The New M.E. Generation

{October 27, 2008}   Costume Change 8 – Party time!

I met with Dina and two other girls in a house and we all drove together to the party. Dina was a Candy Corn Witch, followed by Paris Hilton and a Cat.

We parked our car in a lot across from the venue and walked to the check-in point that allows you to enter the museum. The party is held in the indoor center courtyard of the mansion and its gardens. Part of the outdoor area is covered with tents.

The party had already started when we were finally checked and the place was filled with every imaginable outfit you could think of. You name it, it was there: short, long, sexy, skimpy, politically correct or not so correct, and whatever else in between.

I was very excited and nervous to be attending the party for the first time. It was also the first occasion that I was at an event without my ‘x’. I somewhat struggled with the body issue, but after seeing outfits that showed way more skin than mine, eventually I was able to get over it and enjoy the night.

I also thought I would cross paths with my ‘x’ sister-in-law, but she was nowhere to be found. Funny, she never missed these parties for anything in the world. It seemed that now the roles have reversed; I am single and she’s married. She probably fell into the marriage trap or maybe her beloved brother reminded her that these parties ‘are for young single people,’ which she is not anymore.

“I don’t like it,” said my then spouse. “It’s too tight on you and makes your ass look big.”

Just when I thought it had sank to the bottom of the ocean, the body issue resurfaced faster than a torpedo launched from a submarine.

I’m standing in front of the mirror outside the dressing rooms. The saleswoman who helped me with the costume is speechless and so is everyone else who heard my “x’s” remark.

I kept looking at myself in the mirror and nothing crossed my mind. Now what?

What happened in-between this incident and the night of the party is now all a blur in my mind. He ended up dressing up as Neptune and me, yes, as The Little Mermaid, but not the first version. The final choice was more like the character in the movie with a halter-top and a long skirt that covered my legs. He chose that costume to complement mine.

The weeks previous to the party I was doing push-ups, walking, dieting, trying to look better for him. All guests once again complemented how great I looked, everyone except him.

What I do remember is grabbing the DJ’s microphone and singing my lungs out to Donna Summer’s ‘Last Dance.’ I needed to vent out my emotions and this was the only way I had to do it. I didn’t let anyone else get a hold of the microphone. This was my only chance to be on the spotlight for a few minutes and I went for it.

This party was another total success. I don’t recall if he thanked me for the party.

10 months later he was gone.

His sister also stepped out of my life. Neither during the first separation nor when my ‘x’ left me for good, did she made an appearance of any kind. No ‘I wish you the best’ or offering me anything that could help me along the way during that difficult period.

Like my former spouse, she also became and ‘x’. She was crossed out and is now non-existent in my life.

Two years later in 2006, (what’s his name) was turning 40. It was time for another party. I was determined to make it better than the first one. I started planning way in advance and paid attention to every detail.

Finding another costume became a challenge again. Since I was lucky with the ‘I Dream of Jeannie‘ one two years back, I decided to venture to the same costume store.

After literally going over every imaginable alternative, the last costume I tried on once again saves the day: a grown-up version of the Little Mermaid. The costume is a green, tight, long, strapless dress. All I needed was a wig and crown to complete it.

“You have the perfect body for this one,” says the saleswoman. “You should rent it.”

I returned home all excited, feeling happy I have found ‘it.’ I tell (him) that he needs to check it out and get his as well. I’m confident that he’s going to like it.

Not so fast…

The day of the party arrived in 2004 and everything turned out as planned. The guests really took their time to ‘get their act together.’ Everyone thanked me for getting invited, and congratulated me for all my efforts in getting this event together. They also expressed how great I looked.

I see his youngest sister, the one who never missed the big bash, dressed in a full bodysuit. I took a good look at her thighs and ass, and realized they’re bigger than mine.

So it’s ok for her to be wearing a costume like that, but not his wife, the one who is supposed to be ‘first’ in your life above everything. The one you married for better or worse.

I kept looking at all the women and funny enough, their costumes are pretty much covering their whole body. I’m basically the only one showing some skin with a bra top and see through pants. In other words, I was wearing the sexiest costume of the night.

Then the DJ plays ‘my song,’ Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie In A Bottle.’
‘I feel like I’ve been locked up tight
For a century of lonely nights
Waiting for someone to release me.
I’m a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way honey.
Gotta like what you do.’

‘STOP!’ (as Britney says in her ‘Crazy’ song followed by a record scratching.) Is this about me?

Yes, I’ve been locked up tight in a relationship for over 10 years that had made me feel more like a century. When he left the year before, did he actually ‘released me’ from the loneliness I was feeling?

He was definitely not rubbing me the right way and I was not liking how his comments were making me feel. All that was left for him to do, like the ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ character, was to blink his eyes and disappear again from our relationship.

It’s still 2004 and I make a second attempt at a costume store. In this one there’s both the choice of renting or buying. I also make the wrong choice of bringing my ex-significant other along.

He already knew the costume that he wanted: the one of the police snitch, Huggy Bear, from the Starsky and Hutch movie. Because it was released that same year, he had no problem finding it.

Me, I struggle with everything, including his comments. I can’t understand why he is tapping on my body so much.

I literally tried everything, but most of them are the same short dresses he says I don’t have the legs or body to wear. He puts his lips up at all of them.

Then, the last one I decided to try, the ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ TV show character, fits me perfectly.

Better yet, it has pants that cover my legs (introductory theme song please).

I asked (him), “What do you think?” (I’m excited and confident he’ll give me ‘two thumbs up’).

“Fine, get it. I want to get out of here.”

That’s it? No ‘you look nice,’ ‘cute,’ or anything else?

I tried not to get affected by what’s happening. I kept repeating myself that it’s his birthday party. We paid and left.

I did get my wish of dressing up for a Halloween party years later in 2004, but not for the big one.

My then spouse and I had just completed remodeling our house and he wanted to celebrate his birthday, which is very close to Halloween, in a combined costume-birthday party.

“When I was a kid, my birthday parties always celebrated both, and they were a lot of fun,” he always said.

We planned the event in much detail and were thrilled about our first major party in our newly remodeled home. Shortly before the actual date we were only missing our costumes.

So off we went costume hunting. We made a first stop at a vintage store that sells them during October and I tried on a short dress in a size Small that required long white stockings. I came out of the dressing room and he stares at me for a second. He makes a facial expression in which he moves his lips up to clearly communicate of his disapproval.

Then he dropped the bomb. “It makes your thighs look fat.”

I looked again at myself in the mirror. I know I have a Latina body, but am I really that big? I’m still pretty much on the same weight when I married him (115 pounds).

This body issue had been escalating throughout the years, but I never thought he would insult me this way. He also hated doing shopping of any kind and is getting restless. He wanted to leave.

“Forget it! Let’s go.” I tell him very angry.

I’m sitting on the car and kept repeating myself that it was his party, his birthday. He had also briefly separated from me a year earlier. Deep inside I knew I was not happy with my marriage, but I was desperately trying to stay dressed up for the part of a married woman. Even though the show almost ended the year before, I was determined to stay on this character, no matter what.

{October 20, 2008}   Costume Change – Halloween

It’s the Fall of 2002 and that time of the year again. Ah, the change of seasons, leaves turning orange. No more hot weather (at least not in this city). It’s Halloween.

I remember always wanting to go to the big bash held every year in ‘the city.’ The location is the former residence of one of ‘the city’s’ original founders. The mansion was converted into a museum and, along with its gardens, is now a National Historical Landmark. It’s definitely the perfect place for this event.

Every major media covers the event and if your ensemble was showcased, you knew your costume was the ‘it thing.’ But my then spouse always found a way to say no to it.

“Oh, that’s for young, single people, like my youngest sister,” my ‘x’ would say.

“We’re not that old and she’s only a few years younger than you. And besides, just because we’re married doesn’t mean that we can’t go.”

“Yeah, but…” (There was always a ‘but’).

Why was he using the marriage as an excuse for not taking me to this party? Why are people supposed to become something else after they tie the knot?

Then I looked at his younger sister. What’s the deal here? She’s looked at as if she had the perfect single life: did her post-graduate degree in Europe, landed a high-paying job, she’s apparently loaded with friends all over the world, travels constantly and party hards.

She had everything back then, except a man. How bad was it? If we were together somewhere, like in a bar, men would hit on me, not here.

She wouldn’t miss this party for anything. The whole thing of supposedly being the mastermind behind the group’s costume ensemble elevated her to a higher status among friends and family. She impressed everyone except me.

And, much like her brother, she was thin-obsessed. They were both constantly exercising and questioning how good they physically looked. In comparison to him, she had fatter thighs and a bigger ass. She was not all happy with her body and wished it could be different.

Me, I wanted to go to the Halloween party, period. Why couldn’t my spouse grant me this wish?

et cetera