It was the early '90s — Britney and the Backstreet Boys, Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, and Nintendo 64's controllers are a tangled deathtrap. They were good times and, for me, confusing too.
I still remember the anxiety, and the distinct taste of fruit snacks lingering on my tongue, as I slipped into my Pink Power Ranger costume. I loved it, but even as a child I was afraid to go trick-or-treating in it instead of the Batman costume I had as a backup.
Now I get it. Halloween is extraordinarily gendered. You are either a woman or a man, with no room in between. As a (proud) feminine gay man this can be challenging.
Halloween is often viewed as a wonderfully gay holiday for its extravagance and invitation to creativity. However, it can be difficult for a gay man to dress up for Halloween. Your options are narrow: masculine and muscular, funny, or scary. The Onion, ever so perfectly, parodied this dilemma, using children as an example.
I, for one, want the market to work on creating costumes so I can be cute! There needs to be a balance between gay men outfitted like Conan the Barbarian or drag queens. If I made the rules, everything would be different. Like:
1. No masks.
Who wants to be hidden on Halloween?
Seriously, it's all about highlighting your adorable face. Costume manufacturers, please stop. Not all of us pride ourselves on huge, bulging muscles. Quit covering my money-maker.
2. Color, color, and more color.
Male costumes are in severe need of a pop of color. A romantic red, or rich purple is a good place to start.
3. Stop stripping us.
Can costumes for men please have some actual pieces to them? We're not all walking Adonises, and therefore a costume with the focus on upper body muscles looks like an epic fail on a lot of us.
4. DON'T taste the rainbow.
I know I'm gay, my friends know I'm gay, my family knows I'm gay, and most people in general know that I'm gay. I don't need a rainbow costume to make this statement.
The rainbow is a great marketing ploy by companies that may or may not be LGBT-affirming to cash in on our epic gayness.
5. Toss gender aside.
Gay men should not be limited to butching it up or going in drag. The gender spectrum is wide and complicated, and so too should be our costumes.
Feminine gay men, specifically, need a balance: for gender diversity, and also because I'm really tired of having to make my own costumes.