Single in the Suburbs
By Lauralyn "Bewitched" Avallone
Fall has reached New York, exchanging temperatures with summer until it decides with a rapid, chilly drop: I'm here to stay. Pumpkins, multi-colored corn husks, green and yellow squash are popping up throughout Long Island's quaint neighborhoods, reminding us that Thanksgiving is around the corner.
But first, we have Halloween to get through.
I don't mean to make it sound as though Halloween is a drag. I really do love journeying through the party or drugstore aisles: masking my face with a witch's, hiding my hair under a pound of bright blonde or black wig. Who doesn't like to be able to throw a little change into the mix now and then, have social license to try on another persona for a day? It's fun, in a strange and sometimes gothic way.
Halloween is one of those rare holidays that has an emphasis more on friends than family, and if candy is involved, greed. Kids gather in clumps of creative costumes stalking their neighborhood for sugar fixes. For single adults without little ghosts or goblins to look after, Halloween means parties, which means friends of friends, possibly cute friends, who will be at their most vulnerable dressed silly. It means sugar rushes and cocktails, talking to the bunny or mummy next to you, trying to ascertain if the made-up face you see is attractive without the mole or bloody bite or black eyes. If you're not too careful about the number of drinks you're knocking down, before you know it, that Bud is a Love Potion #9 and Frankenstein is passed out in your bed. That could be a scary situation in the morning when temporary memory loss coupled with a hangover make the intrusive big lump next to you a mystery until the blankets stir and the body rotates....it's alive!!!
I've spent Halloween in all different places: clubs, bars, friend's houses. I used to chicken out of the whole dress up thing. When people asked me who I was for Halloween, I would state some mental illness, such as multiple personality. If I felt up to it, I'd even throw a little Sybil acting job in there to make it interesting. But, after a few years of playing Prozac Princesses, it was tired. I needed a costume, a get up. I needed make-up. So I went and bought myself a '50's style platinum blonde wig with a Betty Page cut, pulled a vintage blue scarf out of my closet, shimmied into a black skirt and top and slid into a pair of Mary Janes. I was a vintage mod girl.
I bravely wore my homemade Halloween outfit to a friend of a friend's party. "She's married," my friend of the friend said with anticipation. "But she has a lot of single friends."
Great. We get to the cozy house on the north shore, cobwebs draped across balconies and in corners, icky black spiders frozen on the couch and on the wall, chips and dip on the table. Hello. As my friend and I feast like starved vampires, our eyes scan the room, using our single radar detector. There's a ghost, a goblin, a ghoul....and us singles. The fairy princess is married to the handsome frog. Figures. Wilma and Fred Flintstone are an item, doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Wedding rings seem to shine in the candlelight on the porch that night.
Growing bored, I let my gaze drift up to a rare view of the stars when what looks like the Hunchback of Notre Dame blocks my starry view. "Hey," he blurs out. He smells like stale cigarettes and booze. "Hey," I say, as disinterested as possible. "Is that your real hair?" he asks, a feeble attempt to start conversation. Unbelievably, he wasn't the first person to ask me that, even though my eyebrows are dark brown and not only the color but the fake, straw-like texture of the wig screamed fake. "No," I answer, polite but distracted. Hunchback is also about twice my age and could have used a wig of his own.
My friend rescues me, reporting that after several rounds at the party, there is not one eligible bachelor to mention. Not one! Ok, maybe one, the hunchback. Needless to say, we were bummed by the lack of prospects, but having that out of our minds, we were able to just have fun getting to know people, without the distraction of the single prowl. (Or in this case, howl).
Carve Those Pumpkins, Eat Seeds and Whip Up A Cauldron of Fun:
I would definitely recommend going to Manhattan's Halloween parade at least once in your life, it's a total blast and you never know who you'll sit next to on the LIRR ride in. Clubs are great places for singles to go to see their festive neighbors parading around in their scary fashion, while dancing the night away. Bars are usually mellow, but those Cheers-type local places know how to work up a holiday. Whatever you choose to do: choose socially. Sitting home watching the Peanuts Halloween Special for the third year in a row is no way to live. Besides, what other day of the year can offer things like Haunted Houses, which makes being single a lot less of a scary ordeal for some people. Nothing like a severed head on a plate or a few screeching bloodsucking bats to put things into perspective.