The thing about having short(ish) hair these days is I can’t dress up like a woman anymore. I guess I could make a really scary bull-dyke transsexual or something, but my heart wouldn’t be in it. Indeed, one of the sad things about getting older is the lack of opportunities to get dressed up at all, and I don’t mean putting on a tie or a tux. I mean parties where you wear crazy-ass shit, smear rouge all over your body, and pretend to be something you are definitely not. We had a Halloween party last year during one of those stupid terrorist alerts JUST so I could dress up as William Henry Harrison (our 9th U.S. president) and Tessa could be Mary Tyler Moore. The joke in that getup was “Tippacanoe and Mary Tyler Moore too” which would only be partially funny to American History grad students, but at least we’re trying, for chrissake!
The cross-dressing thing is just a lark – lest my small, disturbed readership think I’m some sort of basement Ed Wood but I confess it’s way more fun than it ought to be. I was an Indie Rock Chick for Halloween 1994, complete with nose ring, baby Gap dress and tights, and I got “hit on” by the dude who ran the 7-11 in Chatham County, NC (which made me consider the night a success). My friend Sage Hamilton took a picture of me that night, and when they got the film back, her ultra-Southern mother looked at my image and said, “oh, that unfortunate woman.”
In Chapel Hill, there was always a reason to dress up for one reason or another, I found myself as a “Clockwork Orange” droogie, John Lennon in the “Beatles for Sale” era, the Heatmiser from “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” Amadeus’ bastard brother Ed Mozart, and about five really horrifying women.
Usually, Chapel Hill’s best getups are a group project, and no, I’m not talking about three sorority chicks dressed up as “black-eyed peas” or “white trash” and thinking they were fiendishly clever. Ours were brilliant. One of them was the recreation of the cover of “Abbey Road,” but the best was the representation of the entire cast of “The Dukes of Hazzard”:
Clay as Bo Duke, Matt as Luke, Jon as Waylon Jennings, me as Grandpa Jesse, Shay as Daisy Duke, Frisch as Cooter, and Lindsay as Boss Hogg. Not pictured: Ted as Flash the Dog
Okay, so we didn’t have Roscoe P. Coltrane or Enos, but given that it was the coldest Halloween in history, we showed incredible nads pulling it off at all (Clay said his hair was in “full Wopat“). It was a weird Sunday night Halloween, and people downtown were getting a nasty kind of drunk. In my only act of willful battery ever, I actually had to knock a guy unconscious with Cooter’s toolbox, but that’s only because he jumped on Daisy Duke and then drunkenly lunged for my testicles. I felt bad because he was so wasted, but if you’re dressed up as someone else, pretty much anything’s possible.
a random ’70s party: me, Stephani Holzwarth and Doug Bryant, circa 1991