For those familiar with the realm of geekdom, October is a very special month. Featuring New York Comic Con and Halloween, this means seeing a lot of grown men and women wearing costumes in public. What a bunch of losers, huh? Wrong. Those "losers" are winning at life and you're just jealous.
Let me explain.
Back when I was a geek blogger at The Mary Sue, I wasn't necessarily sold on the geek lifestyle as a whole. I was more of a fan of all the stuff -- the in-jokes, the appreciation for superior storytelling and the limitless imagination, the sense that there was more fun to be had on the Island of Misfit Toys. But one thing I never really understood as an adult activity was costume play (cosplay). Sure, there's true craftsmanship and creativity involved, but what kind of adult feels the need to dress up like a fictional character if they aren't getting paid for it? And something about it just feels so… weird. Some people even think that cosplay is a sign of hopelessness in a bad economy -- adults dressing like fictional characters as their only means of feeling powerful, heroic, and separate from reality.
But I've thought about this long and hard, and have realized that cosplayers have the right idea. We should actually admire what they're doing. Not just because they make great costumes (even people who will never be on board with cosplay will have to concede that some of these costumes range from clever to downright spectacular) but because cosplaying geeks are taking life by the gonads and living it however the fuck they choose. They shouldn't be judged or mocked -- they should be applauded. In fact, we "straights" should be taking cues from them.
Take New York Comic Con. At first glance, it looks way too easy to mock. "Want to know where the Javits Center is? Just follow the fat/skinny/low-budget superheroes and be-wigged masses." First of all, aren't you better than going for the low-hanging fruit? Second, aren't you actually jealous because you deny yourself the fun of celebrating Halloween whenever you want?
Lewis Black said it best on his album, The Carnegie Hall Performance:
"You are an adult, and you can dress up whenever you want to. You don't need permission anymore! If you wake up next Tuesday, and you feel like being Batman, go for it! And then you go to work, and your boss will look up and go 'Who are you?' And you can say, 'I am Batman. That's who I am. Who are you?'"
Seriously, why aren't we all showing up to work as Batman? Or Spider-Man? Or Michonne from The Walking Dead? Or Amelia Earhart? We have every right to do this while simultaneously performing our everyday adult duties and responsibilities. It's not a question of sanity -- it's a question of fun. And cosplayers are having way more fun than the people who mock them, I promise you this.
Go for it this Halloween. I'll bet you haven't put on a costume in years! Think about it: Who do you want to be for a day? Captain America? Maude Lebowski? Wonder Woman? Black Panther? You don't have to go around acting like that character; just embody them for a day. Even if they're a different gender or race. There is something in them that resonates with you. That's why you like them! That's why these characters were created in the first place! Embrace that quality, enhance it, celebrate it. Wear a costume this year. Do it. Do it for the $3 burritos at Chipotle. Then give a cosplayer a high-five for living life like we all should.
Image credit: Geeks of Doom