Halloween: The Most Offensive Time of the Year, PENIS PENIS PENIS Edition

Halloween's gone sexy. OK, cool. So that means that when I search for men’s costumes, I should be seeing page after page of fancified underpants, right? HA HA RIGHT.

Oct 31, 2011 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

As we all know by now, if you are a lady who wants to buy a quick-fix costume at Party City, and you don’t feel like showing some skin, you’re outta luck.

It’s possible to buy an off-the-rack women’s costume that actually functions as a costume, rather than an interruption between cleavage and legs, but it takes some work. Of course, you should probably be making your costume, thus sidestepping some giant industry’s ideas of what you should want to look like, but if you do want to buy something ready-made your options basically go from “sexy” to “super sexy.” (Although really, even if you want to go as a sexy soft-boiled egg or whatever, do you really want to spend $60 for it? Just decorate some lingerie with a glue gun, it’s not hard!)

Anyway, let’s pretend you have a paralyzing fear of hot glue and cannot make your own costume. So costume manufacturers make it challenging for you to find a costume that’s not just a minidress and thigh-highs -- so what? Halloween a time to gorge on candy, which once you’re an adult means booze and partying. Don’t sexy costumes make sense? After all, everyone needs an escape from propriety. Maybe we’re moving towards a version of (adult) Halloween that’s more about letting loose than about dressing up. Call it undressing up.

So that means that when I search for men’s costumes, I should be seeing page after page of Policeman Briefs and Schoolboy Briefs and Spongebob Briefs, right? Sure, it might be hard to tell Fireman Briefs from Fisherman Briefs but come on, it’s about letting loose! Undressing up! I expect 16 pages of fancified underpants, my friends.

HA HA HA RIGHT. No, the “sexy” costumes marketed for men seem to fall into three camps:

1) Costumes that are sexy because PENIS PENIS PENIS. Either you’re dressed as a penis, or you’re dressed as something with a comically enormous wang (or pseudowang).

2) Costumes that are sexy because they focus on how much sex you would like to have with women in the vicinity.

And, the one that bugs me the most:

3) Costumes that are sexy because they involve unclothed women (or women parts) as props.

Just as a refresher, here is what qualifies as a sexy costume for women:

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And here is what qualifies as a sexy costume for the fellas:

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In both cases, “sexy” means “involves a lady without much pants on to speak of.” The woman in the fantasy sexy persona for ladies isn't dressed that differently from the one in the fantasy sexy persona for men -- but in the man’s fantasy, she’s a “removable inflatable date with lingerie.” (That’s straight out of the item description.) It kinda makes you think twice about the sexy vampire lady, which is a real downer if you wanted to go as a sexy vampire lady and not have to think about a sex doll blowing the Count.

Men’s costumes from category 2 invite sexual attention, but not because the dude is displaying any goods -- just because he’s broadcasting a request for service to anyone in earshot. Nearby women play the part of the “removable date.” Again, a woman's sexy fantasy costume is supposed to involve getting semi-nude, and a man's sexy fantasy costume is supposed to involve a woman getting semi-nude (or possibly intimate with his genitals by trickery, which appears to be what's going on here).

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However, I’m in favor of this one. It’s dumb and a little gross but at least it’s a level playing field. (Pecs!)

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If most of the men’s costumes looked like this, I’d probably just shrug and say “College, yeah, that was a fun time.” But the expectation on Halloween -- at least the marketed expectation -- is that women will look like people you would want to have sex with, and men will look like people who want to have sex with them. That’s not much of a fantasy escape -- just the same old same old.