Spreading your wings

Last Halloween, I was a butterfly. This Halloween, I was a secretary who was sleeping with her boss. Somewhere between the two Octobers, something happened. I’m not sure what it was, and I’m trying to figure it out.

Halloween is originally a Celtic tradition, a festival in which the living communicated with the dead in an attempt to receive wisdom from past ancestors. But I am none the wiser post-Halloween. Rather, I am just more confused.

Devils in red lycra, plaid skirts and cleavage, nasty nurses and high-booted hookers–what ever happened to the days of witches, ghosts and fairies?

There I was, having shed my butterfly wings, wondering why me and every other skankily dressed good girl had this suppressed desire to be bad?

I was barely through the doors of the Crazy Horse when the realization started to slowly formulate. Unknown boy in home-made Flinstone costume waiting in line next to me sensed my sultry costume beneath my overcoat.

"Can you give me a sneak preview?" he asked.

Inside the dungeon of the Crazy Horse, rumoured to have once been a crematorium, I was asked why I didn’t wear clothes like that to school. The only question I was asked the year before was whether I could stop my butterfly wings from walloping every other person on the dance floor.

I was starting to understand secretaries have way more fun at parties than butterflies.

Was this an indication of degradation of society’s morals to a point where value and attention were only to be given to women based on the square footage of skin revealed or the depth of cleavage exposed? Or was it more about concealment than exposure? Had we, as a society, veiled the sexual element of ourselves to a point where its expression became morphed, warped and twisted, only publicly revealing itself in the form of skanky Halloween costumes, Lil’ Kim music videos or at hustler.com?

At 3 a.m., with the distant yelling of drunk super heros and Austin Powers lookalikes echoing down 1ST Street, I pondered how this related to the Canadian Constitution. Was Section 2 of the Charter (Freedom of Expression) really just Canada’s token effort to appear accepting, tolerant and democratic?

The Charter may grant the right to picket outside an abortion clinic but it does not grant true freedom of expression. Whatever the enshrined legal pillars of our nation, the fact is we are not free to express. We are restricted by social constraints prescribing limits on the expression of ourselves in all dimensions, including sexually.

So there it was, the sultry secretary get-up was all about maintaining my constitutional rights. It had nothing whatsoever to do with receiving a healthy quota of male attention, good enough to feed the female ego until next Halloween. This new- found socio-political advocacy made it clear I had emerged from my cocoon and was never going to be a butterfly again.

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