My Week 214: Let Your Backbone Slide

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.
Manager: Pardon?

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 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…
Co-worker: Uh…
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!

76 thoughts on “My Week 214: Let Your Backbone Slide

  1. Hosiery hatred; awesome I love it! I’m sitting here reading this and laughing out loud. They got a bit perturbed because were watching the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House and I’m supposed to be intently paying attention. But instead I’m reading you comedical costume fiasco, not that your skin allergies are anything to laugh at. But your story is hilarious. I think for Halloween I’ll put on a large grey veil on and go as an innuendo.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I totally understand what you mean about clothing tags, but it’s generally just the ones that poke and scratch at my neck that really irritate me. Or ones on the waistline on the small of my back. Or those entire novels that are appended to your t-shirt telling you what it’s made of and how to wash it in 43 languages.
    I read your post to my wife and she says she understands your hatred of clingy tights, although I personally quite like skin-tight stuff. I think your loathing of tight-fitting clothing (especially nylon tights) may impact on your choice of outfit when you commit to your superhero persona 😀
    I hate baggy sleepwear that ends up wrapping itself around you in unpleasant ways, or travelling where it shouldn’t – blegh!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Holy Crap…..not only was I laughing out loud when I read this, but my skin was crawling. I have always had as you say, “sensitive skin”. You aren’t a taurus by any chance, are you? All of this sounds horrifying….tags (no thank you), any itchy or rough materials (nope), pantyhose(no way), the costume over your head(no fucking way). I applaud you for keeping your shit together….I don’t know if I could have been as brave or strong!

    When I was a kid, I inherited stirrup pants from my siblings and I refused to wear them because I couldn’t stand the feeling of the stirrups against my feet inside my shoes. I still can’t handle any kind of wrinkle in my socks….just writing about it makes me cringe.

    It is no wonder I am not a fan of costumes…..I like the candy though!!!! Happy Halloween Beautiful Lady!!!!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. So I guess you’ll miss year three when they paint the costume green and go as an asparagus stalk.
    Also in my own experience I prefer fishnets to hose, especially for Halloween.
    Some of my own best costumes—-a gargoyle, an alien, Rorschach from “The Watchmen”—have required me to cover up my head and face, but I’d never ask anyone else to do the same. That’s the down side of group costumes. No one should feel uncomfortable, even on Halloween.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Patti Parham says:

    I totally understand your body “issues”. I have all of those and my definition of my crazy is when I’m having a day where my hair is touching me…sigh

    Liked by 3 people

  6. So many of my clothes have little holes in them from where I’ve ripped out the tags. Why do they have to sew them right into the hem???

    I do love the costume although I don’t really do costumes myself. Glad you were game!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know– I have some things with holes in them too–it’s so hard to get those little edges! But the costume LOOKED great from all accounts–people really liked it even if it felt terrible:-)


  7. We managed to avoid the entire “dress up” scenario this year altogether, because of in-fighting and general malaise in our party group. As it is, I prefer to “come as I are” to a party. And we never hand out candy. Not because we’re Halloween scrooges (maybe we are, but that’s not the because why) but because Moxie and Ludo bark at everything that surprises them, like doorbells, knocking, cars turning around on the street in front of us or the telephone ringing down the block. Halloween night would be, has been:

    “Ding dong!”

    “Shut up! Hi kids, you look great. Shut up! Help yourself. Shut up! Take the whole bowl, please. Shut up! Thanks for coming, you look awesome! SHUT UP!!”

    It’s best for everyone if we just hide and remain spineless for Halloween. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hysterical! 🙂 I’m the same with tags. I am very handy with a tag-ripper. The worst thing for me is the ridge on the inside of socks that have seen sold as ‘seamless’. Urgh!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. goodness you’re pretty! so glad to see a photo of you 🙂 as for tags — my husband is same way — I hate how sometimes it tears clothing to take off the tag! but have seen lately lots of undies that advertise how they don’t have tags & how soft they are, so you’re definitely not alone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my god, I just can NOT with clothing tags. Why do so many clothing manufacturers believe all tags should be made in the scratchiest material known to man? And even the soft satiny ones are still annoying, just flopping around and drawing attention to themselves.

    First thing I do when I get home from any shopping trip now is cut every tag out before I forget. NOT TODAY, SATAN.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great an unusual idea for a costume. I could write for days about sensitive skin. I don’t have ‘traditional’ sensitive skin, but I’ve always got a rash from any number of random non-irritable irritants. I hate anything that just brushes my skin, even my own breath on my arm when I’m sleeping. Nothing touching the backs of my hands. Or wrists. Even though I have long hair and a fringe, can’t stand it round my neck. I’m generally very uncomfortable in clothes. But even more uncomfortable naked, so what’s a girl to do? Sorry for everyone else’s sufferance but so happy I’m not alone in my weirdness! Shame you have to look for a new job 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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