I have very sensitive skin. I don’t mean sensitive like I can’t use certain products or I get a rash—well, only if they have banana or avocado in them, but that’s related to my latex allergy more than my skin. What I mean is, I can’t stand certain things TOUCHING my skin. For example, I cut all the tags out of my clothes. Or sometimes I forget to do that, and then at some point, I RIP the f*ckers out. Last week, I was wearing a new pair of jeans, and I’d already taken the back tag out, but I hadn’t realized there was one down the side of the leg until I started walking to work. By the time I got to the office, I was just about out of my mind. So there I was, sitting at my desk, hunched over with my hand down the inside of my pants when my director walked by:
Director: Um…are you OK?!
Me: It’s a tag.
Director: A what?
Me: There’s a…(*rip*) tag, see?
Director (relieved): All right then.
And it is not at all uncommon for me to approach a co-worker with a pair of scissors and practically beg them, “Please cut this tag out!” People are always remarkably willing to do it, which is nice and perhaps a little worrisome, like what goes through someone’s mind at a moment like that? “Cool, I get to attack mydangblog’s blouse with scissors! Hope I don’t slip!” But you know, it’s a chance you take. Also, it’s a good reminder to be nice to people, just in case.
And if you think this is weird, let me also tell you that I haven’t worn a pair of pantyhose in over 20 years. Now, I know some of my readers will shrug and say, “Big deal—neither have I” but that’s because you’re men (although maybe some of you have, and just to clarify, that’s perfectly fine with me). I only started wearing dresses in the last couple of years thanks to the invention of footless tights. For some bizarre reason, I absolutely cannot put something on my body that stretches from my waist to my toes. The problem is that footless tights mostly come in just black, gray, and white, so it limits your wardrobe a bit. Last year, I thought “Hey. I’ve overcome so much in my life—I bet I could wear pantyhose again” so I bought a pair that were a lovely cream colour. The next morning I put them on, turned to walk out of my bedroom, said, “Nope. Nope nope nope!”, ripped them off, and threw them in the corner. Then I stood there breathing hard, full of hosiery hatred. Hard pass on the nylons.
I also don’t wear hats, wool, anything that itches, anything that touches my face, socks that are too tight, socks that are too loose…
But why am I telling you this? Because yesterday, I had to dress up in a costume and I thought I was going to die.
It was a charity walk, and our whole secret agency was participating. And because it’s getting close to Hallowe’en, the organizers announced that there would be a costume contest with prizes. I wasn’t really paying attention, but a bunch of people in the office came up with a group costume and a couple of weeks ago, they asked me if I wanted to join in. “Sure, whatevs,” I said, as one does. Over the next week, strange pieces of foam appeared in an empty cubicle, and when people asked, they were told that this was our costume—we were going to be a spine. Cool, right? (If you google “Costume spine on parade”, you can see what it’s supposed to look like). There was also a very large pink thing that looked like a mushroom top, which was apparently the brain. So yesterday morning, we all assembled to put on our vertebrae, and that’s when the problem started. It was a big circle made of itchy foam, and it went over my head, with a peaked piece that was like a hat. Within 20 seconds, I knew this was a huge mistake. It was like being enveloped in clothing tags, and nylons, with tight AND loose socks thrown in for good measure. That’s how I felt. But I couldn’t take it off, because a) I’m a manager, and I have to be a good role model and b) the CEO was joining us and I didn’t want to come off like a big baby by tearing it into pieces and screaming at it. One of the other managers turned to me and said, “Isn’t this cool?!” and I just made a low, keening sound in reply.
Manager: What’s wrong?
Me (whispers): It burns.
Me: SO COOL.
But it really was the greatest group costume ever, with the guy wearing the brain at the front, and the rest of us (about 12 of us) dressed as vertebrae following along in a straight line behind him. People on the street pointed and applauded, cars honked at us as they went by, and we all smiled and waved. But my smile was more like a grimace as you can tell by this selfie that M took of us.
I had to walk for 2.5 f*cking kilometres like that. That’s a little over a mile and a half. Luckily, I was distracted by the fact that it was difficult to see and I had to be careful not to trip on the sidewalk and fall down, thus breaking the spinal column. Also, while we were waiting to start the walk, they were playing music and I pretended I was Kanye West in a Perrier bottle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL_h9m_-HlE) by bouncing up and down.
On the upside though, we DID raise a lot of money for the charity. I don’t know if we won the prize because the second we finished the walk, I whipped the costume off and felt relief flood over me. And as we headed back to the office, we had this conversation:
Me: I overheard Donna say that when she saw us coming in the distance, she was a little shocked. She said “from far away you look like a COMPLETELY different body part”, but then she realized it was too long.
Co-Worker: I don’t get it. What other part of the body?
Me: You know—think about it. The first person is wearing a large pink thing that looks like a mushroom top, and the rest of us are like a straight shaft…
Me: A penis. She meant a penis.
Co-worker: Oh my god! Did she really call you a penis?!
Me: No! She meant all of us, not just ME.
Co-worker: Thank goodness! Because you’re very pretty. You don’t look like a penis AT ALL.
Me: Aw, thanks! Maybe we should all stop saying penis now.
All: Right, yes, good idea, hahaha.
When we got back to the office, everyone was excited, and as we packed up the vertebrae, someone said, “Hey! Let’s use this again next year—we can paint all the pieces brown and go as a bookworm!” and now I have to quit my job.
Have a happy Hallowe’en everyone—I hope your costumes are comfortable!