“Halloween is a time for girls to dress slutty and guys to dress like idiots or like girls.” — My ex as she did my makeup for my cheerleader costume.
After reading about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, I’m ready to confess to my past as an idiotic young white guy dressing up as other people.
As kids, a friend and I trick-or-treated and said, “I am Hans. He is Franz. We are here … to pump you up! Look at my muscles! Give us candy! Ja! We are not girly men! We are pumped up!” We confused our neighbors, maybe because they didn’t watch “Saturday Night Live.” Will future voters be offended by kids saying “girly man” in an Austrian accent? Hans and Franz are caricatures of Arnold Schwarzenegger, not of girls or Austrians, so … probably not.
One year, I grew a full beard to be a lumberjack. Another year, I wore my dad’s Stetson hat and giant belt buckle while I squeezed into my baby brother’s blue jeans. Cowboy boots make me walk like a drunk in ice skates. Negative stereotypes abound about blue-collar folks, but when cowboys see city slickers in chaps and spurs, it doesn’t remind them of a time they were denied the right to vote.
For two years in a row, I shaved a hideous mustache, put on a red hat, red T-shirt and suspenders and became Super Mario. I also dressed up as “The Italian Stallion” Rocky Balboa. Luckily, neither costume has a history of being used to demonize Italians.
I just barfed in my mouth while remembering this, but rap-metal was really popular during my college days. So at 19, I wore baggy pants, a bandana and a flannel shirt with only the top button buttoned to look like the rapper B-Real from Cypress Hill. I may have been an idiot at the time, but I still knew better than to change my skin color to look Latin.
Here’s the big reveal: I have done greenface as well as blueface. I poured green makeup all over my body to be the Incredible Hulk. The blue makeup was so I could be a Smurf and, later, William Wallace from “Braveheart.” As far as I know, blue face paint isn’t associated with making fun of the enslavement of Scottish people. Which is why … drumroll … I’ve never done blackface. Like the Virginian governor did to look like Michael Jackson.
Should we forgive somebody who wore a stupid costume in their youth? Don’t we all make mistakes when we’re young and stupid?
I don’t have any answers. I’m just saying, my partying lifestyle made me the biggest jackass of all three unis I attended, but even though I did all the stupid stuff college kids do, never once did I wear blackface or smile while standing next to a guy wearing a KKK costume.