Fancy Dressing Up

I imagine that my family’s dinnertimes are much like those of the Kennedys – that is, the other Kennedys. To clarify, there are some obvious differences: no one in my family was ever forced to have a lobotomy, nor have any of us run for political office. But in every other sense, we’re identical: good-looking, intelligent and we love a lively dinner table discussion (except Callum, who just begrudgingly puts up with them). The Other Kennedys, as I shall henceforth refer to them, apparently loved to quiz each other at meal times, a fact I became aware of after Lorelai mentioned it in an episode of Gilmore Girls. At one of our recent mealtime discussions, talk eventually turned to an upcoming fancy dress party the family was invited to, with the theme: “people from history”.

That’s great, I thought. There’s loads of those! My first suggestion was Richard III. I suggested my dad cut a hole for his head out of one of those cartoon road play mats that I used to play with my cars on as a child, and he could wear it as a poncho with perhaps a slightly off-centre crown. He could even glue some toy cars on the mat to take it to the next level.

Coming up with suggestions of historic women was harder. The obvious options were the queens: Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. My mother doesn’t really have the aesthetic for Liz, with short, very dark hair. The costume would also require the investment of excessive time and money. When I suggested Victoria, she was indignant but I maintain that it’s rather narrow-minded to only take that suggestion to mean post-Albert mourning era Vic; in fact, I’d watched The Young Victoria only the day before. Even Queen Victoria was young once! Alternatively, she could do the more iconic look but covered in gold as a nod to the Queen Vic bust that has finished many a Walford resident off. I sense she would not be on board with that idea.

Other options seemed scarce. Women have, as a general rule, been left out of the history books and the women we did think of didn’t have a distinct look. My mother resisted suggestions of Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, the first woman to go to space, the first dog to go to space. To be fair, the latter idea would require a costume inside a costume which seems like more trouble than it’s worth. It’s still an amazing idea. My mother did not agree.

The idea I got most into, though ultimately can’t do because only my parents are available to go to the party, was for us to go as the musketeers. But with this suggestion came the inevitable squabble over who would be who. Naturally, I wrote my dad off as Athos: the eldest, haggard and greying, attempting to keep the peace between the others. The clear choice for D’Artagnan was my younger brother, Callum: youthful, athletic, with much to learn and the newest addition to the group. Dividing Porthos and Aramis up between myself and my mum was the complicated part. I insisted I was Aramis. My mother protested against getting Porthos. I can understand why. Porthos is the short straw. There’s really no way to make it work and, after the Victoria and space dog suggestions, my mother was getting far too annoyed with the rest of us to want to hear me suggest Milady de Winter (ya know, the villain of the piece) so we let go of that idea. I also don’t know if we’ve moved too far from historic figures to fictional characters.

As we began to quiz my dad about which mathematical symbol was the title of the last Ed Sheeran album (a definite quiz question at the other Kennedy house), it occurred to me that JFK and Jackie O might be the solution. Sure, it’ll fuel the “heh heh Kennedy” jokes for another year but they’re historic and they’re people! As it looks like me and Callum aren’t able to make the party, despite my enthusiasm about the theme, we only need ideas for my parents. If I did have to go, “Teen Kennedy” would be my call. Sure, no one’s heard of this particular Kennedy but when I’m walking around yelling, “I am a Kennedy, Google me!”, what the hell will that matter?

If you have any other suggestions, particularly for historic women my mum can go as, please send them my way! Warning: she’s definitely not open to anymore dog suggestions.

P.S. This week she mistakenly called me Geoffrey. That’s not relevant but it really tickled me.