I went from nothing to do to too much to do in the space of a day. It’s weird how life can go like that. I’ve been working at this costume shop for a little extra cash before I leave this island. It’s so boring most of the time, I can hardly stand it. Yesterday there were a lot of customers, but most of the time, it’s sitting around staring at the piles of stuff in there. The shop is crazy stuffed with costumes and junk. Some of them are so beautiful and elegant, but others are so crappy, I can’t imagine anyone will ever touch them. A few days ago, just to ease the boredom, I started combing wigs. The place is filled with wigs, hundreds of them. They are fun to comb. I like the transition from crack whore tangles to silky smoothness.
Finding costumes for people can be fun, especially people who are willing to get into it and find something interesting to wear. Some of them though, can be so yuck. Today, for instance, this toady little man came in with his wife. She was Thai, her body childlike and tiny. He was short, heavyset, in his early 20’s, with tatoos on his arms. He wanted her to have a “sexy” costume for work on Halloween. I did not ask what “work” was, but gathered from things they said that it was in the sex industry.
Nothing the woman tried on satisfied the man. Most of our smallest costumes were too large for her and the children’s costumes weren’t sexy enough (um, yeah). So she’s putting things on and taking them off and anything that looks good, he says no. He kept talking on his mobile phone, acting self-important to be doing so. She’s looking through things, finding stuff she likes, taking it to him, only to have him shake his head no, vetoing costumes as either too big or not “sexy” enough. At one point, the other girl who works in the shop and I were chatting about Whole Foods Market. We laughed because I called it Whole Paycheck. I said, That store is so expensive. It’s a total ripoff. Toady Man, upon hearing this, walks over by a rack of clothes and, honest to god, pulls out a wad of cash and starts counting it right there in the store! He peeled back fifties and hundreds, counting the wad several times to ensure we saw how much money he had. What a fucking idiot.
I giggled to the other employee and rolled my eyes. After a bit, he went outside to talk again on the phone while his wife shopped. We finally convinced her to try on a cute and very short Egyptian, Cleopatra style dress. It was kind of plain, with a gold cord that wraps around and around. We accessorized her with a snake hair ornament, arm bands, strappy sandals, and a fantastic brass neck piece. She looked pretty amazing, considering every other item she had attempted to wear made her look like a child trying to dress as a hooker. She even seemed excited at the possibility, a happy glint in her eye apparent for the first time since she had walked in the door nearly an hour previous.
Dressed and smiling, pleased at last to have found a costume that seemed to show enough skin for her husband while looking cool at the same time, she walked out for the verdict. We heard voices, his raised, hers contrite. Minutes later she came back into the store and told us he did not like it. She apologized as she removed the jewelry and costume and put back on her clothes. No problem, we told her.
After they left in their giant black Escalade, I could not stop thinking of that horrible man with his wad of money, obscene car, and mail-order Thai wife whom he sought to dress in as slutty an outfit as possible. Everything about him made me cringe. He was desperate to show just how important he was, how much more money he had than us pitiful costume store employees who complained about the cost of Whole Foods. His wife seemed unhappy, trying desperately the entire time we were in the place to please him, but he would have none of it. Yuck. He was reprehensible.
Thinking on it later, I realized that she is likely in a quite precarious position. Married as she is, if something happens and she is no longer married to him, she would probably have to return to her native country. I realize I am speculating, but it is easy enough to imagine this being less than desireable for her, a means for him to control everything she does. Marriages like this one are legalized sex slavery. If she doesn’t want to return home, this man has control over her, it’s as simple as that. Anyway, I don’t know the whole story. I could only take away my observations, and what I saw was pitiful. I hope this woman achieves in her life all she desires. I hope for her sake if her story is as I imagine it, she is able to find a way to live her life in spite of her husband and find happiness. I wish her well.