Bridging the Divided

Playing Dress-Up Isn’t Just For Kids…..

Did you ever dress-up as a kid? Slip your little feet into mom’s high heels, or wear an old Halloween superhero costume and play with the neighbor kids? We could be anyone or anything we wanted to be. 

My son and his girlfriend host murder mystery parties for their friends and the attendees role-play their characters in costume. How fun is that? They are hosting one for us this summer – can’t wait! Recently, the four of us got all dressed up in costumes from the Steampunk era and spent the day at a Steampunk event in our area. For those who don’t know, Steampunk is an alternative history of the Wild West and Victorian eras where steam ruled the world of machinery. Think Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, or Mary Shelley. A world where the imagination knew no limits. Many who attended wore costumes, others strolled the streets of the Old West snapping pictures of those who immersed themselves in Steampunk splendor.

What started as a fun way to spend a Saturday ended in the revelation that adult dress-up is not only fun but startlingly therapeutic. Next stop – Renaissance Fair! What personalities will we try on as we wander the Victorian streets of yesteryear with others whose alternate personas are Viking Warriors, Ladies in Waiting, and aristocrats? Perhaps Queen Catherine de Medicis, a tavern barmaid, or an incantation-wielding sorceress.

Google cosplay, which is more associated with anime than dress-up play, and one finds everything from the mundane to the erotic. Donning the dress of the bygone Victorian era falls somewhere in the middle of the extremes. It’s good, clean fun – and to join in on the fun with a couple of our kids was awesome. It beats a rousing game of Monopoly, for sure.

After the close of the Steampunk gig, we went to a local watering hole, in costume, for a couple of adult beverages and appetizers. Heads turned, and no doubt some eyes rolled. We didn’t care. The head turns and eye rolls only encouraged us to dive further into character and play to our captive audience. 

Life is hard sometimes. Dressing up in costumes transports us back to simpler times, grants us a reprieve from day-to-day life in 2021. For an afternoon or a day, we get to escape, to step back into the carefree days of childhood. And, at the end of the day, we can hang up the clothes of yesteryear and step back into our lives and responsibilities feeling a little lighter and refreshed. I will say though, as much as I had fun wearing the Steampunk finery, at the end of the day, I truly appreciated stepping into a hot shower courtesy of indoor plumbing, grabbing a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator, and tuning into Netflix…..

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