That’s me, J.D., at my finest: smiling, covered in mud, awkward and without shame. So what better to do for Halloween this year than to push the envelope, to do something than no man or woman may agree with, to be as ridiculous and as lovely as possible. This is my night as a Bearded Princess.
Heels clank against bricks; a voice screams, in a high, melodic pitch, “Guys, slow dowwwn. I can’t walk in these things”. Your first thought: ‘God, another sorority girl wearing a mini-skirt and heels in the dead of winter, what could be worse?’ But then you look up, and realize that a 6’2, 175 pound bearded princess is walking right at you, stumbling in orange high heels and a lavish, turquoise, Alice In Wonderland-esque dress, daunting a ferocious grin that says, “Yeah, I’m doing it”.
Young men and women in costume stumble to and fro, screaming into the moonlight air as Athens is in arms over Halloween. My night begins around 6 P.M., asking my roommate to zip me up and to make sure my boobs feel like bags of sand. I put on a blonde wig, strap on two size 12 orange heels (bought at Athens Underground!), and fluff myself in front of a mirror. ‘I’ve never looked better’, I think, grabbing a small Vera Bradley purse and flinging it over my shoulders. I walk down N. Lancaster Street, already feeling the strain of the heels against my calves and feet. People point and laugh, kids stare in amazement, and I laugh to myself as I am becoming a beautiful giant of a princess.
The first people I meet are already dressed. One is a kitty cat with black mascara painted on in tiny, simple whiskers, gold and auburn hues made up on dark, erotic eyes. The other is Amy Winehouse, her dark waves and light eyes almost seem too perfect as Winehouse, and I struggle to keep myself composed among such a beast: it’s taking all of me not to tell her that I’d rather be her pocket tattoo. When they see me, they flip. “Freakin’ rad, man,” they scream, and I twirl with my dress and pose for a picture. The heels are already bugging me as my toes dig in and heel screams for help against the 3 inch piece of plastic or whatever heels are made out of, as it seems to creak and break at every step.
We head to Jackie O’s and I’m already cold. How do they do it? I see young women everywhere wearing heels and tiny mini-skirts, short sequined tops with shoulders and necklines showing, and they never seem to quiver. I am shivering by this point, thanking the Gods for local microbrews that leave me feeling a little bit warmer. I realize I forgot to do my makeup, so Amy Winehouse takes me back to her place and tells me to stare into her eyes, while she applies eyeliner, blush, mascara; whatever it is that makes women look so pretty. By this point, I am a wreck, not drunk mind you, but when everyone sees me it is a picture mania followed by a couple “You’re awesome’s” or “Man, that’s one pretty lady”. I twirl countless times, bend over awkwardly, dance with boys and scream at the bartender to serve me my cranberry vodka. People are losing it. At many points I hear behind me men whisper, deciding whether or not they should talk to me, and I feel the tragic feeling in the pit of my stomach that every pretty lady does here in Athens, that makes them want to vom and say, “it’s only fashion”.
So it goes. My heels are really hurting, but at this point I don’t care. I’ve learned the most valuable lesson in being made up: Fashion is all about sacrifice, beauty is all about sacrifice. What could I do but to commend my lady friends on their heel wearing skills, coaxing and encouraging them to maybe wear more clothes, because really, I was uncomfortable. Not in my own skin of course, but in a tiny dress with orange high heels was probably the most work I’ve done in fashion since my mother sewed grey patches on purple sweatpants and I rocked ‘em to school most erryday.
Have you tried to dance in heels? It is ridiculous. All that can be done is toe touches and that awkward, “Is this how they do it?” dance where I bend…..and snap! I realize I’ve been flinging my hair at almost every turn, making my gold wigs flap on shoulders and hanging loosely in front of my face, while I make seductive, ridiculous eyes at whoever I can look at. The whole night I think to myself, “Is this how it feels to be a lady?”, and if so, can they get away with anything?
The answer is yes. Know how much my bar tab was? Zero. Know how many numbers I got? Plenty. Know who felt awkward and shamed and cursed themselves for ever being so pretty while walking home alone, mascara running down his face, with heels in one hand and a Big Mama’s burrito in another? This guy.
So, the lesson for today is: give women respect. If they wear heels (bless you!), first and foremost they are doing something so painful that any disrespect is unnecessary. If a girl is wearing barely any clothes in the middle of winter, just so she can look and feel good about herself, let her go for it. But, do the manly thing of offering a jacket or a hand or make sure her makeup isn’t running, because let’s face it: women are beautiful and well maintained creatures. And allowing them to express themselves in fashion is the least we can give them.
Alas, this article has run thin. I find myself talking about beautiful women and their hardships while I am forgetting my incredible urge to scream “Put on more clothes!” I’ll take care of that in the next article. This is J.D. Adkins, reporting on his night as a Bearded Princess. Stay classy.