Image courtesy of New York Natives, photographer: Mark DeMayo
By Mark DeMayo

“It’s a Halloween party. You have to wear a costume, or don’t even bother coming!” she shouted from the next room.

My wife, who rarely had a chance to go to parties after our two children were born, was very excited about this one, and I didn’t want to spoil it for her.

I never liked getting dressed up. Even when I was little kid, I thought getting dressed up for Halloween was stupid. And yet there I was, in Rubies Costume Company in Jamaica, Queens trying to find a costume that I wouldn’t hate wearing, so I could make my wife happy.

There was no way I was going to spend the whole night sweating underneath a mask, and I didn’t want to be anything cheesy like a Doctor or a Fireman. I spotted a Zorro costume that looked pretty cool and I was on my way into the dressing room to try it on, until I saw the Roman Gladiator. I knew instantly that this was the costume for me.

The movie Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe, had just come out, so it was relevant, I was in pretty decent shape at the time, and knew I could pull it off. So…

Me: “How much for the Roman Gladiator costume?”

Saleslady: “$150.00.”

Me: “No, no, I just want to rent it for a party, not buy it.”

Saleslady: “Yes I know. It’s a $150.00, for a two day rental.”

Needless to say, I was beside myself. There was no way I was going to spend $150.00 for a Halloween costume! So, I looked around Rubies some more and then I called home, “Are you 100% sure that everybody at this party has to wear a costume?”

The things we do for love!!!

%name Back in the Day: Trojan Man
Image courtesy of New York Natives, photographer: Mark DeMayo

The night of the party, I forced myself to forget how much I paid for that costume and instead, decided to enjoy the night out with my wife. That was, until we actually got there. Immediately I noticed that, while all the women were dressed up for Halloween, less than half the men wore costumes…and those who did took the simple pullover route, and showed up as Monks and Ghosts.

Thankfully, it was a little nippy out that night, so I had worn a coat, which really did nothing to keep me warm, since I was basically wearing a skirt and sandals. There was no way I was taking that coat off either, because now I felt even more stupid with my plastic armor and rubber sword.

Annoyed as all hell, I ran right over to the bar and ordered Bourbon on the rocks — a double — and found an empty table way in the back of the hall, were I could wallow in misery in my skirt and coat, while my wife partied with family and friends.

Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom, which was all the way across the hall and down a flight of stairs. As I left the stall — and before I could put my coat back on– a group of rambunctious adolescents spotted me washing my hands. “Hey look, it’s the Trojan Man!” one of them yelled, and soon every kid at the party ran over to the men’s room to mock me.

%name Back in the Day: Trojan Man
Image courtesy of New York Natives, photographer: Mark DeMayo

‘That’s it,’ I thought to myself, ‘I’m waiting in the car.’ So I ran back up the stairs to grab the car keys from my wife, with a trail of kids needling me, “Hey mister, are you supposed to be the Trojan Man?”

Back in the day, I hated getting dressed up for Halloween. I grew up emulating the Fonz from Happy Days, and the Fonz was way to cool to ever wear a costume. But The Fonz was a fictional character on a TV show, and in real life, sometimes you have to compromise in order to have a healthy relationship. You may even have to wear a skirt and sandals and get mocked by little kids.

While I hope to never get dressed up for Halloween again, looking back , the night I spent as the “Trojan Man” was embarrassing…but it was a lot of fun. And as the Fonz would say, “AYE that’s COOL…”

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