades. I was laying out my cutoffs and vest, wishing that I had asked Mike to pick up a sword to complete my look, when Mike excitedly said, “I got us the best costumes you have ever seen!”
“What do you mean?” I asked foolishly, with no anticipation of the humiliation that was to come, despite the sense of shame that I am aware Mike innately lacks. “Didn’t you pick up an eye patch?
“An eye patch? No way! I got something for us to be together,” he said with a genuine and heartfelt smile.
I can vividly picture myself standing in the hotel room thinking – that’s just so sweet. His moronic friends are mammogram machines (classy and tasteful) and, with no care of what they would think of him, Mike continues to show his commitment as my partner, even on Halloween.
Then he said, “These are going to blow your mind. They are the best costumes ever.”
Mike then reached into his suitcase and pulled out two giant onesies. One pink. One blue.
“I don’t understand,” I muttered.
“We’re enormous babies!” he cried, clearly misunderstanding what I didn’t understand, and then blissfully handed me my bonnet, pacifier and rattle.
In fairness, this would have been a humorous costume if we were anywhere else. But we were in Las Vegas, where every woman’s costume consists of nothing more than a G-string and pasties. Women in Vegas literally go as naked on Halloween. I was being discreet in my partially zipped leather pirate vest. The giant pink onesie? It was flannel and long sleeved.
“I’m not wearing that,” I told him.
“It’s hilarious” he insisted.
“People will be laughing at me, not with me,” I pleaded. “You have to get me something else.”
“Don’t worry, it has a butt flap,” was his means of reassurance.
I padded downstairs to the casino in my feetsie pajamas to wait for our group to gather and sat down against a wall, my arms wrapped around my knees like a petulant child, watching the traditional and more appropriate parade of nipple-tassels and thongs. Mike happily remembers walking toward me and seeing me in my pigtailed bonnet being taunted by some beefcake in nothing more than French cuffs and a bowtie. The clever muscleman was pointing at me and whining, “Awww…look at the baby.” Mike lovingly recalls how I, without shame or irony, dropped my rattle and flipped the guy the bird.
From there we headed to the club where his roommate assured us we were on the VIP list. Picture this: A bouncer is standing outside of the hottest night club in Las Vegas and more than twenty single dudes approach, including Cheech and Chong, Buzz Lightyear, what looks like a few of The Village People, a human condom (I can’t) and the aforementioned mammogram machine. And the only female in their midst is visibly pissed off and wearing a giant pink onesie. After an hour on that line, the bouncer finally said, “I’ll let you all in if the baby stops yelling at me.”
Once inside, I stood by the bar all fleece and resentment, taking shots of tequila and bitterly wondering how I ended up in this predicament.
“Excuse me,” said a woman clad in a leather-fringed bikini and cowboy boots.
“Yes?” I asked, adjusting my bonnet and scowling into my drink.
“I just wanted to tell you that I really admire your confidence.”
With a body that would look good in dental floss, this woman was baring more on that dance floor than I do in the shower. She admired the confidence of a grown woman in feety pajamas? And she professed this compliment with no trace of mockery. My costume was so embarrassing that this woman felt compelled to praise my character for wearing it despite the obvious indignity. She assumed that I was making a statement.
Obviously annoyed at the accusation, I stormed outside to find my twin consumed at the blackjack table. By this point, I was on a rampage of mortification and within five minutes you could find us babies in heated debate, Mike defending himself with the sentiment that gambling is for “entertainment purposes,” while I had my finger in his face, carrying on and rattling off all of the designer bags that I could have purchased with the money lost at that table. I was still wearing the bonnet.
I literally spent the whole night as a giant, angry baby. And a drunk one at that.
Yet, I have always looked back on the weekend fondly. I can remember feeling secretly touchedthat Mike always wanted me with him, with no regards for his reputation – or my dignity, for that matter.
At twenty-five years old, I had a devoted boyfriend who didn’t consider going to Vegas with his buddies without me, even though I was the kind of girlfriend that would have encouraged it. Why wouldn’t I go with him to a club where scantily clad women dance in cages suspended from the ceiling? (In hindsight, this deserved more speculation on my part.) And it didn’t occur to him to leave me out of the comedy when he chose those costumes – as far as he was concerned, the fun and the funny were more so when we were both in on the joke.
The truth is, for better or for worse, we’ve long been each other’s sidekicks. The comic foil to execute a good laugh or the partner to lean on when life seems less funny. And, even when I’m a being a big baby, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I having been wearing these Stubbs & Wootton smoking slippers in red velvet for decades. They work with jeans or with a pirate costume: