“They don’t have any Beatles wigs,” my friend Pierre said. “We’ll have to buy these Korean woman wigs and trim them up or something.”
This seemed crazy to me. I searched the Halloween shop frantically, afraid that my George Harrison costume would end up looking more like Kim Yu-Na in a black suit. It was no use. Korean Halloween costume shops apparently don’t stock Beatles wigs. I handed the cashier my money and was quickly the proud owner of some rather fetching long black flowing hair. Reminding myself that on Halloween it’s acceptable to look like an idiot, I tried to think optimistically. Like a catchy plea, Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” played in my head. I took the wig out of the package, plopped it on my head, and immediately disagreed with Harrison. Looking at myself in it, I knew there was no God.
Mallory the Batgirl also had long dark hair. The difference, of course, was that hers was real and looked wonderful. From the moment I saw her, I knew she was clearly out of my league. And although I didn’t initially act as if she was, I eventually would come to my senses. She had a blonde friend who stood by her side, dressed as Robin. In reality, it’s only my firm belief in gender roles that casts her as “Batgirl.” Mallory was supposed to be “Batman.” But just as it’s impossible to accept George Harrison with hair like a geisha, it’s also impossible (for me at least) to accept a gorgeous young woman assuming a role that’s typically associated with George Clooney or Adam West. I met Mallory on Halloween night, lost on the street, searching for the same party.
“Are you guys supposed to be the Beatles?” she asked me and Pierre. “The wigs are a little off.” I explained about the costume shop, and recounted how my friend Brigitte trimmed my wig with scissors on the subway platform. The Koreans stood in a great circle around us and watched. They didn’t look happy. For a moment I feared George Harrison was about to experience his second stabbing incident.
At the party, everyone was in costume. There was Ronald McDonald and Michael Jackson and a group of girls dressed like a row of dominos. Time passed and I ran into Mallory again, now as drunk as her Batgirl costume was tight. We talked and made jokes. She put my wig on. Then – in an entirely unexpected turn of events – she leaned over and kissed me. It was astonishing, and she touched my real hair as we started to make out. Our little moment didn’t last long, and Robin didn’t look too pleased with her friend. “I have to go,” Mallory said, and we exchanged numbers. “I’ll call you,” I yelled as Robin dragged her away.
At some point in the night, I lost my wig. It didn’t matter because Halloween was over. Back at my apartment in the early days of November, Mallory and I exchanged a few text messages. Then I paused and thought about things. The costume was off now, and I was back to being a divorced 32-year-old man. I didn’t have money like the Beatles did, and girls don’t scream in excitement when they see me. I thought about Mallory, who was back to being in her early twenties and beautiful and in a new country. Completely free. With long hair and so much time. Years. We could spend some of that time together, right, or would that make her feel like a kid who holds out a Halloween basket, wanting something sweet, and gets a roll of pennies?
I closed the phone and didn’t text again.