So I’ve spent most of this evening searching for a grey shirt, black pleated skirt, turquoise ribbon and tie all my for daughter’s friend whose as nuts about anime as she is, and so she wants me to make her friend a ‘Miku’ outfit.
I said yes thinking that, as there was no cursed sailor collar involved, it would be fine. Her father said yes so long as it was done on the thinnest of shoestring budgets; and therein lays the rub. ‘Shoestring’ means thin, and so I know he means for me to spend as little as possible.
But does anyone know how hard it is to buy a grey sleeveless shirt, turquoise anything and a black pleated skirt when the pounds you have to spend on the entire outfit is around the ten mark ($15). That is not a lot of money let me tell you and whilst I said I persevere and all that, there’s a limit; I have a headache from trying to buy something that barely exists at the prices I need to remain on the £10 marker.
So my daughter, bless her, thought she’d ‘help’ by giving me about five other ‘cosplay’ outfits this character wears, and all the ways I could possibly put them together on the cheap. By this time my brain was not only boggled, it was leaking out of my ears. It's now 2:04am my time and I'm actually no further forward than when I started at 7:00pm, seven long hours ago.
Because, you see, it has to be a certain type of grey shirt; not striped, no matter how much you can barely make the white stripe out, every cosplayer will know they’re there and so this goes for every other kind of pattern. The body of the shirt must skim the trunk of the wearer and come down to a point on the front – the collar must also be quite wide.
The black skirt was meant to have only box pleats, but she’s managed to find out that wide pleats will do in a pinch. I, not unreasonably, asked if this was all really necessary. She got a bit uneasy and said yes because some long time older cosplayers can become quite upset if the cosplay you’re wearing is in any way wrong. It seems they think you’re not taking it seriously enough and feel you're bringing the cosplay world into disrepute. what kind of 'disrepute' exactly, still remains a deep dark secret as my daughter and anyone else she's spoken to doesn't really know.....
So to me these people are sort of the fashion police of the Geek World; so it seems you even have to be beautiful and popular when you’re a geek now - even in the weird and strange world of 'cosplaying'. It seems even geeks have their pecking orders these days and they're as implacable as the high school ones. Indeed wasn’t there a song called ‘High School Never Ends?” They weren’t wrong, it certainly hasn't in the Cosplay Realm; but geeks of the world should unite, not allow themselves to be sucked into the shallow realm of the ‘Plastics’.
A world of fashion frenzies (albeit cosplay ones), sport (charging round a food hall trying to ‘kill’ your mortal enemy from whatever world you’ve plucked your characters from) and trying to win the most popular girl/boy award (this means, in the cosplay world, the ones who stayed in character, struck the best poses and were the most gracious in allowing their photos to be taken; oh and who could dance the best on stage to the anime music - no, I am not kidding; trust me, I was there and I’m still having nightmares about the zombies dancing.......)
I’m a misfit, I always have been; I’ve never followed a fashion trend in my life, nor have I bothered to try and be popular (not that I could’ve, given that I was shy and had ginger hair, braces and glasses – the bullies had so much material to work with that they usually had to formulise a game plan before getting me). I have raised my daughter to be the same; so to find her being forced to conform in a hobby set around one of the strangest past times I’ve seen in my life (and I’ve seen weird honestly) really gnaws at my rebellious bone.
I mean, let’s be honest, this is a hobby – it’s certainly not a lifestyle choice. I don’t often see my neighbour going to work dressed as the Black Butler; nor do I see women walking through my local supermarket dressed as this Rin or Miku, or any of the myriad of other scary characters that are out there.
So I suppose I could say that Carrie and Co from ‘Sex and the City’, and the real life fashionistas that inspired their characters, will sleep more peacefully in their designer beds tonight, amongst their silk designer sheets, knowing that even the geeks are succumbing to the “assimilate or perish – resistance is futile” chant of the Perfect Plastics.
God help our species if even the geeks are getting shallow – it really is the end of the world.
This is Simi, thanks for reading.......