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Drunk rube is a COSTUME? Great, now I gotta go change.

Posted by MvB | October 27, 2006 11:16 AM

Another point: the rate of physically attractive women is a LOT higher than it is for men. Most dudes look like shit, so the more they cover up, the better.

Posted by Mike in MO | October 27, 2006 11:22 AM

What's a Rube? I just wiki'ed it and didn't come up with anything satisfactory...

Posted by Renee | October 27, 2006 11:24 AM

And why do more straight men look like shit? Because they can look like shit and not pay a price for it—meaning, they can look like shit and still get laid. Why? Because straight women don't respond/demand good visuals, it seems. A straight can let himself fall apart, and women will still fuck him. A straight woman doesn't have that luxury, and neither does a gay man.

I would even go farther than that: Straight women like men have let themselves fall apart a bit. A straight guy that's too pretty, and too perfect, is less attractive to many straight women than a guy who has decent looks but has allowed himself to go slightly to pot.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 27, 2006 11:28 AM

Once at a Halloween party I met a guy who was dressed as Russell Crowe from Gladiator, and damned if he wasn’t getting more ass that night than he could keep his hands on. And yes it was mostly gay men there, but still.

There are lots of sexy outfits for straight guys too: firefighter, He-Man (thank you Wm. Steven Humphrey), Superman, etc. It seems like the straight guys at the Halloween parties I’ve attended go more for humor than sexiness.

Posted by Andrew | October 27, 2006 11:30 AM

To add to Dan's point, there are a lot of women who get a kick out of 'fixing' a man.

Posted by Gomez | October 27, 2006 11:31 AM


I’d say that applies equally to straight women and gay men. The mind blowing, biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I can change him.”

Posted by Andrew | October 27, 2006 11:36 AM

I know from experience that the sight of me in a Speedo provokes cries of horror and demands for a Congressional investigation.

Posted by Fnarf | October 27, 2006 11:39 AM

There's literally no scientific evidence for the "men are just more visual than women" claim. It's conventional wisdom—but so is "gay men are pedophiles." That doesn't make it true. The reason women dress up as sexy sexy sluts for Halloween is that we've had it beaten into us for our entire lives that male attention can only be obtained in one way - by out-slutting other women. Servicing the patriarchy by dressing up as subservient male fantasies (sexy sexy stewardess! sexy sexy maid!) is not in our genes; it's something society reinforces and rewards us for at every turn. To say that dressing up as sexy-sexy-subservient-male-fantasy is somehow genetic or inherent is just incredibly naive and insulting.

Posted by ECB | October 27, 2006 11:40 AM

A rube is a country bumpkin that just fell off the turnip truck.

Posted by wags | October 27, 2006 11:41 AM

So what are you going to be for Halloween Frau Erica?

Posted by curious | October 27, 2006 11:45 AM

And: Suggesting that "men are just more visual" is no different, philosophically (because it's something that's reinforced by anecdotal evidence, not science) than suggesting that "men are just worth more money" or "men are just predisposed to beat women." just because something gender-specific HAPPENS (e.g. men beat women more than women beat men; men make more money) doesn't mean it's the result of innate characteristics. This is the kind of it's-her-fault-she-got-raped shit that men have always used to keep women doing what men want.

Posted by ECB | October 27, 2006 11:46 AM

"The invisible hand of the sexual marketplace."

OK your sympathy with Andrew Sullivan makes more sense now. Go to a web page marketing goods that dramatically limit consumer choice to starkly defined gender roles, then say consumers make their choices without any regard to marketing.

Posted by wf | October 27, 2006 11:47 AM

It's not genetic, but, as Dan said, it's women making a conscious, market-driven choice to do so. A typical, hetero woman who wants to attract mens' attention on Halloween realizes that dressing as "sexy _______" is the most sure-fire way to accomplish that. Society may reinforce that, but it's only because that's what a large # of hetero men want, and what a large # of hetero women are willing to do.

I think guys don't dress sexy because it's harder to pull it off. Moreover, I think the average woman would appreciate a creative, clever, or witty costume than one that showed off the man's pecs. Unfortunately for Erica, the average man appreciates a costume that shows off the breasts.

And "gay men are pedophiles" is not conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is not the same as a stereotype.

Posted by him | October 27, 2006 11:47 AM

As a former goth girl, I'm thinking about going as Robert Smith of the Cure. But I'm open to suggestions..

Posted by ECB | October 27, 2006 11:49 AM


I guess it depends on the goal of the costume. Are we purposefully trying to attract men and attention? I was a cowboy one year recently and while it was certainly clichéd, the attention was totally there.
What are some more appropriate ways to catch their eye? I've seen some very funny non-sexy female costumes over the years; do straight guys respond to those the same way?

Posted by Andrew | October 27, 2006 11:51 AM

Dan, I am a straight woman and have no problems with sexy costumes and I sure as hell don't want men (unless they work out or have otherwise reasonably attractive bodies) to start showing flesh. This isn't about getting mad about men not having to wear sexy costumes. It's about having choices. Ya know, SELECTION! Maybe the costume-makers don't think there's any market for non-sexy girl costumes, but I think there is.

Let's say I've eaten a few too many muffins (true story) and yet still need a quick costume for Halloween that I don't have to make myself or use any of my time/energy for. Too bad. I have no choice but to look like an overgrown idiot in a "sexy" costume. It may look sexy on a 20-something, but once you hit 30ish (or 40ish) and don't look like you did at age 20, it just looks stupid.

Or let's say I'm a 20-something that would like to be a carrot. Or a slice of pizza. Or Glenda the Good Witch. Or a host of other things that aren't necessarily sexy. I have to take time and energy to make something. Wahh! I'm a consumer who wants a better selection than that.

Or maybe Halloween is really just for kids and I should just stay home and pass out (and eat half of) the candy. Yum.

Posted by Stephanie | October 27, 2006 11:54 AM

Sexy Robert Smith?

Out of solidarity for my sisters in arms, I will wear a costume that prominently displays my wiener and ample butt-cleavage.

Posted by The_Pope_Of_Chili_Town | October 27, 2006 11:54 AM

OMG, you were once goth?! Cheers to your youth, and nice costume choice.

Posted by curious | October 27, 2006 11:55 AM

RE: this comment by Dan in 4:

A straight guy that's too pretty, and too perfect, is less attractive to many straight women than a guy who has decent looks but has allowed himself to go slightly to pot.

True, and thank fucking God.


Posted by bill | October 27, 2006 11:56 AM

One more thought, regarding the alleged marketplace for costumes and options for women that aren't Sexy Fill in the Blank:

Make your own damn costume for crissakes.

No one says you have to rent something--be creative. I'm anti-Hallowe'en in general, but my fondest memories are of my aunt Peggy getting me and my brothers transformed into hobos (politically incorrect today, but those burnt-cork beards were a gas), mummies, whatever.

Anyone who doesn't want to be what you're being sold on, go make your own costume.

Posted by bill | October 27, 2006 11:59 AM

i got a staight friend that's dressing up like a 70's porn star a la dirk diggler..
look out for him. although, like dirk, the cock he'll be sportin will be prosthetic. i was trying to get him to wear that thong that borat wears on the beach. maybe next year.

Posted by riz | October 27, 2006 12:01 PM

Dan, I would guess the reason women hang out to men even when they slide into utter unattractiveness is that they don't want to be old maids. Or raise a bunch of kids by themselves. Or lose a bunch of income that they will never equally achieve because they are women.

Hanging onto one's man (a frequent theme in many songs of different genres) and is important to many women for mostly f**ked up reasons, but still. I don't agree with it, but clearly a lot of women subscribe to this.

Posted by sexy mustard | October 27, 2006 12:03 PM

Isn't there a link down the page about how both Men and Women are focused by sexually -explicit images?

Posted by golob | October 27, 2006 12:05 PM

I'm with Bill. Who are these ridiculous people who rely on store-bought costumes?

Perhaps the market forces go something like this: People who buy costumes in stores are unimaginative and uninteresting. Unimaginative and uninteresting people like lame, typical, "sexy" costumes for women. Therefore, stores sell mostly lame, typical, "sexy" costumes for women.

Posted by Levislade | October 27, 2006 12:22 PM

Oh, and for the record: I was asked recently what I'm going to be for Halloween: "An adult," I replied.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 27, 2006 12:24 PM

Is there something wrong with trying to look sexy and get attention?

Mother Culture teaches straight people that girl parts are pretty and boy parts are icky, so sexy attention-getting costumes for males would cover the icky boy parts and portray strength, wealth, and power.

Posted by pox | October 27, 2006 12:25 PM

I was reading something about "scientific evidence...visual...lalala" and stuff, but I got distracted by the hottie in the ad next to what happened?

Posted by Conejo | October 27, 2006 12:36 PM

I make my costume every year, but there are some lazy years that I'd rather just grab a store-bought costume.

Sexy costumes are fine, we just need to have a choice.

Posted by sexy mustard | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM

I've seen men sport sexy costumes in the past. But when straight men wear sexy costumes, the sexiness is often meant to be a joke. Female nudity is never allowed to be comical or raucous, and so we do not have the luxury of our "sexy" costumes being interpreted as anything other than an earnest, one-dimensional seduction attempt. And that is some major bullshit, Dan.

Which is why you will see me at Chop Suey tonight disguised as Donald Sutherland.

Posted by Bettina | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM

Andrew, agreed on #7.

Erica should dress up as a 4 lane surface boulevard for Halloween. Or a monorail train. The latter's probably more feasible.

Posted by Gomez | October 27, 2006 12:47 PM

Just like Smurfette's only Smurf trait was that she was female. Like there was no Brainy Smurfette or even Vanity Smurfette. There were just a variety of Smurfs of all kinds and just one girl whom I guess had all or none of those other traits, who knows?

Okay, maybe that's a non-sequitur :) Maybe they have a Sexy Smurfette costume?

Posted by smurfy | October 27, 2006 12:49 PM


Posted by 4 lane | October 27, 2006 12:50 PM

Make my own costume? GREAT idea. Because women are SO good at sewing!

Posted by ECB | October 27, 2006 1:00 PM

It seems to me that every girl I know wants to dress sexy on Halloween. It's like the get-out-of-jail-free card for women. They don't want that type of attention (and all the crap that comes with it) or the name calling that will result from dressing that way any other day, but you can do it on Halloween.

And someone did make this point earlier but it bears repetition: if a man dresses up showing a lot of flesh, he's gay. Even if he's not, people will think he is, which makes it a big waste of time for him....

Posted by Dianna | October 27, 2006 1:12 PM

If there is no diff. between men and women on visual stim. then why is most visual porn geared toward men? I contend that even Playgirl would have tanked decades ago if gay men didn't help support it. Yes, women are turned on by a hot guy, but that is not the only thing most of them are looking for. If it was just the visuals that got them off, then there would be more porn for straight women that is purely visual. Most porn for women that i've seen is couples porn on skinamax. Most women i've talke to think the masturbation porn of hot guys jerking off is either gross or too funny. most gay men don't mind seeing a hot guy stroking it. visuals. there is a difference. a varied and nuanced one, but a difference.

Posted by roman4 | October 27, 2006 1:15 PM

All this dirty talk is just clouding the real spirit of Halloween: Being told by your supervisor "Freddy Krueger" that you can "take half an hour to look at the (Halloween decorated) booths and get a snack or whatever."

PS There aren't any "sexy" costumes at work today. I did see a coworker wearing a cape with a saggy "devil's tail" and horns peeing at the urinal though. Hip hip hooray!!

Posted by Conejo | October 27, 2006 1:22 PM

omg. what a bitchfest! halloween is not just for kids. dressing up is a tradition that goes back thousands of years--what do you think a masquerade is? think about carnival in europe or rio or new orleans; people get dressed up and then go over the top in their party behavior. it's a release, a chance to put on a mask and be someone else for a little while. let's put away our daily bullshit and release that tension! get out of your normal skin and be sexy or frumpy or disgusting or really funny. just be creative, however you know how.

ps-people who think halloween is just for kids don't know how to have a good time. you suck.

Posted by frances | October 27, 2006 1:24 PM


Make your own costume doesn't automatically mean sew it. Creative use of extant clothes or props is equally easy for anyone who cannot wield a needle.

Posted by bill | October 27, 2006 1:26 PM


Erica, you should dress up as Andy Warhol. Don't forget the bullet hole and the blood.

Posted by charles | October 27, 2006 1:30 PM

I think it makes perfect sense to want to be able to buy a store-bought costume (made by some 14-year old girl chained to a sewing machine in a far-off country with lax labor laws) that reflects a more progressive ideology. Feminism is all about choices, after all.

The most important thing is that this disposable article of clothing that is meant to be worn once and thrown away reflects your heartfelt desire to make a better world.

Of course, the Marie Curie and Susan B Anthony costumes do require three times as much fabric to make as the Sexy L'il Red Riding Hood, so they cost a bit more.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 27, 2006 1:32 PM

I think it's hard to argue with Dan's point that sexy costumes work better in general at attracting desired attention for het women than they do for het men, as raw data. I don't think that necessarily implies inherent, rather than learned, differences, and rereading Dan's post, I'm not actually sure he made that jump. I've ranted in comments before about the apparent differences in expressed sexual desire between men and women, but this is also just raw data - as an example, lets go into the (ick) casual encounters section of craigslist and compare counts of men seeking women to vice-versa:
m4w: 2,398
w4m: 80
And, a good portion of the w4m ads can be assumed to be spam for porn sites. The point is, when a man likes a woman, he's supposed to walk up to her and make it known ("know what he wants", but I hate that phrase), and when a woman likes a man, she's supposed to sit there and be annoyed that he hasn't paid attention to her yet. Whether this is because of an inherent difference in sexual desire, or because women have just learned they're not supposed to express desire and men have learned they're supposed to express it ad obnoxium, I haven't done any research, and I haven't formed an anecdotal opinion either - it seems weird to me that the external difference would be so stark, even in progressive circles, without an inherent internal difference, but entrenched social pressures are powerful, and it also seems weird to me that humans would have evolved to have such an extreme difference in sexuality between genders. Anyway, I think Erica and Dan are both right.

Posted by Noink | October 27, 2006 1:51 PM

ECB, you kinda jumped the shark with #34. Woah there.

Posted by Levislade | October 27, 2006 2:04 PM

re: #34: Kidding, y'all. Calm down.

Posted by ECB | October 27, 2006 2:10 PM

Word. Damn this Internet! It makes sarcasm much more difficult to detect.

Posted by Levislade | October 27, 2006 2:20 PM

and here i thought women were just naturally good at sarcasm

at least they are in my family

Posted by bill | October 27, 2006 2:28 PM

What happened to Halloween being SCARY?

Posted by Gryph | October 27, 2006 2:29 PM

The amount of time I've wasted looking at SLOG today is pretty damn scary. Must...keep...working...

Posted by sexy mustard | October 27, 2006 2:33 PM

This thread terrifies me.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 27, 2006 2:35 PM

Want to make a statement about the lack of options? Dress up like a typical straight dude for Halloween and have your "sexy sexy" girlfriends who are wearing witch/cop/prisoner etc costumes hang the fuck all over you.
You could be: pot-bellied, scruffy, balding or a complete idiot and it would make a good point. in fact, the more lame you look, the better.
i, for one, am a woman dressing up as justin timberlake for halloween. i can be sexy AND wear clothes. :)

Posted by want a good costume? dress up like a straight dude | October 27, 2006 2:41 PM

@44 - what does it tell you, ECB, when nobody can tell when you're being serious or being "funny"? lol. unless everything you write about sexism is meant to be a joke?

Posted by charles | October 27, 2006 2:57 PM

NO, ECB, I insist on being horrified, offended and obstinate that my 50's era misogynist sensibilities have been challenged! And stuff.

Posted by Gomez | October 27, 2006 2:57 PM

NO, ECB, I insist on being horrified, offended and obstinate that my 50's era misogynist sensibilities have been challenged! And stuff.

Posted by Gomez | October 27, 2006 2:57 PM

Wait a minute, did I hear Erica was going to sew me a costume? Far out!

Posted by Fnarf | October 27, 2006 3:02 PM

I'm going as "sexy FNARF".

Posted by Conejo | October 27, 2006 3:05 PM

I totally want that Napoleon Dynamite costume for myself.

Posted by Geni | October 27, 2006 3:24 PM

i'm leaving sexes behind. the house party i'm going to has a "robot revolution" theme and my ass is going to be safely hidden behind tin foil, duct tape, and a healthy smattering of random computer parts I just scored from my employer's surplus room. I've got 34 sticks of ram, a motherboard with a PIII processor and the number pad and guts from an old operator's phone. After I get LED's from RadioShack, aluminum ducting from Home Depot, and a cardboard box, this little robot, this little robot overlord, is going to 01010000 01000001 01010010 00100000 01000110 01010101 01000011 01001011 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010100 01000001 01011001 (par fucking tay).

My box body is going have a secret hatch that will open to an interior space filled with bottles of beer. So if you see a robot on capitol hill, ask nicely and you might get a free beer and be spared.

the revolution is coming.

citizens of tomorrow, be forewarned ;)

Posted by charles | October 27, 2006 3:34 PM

Recent studies (One from University of Washington IIRC) have indicated that women and men are equally aroused by visual stimuli, and as a female I buy this. It's just that the standard for male attractiveness is actually higher than the standard for female attractiveness-- it's not the women that are in the minority in finding male bodies attractive, it's the men with the genes, age and drive to exemplify the ideal that are rare. There are women who like the look of non-idealized male flesh, and I agree, Dan, that they are the minority.

Go to a frat party or a sports team party on Halloween, and you will see MANY fit young men showing their bodies, and MANY women responding to it and pursuing them.

Some straight males like a big butt. VERY few women like a spare tire on a man. Wow, women are so shallow, why can't we just value men for who they are? Oh wait. That's not how sex works for most people. The important thing is that men who show their physiques feel/are powerful, and women who show their bodies are perceived to be/feel disempowered. That's a cultural problem and we need to fix it.

We own our bodies no matter who sees it... At least until Duhbyuh appoints another SC Judge.

Posted by Lauren | October 27, 2006 3:34 PM

Conejo, Fnarf is already very, very sexy, so a sexy Fnarf would be TOO sexy. Too sexy for his shirt, maybe. Too sexy for the roomful of people who ran out of the room screaming after the shirt came off, definitely.

Posted by Fnarf | October 27, 2006 4:19 PM

One Halloween when the Elysian used to have its fabulous "Ghoul Bootie" musical event for Halloween, my husband and I cross-dressed: Me as a little punk rock dude, him as a whory-looking redhead. I was ignored, but he got plenty of attention from women, including one who started nibbling on his shoulder. I wanted to defend him!
He showed just a tad of his sweet hairy torso, as well as his hairy legs in a pair of my fishnet tights, under a little leather miniskirt. Many other fine costumes on display that night.
Halloween can even be for straight old progressives like us, especially with all the great musicians playing funk and whatever, like PK and Dara of the old Rockin Teenage Combo, singer Om, and many other of the the folks from various jam bands of the late 1990's...
Sigh. It used to make staying out late a gas.

Posted by isabelita | October 27, 2006 4:29 PM

ROBOT REVOLUTION!!! I actually MADE a robot costume this year, but it is not your ordinary robotic machine, it is a sex machine. Including fancy meters to gauge the freakiness (ranging from al gore to rick james), a lube level indicator, an orgasmeter, a foreplay timer, snuggle mode, and other options. No flesh will be shown, but it will be sexy!

Posted by Sex Machine | October 28, 2006 5:48 AM

I think we like a tight pair of jeans on the right boo-tay. Just today I saw this hot guy walking past Thrift World, or whatever that place is, and his pant were tight and his ass was rocking (not literally, that would render his sexy points void.) Conclusion: MEN, IF YOU HAVE A NICE ASS, THE TIGHTER PANTS THE BETTER...OH YAH.

Posted by audrey | November 1, 2006 3:13 PM

Veteran game show host Bob Barker is stepping down from hosting The Price is Right after 35 years...

Posted by Glenn Sheehan | November 12, 2006 6:28 PM

Pioneering screenwriter Nigel Kneale, best known for the Quatermass TV serials and films, dies aged 84...

Posted by Sage Carver | November 17, 2006 12:31 AM

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