When Drew asked me what a Mac Daddy was, I was stunned by the question, but I swiftly recovered and said confidently, “A Mac Daddy is a man who dresses in fancy suits and plays drums in a jazz band.” Drew and I hadn’t had the sex talk yet, and I saw no reason to enlighten him about the world of pimps and whores.
“Could he play the bass instead of the drums?” Drew asked hopefully. He’s been taking bass lessons for three months and is learning to accompany Porter on the first verse of “Free Fallin’.” They’re improving, though slowly.
“Of course he can,” I said. Although I’d originally defined a Mac Daddy as a drummer, there was no reason he couldn’t play the bass, the tuba, or the ukulele for that matter.
Later I heard Drew practicing his bass, and I went downstairs to gauge his progress. While earlier Drew had been in his soccer uniform, he’d traded this in for full Mac Daddy regalia– a black velvet suit and hat with leopard trim. He’d tucked some Monopoly money into his hat brim, and the bills trembled with each pluck of the strings. The clothing was fit to be worn only by Prince in concert or a pimp on his rounds, certainly not by a third grader practicing his guitar.
“Whoa. That is some fancy outfit,” I said slowly, wondering why I hadn’t thought to ask Drew earlier about his sudden interest in Mac Daddies. “Where’d that come from?”
“Party City,” Drew said. “I decided not to be a Ninja this year because I’ve been one for like five years, and then I saw this costume and I asked Daddy if I could get it and he said he didn’t care what I got as long as it fit and we made a decision in less than five seconds and I tried it on and it was my size. Porter got a scary costume that pumps real blood but it was too big for me and I decided I liked this one better anyway because I could wear a suit more places than a bloody mask.”
When I was back upstairs fixing dinner, I thought about the previous day. Bill and I had a whole list of errands to run, and he took the boys with him to Home Depot and then Party City for Halloween costumes while I went to buy new towels and groceries. I had been ecstatic to score the Publix run in lieu of the tortuous Halloween costume outing.
Party City has an obnoxious, complicated system, in which hyperactive children view a huge board with pictures of all the available costumes, select just one (with extreme difficulty) and scream their choice to their parents. The parent memorizes the code that corresponds to the desired ensemble, then joins the line to retrieve the costume.
The code is important– you can’t request “The red Ninja in a Child’s Small, please”– you must instead ask for “TX329278 in a Child’s Small” and hope for the best.
The parent relays the code to a bored employee, who conveys it to someone in the warehouse, and the crowd gathers with anticipation to learn the results. Is the Viking available in a 3T, or only a Child’s Medium? If the child’s size isn’t in stock, as is often the case, the weeping kid must be escorted back to the pictures to make another choice and go through the entire grueling process again.
Experienced mothers might check their children out of school to avoid the crowds and lower the stress level of the event, and would remember to bring pen and paper for recording codes and sizes. Only a first-timer would show up in the middle of a Saturday with multiple children expecting a painless, or even pleasant, experience. Bill was a virgin Halloween costume buyer.
That night after errands were finished, Bill and I went out for gimlets, and he complained about the crowds at Party City, the difficulty he had persuading Porter to commit to a costume, and the lack of available sizes. But he failed to mention that the situation was so desperate that he allowed Drew to choose a pimp suit and Porter an outfit that apparently squirted blood, and that I still hadn’t seen.
I’ve braved the Party City nightmare multiple times, but have I returned with sex slaves and dripping carcasses? Of course not. I’ve nixed all requests for even vaguely inappropriate costumes, and have purchased every Ninja costume available over the past decade.
When Bill got home from work, I asked him what the hell he was thinking letting Drew purchase a pimp outfit. He looked at me, confused, and said, “Honey, Party City kicked my ass. I don’t know what costumes we bought.”
Bill was simply beaten down by the crowds and chaos at Party City, and escaped with the first costume he could obtain that both satisfied and fit the costumee. He was astounded to learn that he’d purchased a pimp suit and a bloody mask, and not very penitent either.
“It was a circus in there,” he said. “We’ll just tell Drew he can’t wear a pimp suit for Halloween and make him think of something else. He can wear those old overalls and tie a bandanna to a stick and be a hobo.”
The problem with that approach, obviously, was that I had already told Drew that a Mac Daddy was a musician, not a pimp, and he’s been donning his velvet suit every time he practices the bass. He also asked if he could wear his new suit to his guitar lesson the following day. I’d refused based on the weather, pointing out that it was going to be 89 degrees and that velvet was traditionally considered a cold weather fabric.
We have little more than a week to go before Halloween, and I’m having difficulty sleeping. If my doorbell rang and I opened the door to see a tiny pimp politely asking for candy, I’d think dark, condemning thoughts about the mother who let her son out of the house dressed so inappropriately.
Can a pimp who thinks he’s a musical Mac Daddy go trick-or-treating in the Tiny Kingdom without raising eyebrows? Will the entire Glamore family suffer social repercussions?
Perhaps I’ll put on some black fishnet hose, stilettos, and dig up a slinky black dress of questionable taste. I’ll top it all off with bright lipstick and gaudy jewelry and I’ll accompany Drew on his Halloween rounds. My Mac Daddy and me– we’ll show the Kingdom how Halloween is done.