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The Literary Girlfriend: The Halloween Costume

October 22, 2013

Pride and Literacy

Talking about relationship problems can be risky.  Even if it’s important to “share” your feelings with somebody you trust who isn’t directly involved, it can also backfire.  A friend can tell another friend who tells another friend, and soon a bunch of juicy gossip is out of control.  What was going on between Danielle and me was only between Danielle and me.  If I told Kirk about what was going on between Danielle and me, he might (or probably would) tell his girlfriend Linda, and I’ve never believed in providing free entertainment for my circle of friends and acquaintances.

The problem (if it really was one) with Danielle had to do with money.  A few days after I had paid for Danielle’s car repair, she left her car insurance bill on the coffee table on top of a stack of unread comic books.  That wasn’t an accident.  Insurance for a sports car in city limits wasn’t cheap, and I realized how much of Danielle’s life I was paying for.  I paid for the rent, all the food, all the restaurants, and now I was paying car bills.  I was pretty sure she made more money than I did.  What did she use it for?  Under normal circumstances, I’d never ask a girlfriend how she spent her own money, but now I was tempted.

I had mixed feelings about paying Danielle’s bills.  As a girlfriend, Danielle had gone all out.  She was everything a girlfriend could be to a guy like me.  We lived in sin, and the sin was great.  She never criticized me.  Her temper hardly ever was directed at me.  And when certain parts of a relationship are going great, it’s tough to rock the boat.

On the other hand, Kirk had been griping about Linda all evening.  I was hanging out at Kirk’s apartment watching a weeknight football game, but it was tough to concentrate on the game with all his whining, and Kirk wasn’t normally a whiner.  His apartment was well furnished for a single guy, but not as nice as mine (of course, his girlfriend didn’t steal furniture).  I didn’t really want to be there because I knew I was going to be really tired the next day, but it was going to be a Friday, and if there was a day to be really tired at work, it was Friday.

“Three months,” Kirk complained as he drank a beer.  “I’ve never waited three months.”

“This is why you have to stick to rules,” I said, with a hint of sarcasm that he probably didn’t notice.   Kirk had a three-date rule, and if a woman hadn’t gone to a certain level of intimacy (or sexual activity) with him by then, he lost interest.  I never agreed with his three-date rule, but it usually kept him content (though the women he had been involved with in the past probably didn’t feel the same way).

“Three months is a long time,” Kirk said.

I nodded and thought about Danielle .  Even with a football game on, I thought about Danielle.

“Are you two coming to Jerome’s Halloween party?” Kirk asked.  Jerome was the guy in our social group with the big house and the swimming pool and the huge backyard/patio.  Even a quiet guy like me went to his parties because the food was always good and there was always a football game on.

“I’ll ask Danielle,” I said with some hesitation.  Danielle worked Saturday nights, but Kirk thought she was happily unemployed, so I had to go along.

“Linda said Danielle was going to ask you.”

Now I had a real reason to hesitate.  “Danielle talks to Linda?”

“I guess,” Kirk said.  “Linda’s going as Supergirl.”

I was surprised about that.  Linda didn’t strike me as the type to wear a slutty costume to a Halloween party, but women could be unpredictable, and maybe the costume would be tasteful (but that was doubtful).  I also thought that if Kirk couldn’t get any after Linda wore a Supergirl costume to a Halloween party, then his situation was lost, but I kept that to myself as well.

The next day I asked Danielle (while she was getting ready for work) if she wanted to go to a Halloween party that one of my friends was throwing.  I didn’t mention that Kirk had told me she was talking to Linda.  I just pretended this was all new information to her.  I didn’t think she’d want to go.  The party was on a Saturday night, and Saturday was Danielle’s most profitable day of the week.  Money was important to her, and I couldn’t see her missing a Saturday night.

“I’ll go as Jane Austen,” Danielle said.  “I’ve got an old dress that looks like it’s from that time period, and I’ll put my hair up, and I’ll carry these around.”  She held up my copies of Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

Jane Austen, I thought.  I was stunned (in a positive way) that she was going to the party, but I was also disappointed in her choice of costume.  Here I finally had a girlfriend who was built to be a slutty nurse, or a slutty French maid, or a slutty vampire, and she was going to cover herself up in a Victorian garment.  Pervert guys would be lucky to see an ankle or a collarbone.  It was disappointing, but, I had to admit, it was also a decent idea.

“I’m pretty sure you’ll be the only Jane Austen there,” I said.  I usually went to Halloween parties as Darth Vader, but I had a back up idea.  “I’ll go as Frankenstein’s monster.”  I explained how I’d take a paper bag, and then cover it in paper mache, paint the top black for the monster’s hair, and then cut a space for my face.  With a little paint and make up, I could be the monster without wearing an uncomfortable, smelly mask.

“You know,” I said, thinking aloud.  “Mary Shelley lived in the same time period, kind of.  You could go as Mary Shelley, and I would be the monster that she created, and that would make more sense from a literary standpoint.”

“I’m going as Jane Austen,” Danielle said.  “And I wanna see you get drunk.”

I paused.  We had never had this discussion.

“I don’t get drunk,” I said.  “I tried it once in college, and… I’m not doing that again.”

“What happened?” she asked.

“I’m not ready to talk about it.”

“I can make you tell me,” she said, getting close and putting her hands on my waist.  She was pretty good at getting secrets out of me.

“No,” I said.  “This one, you can’t.”

“That bad?”  Then she hesitated.  “Did… somebody die?”

“It’s nothing like that,” I said.  “It was embarrassing.  And nobody here knows about it.”

That wasn’t true.  Kirk had seen what had happened and had made me promise to never get drunk again.  He’d also been a true friend and had never (as far as I knew) told anybody about what I had done the one time in my life when I’d gotten drunk.  That’s the way I liked things.  I wouldn’t tell Danielle about what I did when I was drunk, and I wouldn’t tell Kirk about what was going on between Danielle and me.  I didn’t know if that made me dishonest in any way, or impersonal.  It’s just that the fewer people who knew stuff about me, the lesser the odds of people I didn’t want to know stuff about me finding out.    Kirk and Danielle were my friends (in different ways), but neither one needed to know everything about me.  I wanted to keep it that way.

Everything seemed set.  Danielle and I were going to the Halloween party over the weekend, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that something could go wrong.  There would be a lot of people there with lots of loud music and lots of booze and lots of my friends there to witness it if Danielle got carried away and did anything weird, and a Jane Austen costume meant no mask, so if Danielle decided to do anything inappropriate (like watching guys pee) or illegal (like stealing furniture), everybody would know it was her.

I usually liked Halloween, but I was starting to get a bad feeling about this party.


To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Drunk at a Party.

And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here .

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  1. This should get interesting.
    Also, nice touch calling it Frankenstein’s monster, instead of Frankenstein. I guess the narrator is a true literary.

    • It’s cool that you picked up on the “Frankenstein’s monster” reference because that comes back again in (I think) the next segment.

  2. Danielle and Linda talking? Oh , Oh, Two worlds colliding…

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