As Mitch stood in front of a floor length mirror of his assigned cabin, he concluded that -perhaps- he ordered the wrong item.
Or rather, the item itself wasn’t incorrect, but his search should have been more specific than ‘Halloween long black dress‘. He’d never actually seen The Addams Family, and wentalong with the idea because Jodie had wanted to do it. But then he looked up Morticia Addams on his phone and saw that her dress did not have a neckline so deep that it went down to her naval. According to the reference images, her dress also lacked slits up the sides that went all the way to the hips.
Thankfully, someone scrounged up a pair of fishnet tights for him to borrow, a benefit to being among wrestlers.
“Looking good,” Louis wolfwhistled, and Mitch’s face flushed. He took some consolation in the fact that he secured the correct wig, and teased the long locks to keep his hands busy. “Are you supposed to be Elvira?”
“Is that who this is?” Fumbling with a makeup pouch on loan from Sandy, Mitch pulled out some eyeliner. A moment later, Louis waved in front of his phone in front of Mitch, showing off a voluptuous woman with the same black dress. “Wow, she’s unfairly hot.”
“First woman I ever loved,” Louis chuckled while he put his phone away, then adjusted his own disheveled green wig. “Are you gonna style it into a beehive?”
“Huh? Oh no, I’m supposed to be Morticia, but I botched. Hopefully I can play it off as being a sexy version of her.” He tugged the top portion of the dress, dismayed by how loose it was. Surrendering to the fact that he’d never get it to fit properly, Mitch returned to the eyeliner. Before the felt tip made contact with his lash line, he took one last look down at his lack of cleavage and stated, “I don’t have the tits for this.”
“No one’s gonna care, I promise,” assured Louis.
“Jodie’s gonna care a little, I’m sure.”
“Is she Gomez?”
“She is,” Mitch confirmed. As if on cue, there was a knock on the door.
“Y’all decent in there?” came Jodie’s voice from the other side.
“Yeah, come in!” Louis responded, and mouthed “what?” when Mitch shot him a glare. In burst Jodie, wearing a pinstripe suit with her hair slicked back and put into a bun, and a little pencil mustache drawn above her top lip.
“CARA MIA!” she bellowed while Mitch finished up with the eyeliner and proceeded to apply mascara. Circling around his backside, he could see her eyebrow raise from the mirror, which he returned via the reflection. One of her fingers hooked through a hole in the fishnets, and she gave a light tug. “You uh, went for the slutty version, stud?”
“He got an Elvira costume,” Louis answered.
“OK!” Lowering the mascara, Mitch turned away from the mirror to stare them both down. “It didn’t say ‘Morticia’ or ‘Elvira’ on the packaging, just that it’s a long black dress!” He huffed, then resumed applying makeup, grumbling, “So what if I’m a little slutty tonight? Fuck it, I look hot.”
“No, you look good, really,” Jodie spoke without a hint of irony.
“I already told him that,” Louis nodded.
“Real shame you’re not cleared, you’d be great for the battle royale,” Jodie sighed heavily.
“I wouldn’t be able to wrestle in this, anyway,” Mitch tch‘d, pulling at the long skirt with his free hand to demonstrate his point, then released it and waved them both away. “Now if you striped suit wearing weirdos could both fuck off so that I can finish up, that’d be awesome.”
“Oh, I can’t admire my own wife?” Scandalized, Jodie put a hand to her chest while Louis held the door open for her.
“When I’m done, you can do all of that. When. I’m. Done.”
“We’ll see you out there, man,” Louis gave a thumbs up and closed the door behind them despite Jodie’s protests. The last thing he heard was Jodie asking Louis if he was Beetlejuice, and then the cabin was peaceful once more. He relished in the quiet for a moment before rushing to get the rest of his makeup done. Minutes later, his lips were crimson, the setting spray was spritzed, and he admired his handiwork, proud of how he hadn’t missed a beat since his performance days.
Somewhere in the back of his head, Calvin’s voice surfaced through a memory, his voice cutting as he not-so-subtly made a barb to some friends about Mitch being a walking stereotype. It hurt at the time, filling him with a lifetime’s supply of hot shame that ultimately caused him to abandon it altogether.
Burlesque wasn’t about low brow entertainment for Mitch, although that was part of the appeal, but the rush of bravery he experienced when he got on stage meant more than he could put into words. He discovered a part of himself that didn’t terrify him when he donned the role of a character, and for the first time in his adult life, he wasn’t wary of his body; instead, he actively put it on display -surgery scar, bony hips, and all- and the feedback was empowering. Wrestling had been the only other time that dysmorphia didn’t cripple him, hence why he did it at all.
He looked himself over in the mirror, vertical sternum scar on full display, the comment still painful even in the present. It didn’t matter that friends were all around and that Calvin was far away, merely a rude poltergeist every so often. because those words remained stuck in his craw.
“Whatever,” he mumbled. This was why Ann got $20 a week from him, so that he could complain about things like abandonment issues and being a doormat. If it got too overwhelming at the party, he could just say that he wasn’t feeling well and slip away. After making a final attempt to readjust the dress for more coverage, he abandoned the endeavor altogether. He stood up straight and nodded at himself in the mirror, then spun around and left behind the safety of the cabin.