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morning after

Imagine wearing your embarrassing Halloween costume on snowy sidewalks and a crowded train, during the afternoon of the wrong day. (Photo Illustration by David Wall/The Observer)
Imagine wearing your embarrassing Halloween costume on snowy sidewalks and a crowded train, during the afternoon of the wrong day. (Photo Illustration by David Wall/The Observer)

By MARIO WEDDELL
Features Co-Editor & Asst. Photo Editor
Published: November 2, 2011

My eyes were burning when I woke up in a foreign apartment in the heart of Brooklyn. Everything was out of focus; I fell asleep with my contacts in. Why did I do that? I don’t live in Brooklyn. There’s paint on my stomach. My thoughts slowly started gaining momentum as my eyes rolled into focus.

There was a party last night. I was at a Halloween party with a lot of my friends, and even more strangers. I think it was fun. My brain was trying to subdivide in my skull. Hangover. Yeah, the party was fun. The costumes were great, probably.

I showed up dressed as the American Indian from the Village People after a last minute trade with my roommate. He got the cowboy, I got the war paint and feather headdress. We also had a construction worker, a police officer and a soldier. Where was everyone? They all went home last night. I should have gone with them. The Village was missing its idiot.

There are a few problems with spending the night somewhere on a whim. You don’t have a place to put your contacts. You have to leave eventually, wearing the clothes you were in the night before. If you don’t wake up early enough, you have to deal with the awkward stares from normal, responsible people on a Sunday afternoon.

I walked down Fourth Avenue toward the R train. People stared, then quickly tried not to stare, as a young man wearing a cowboy hat (my roommate and I must have traded headwear again, as a symbol of affection before the night ended), war paint and a leather jacket walked down the sidewalk. A sudden gust of wind sent goosebumps down my thighs. I adjusted my loincloth and brought my head down between my shoulders. Oh right. I was wearing a loincloth, fashioned out of some briefs and two dishtowels. No pants. That was the real problem.

On the train, I picked the seat that faced the back, because those seats are usually the last to go. I was hoping to spare someone from the awkwardness of brushing against my naked thighs. Mostly, that someone was me, but I really didn’t want people to feel more uncomfortable than I was.

I kept my eyes glued on my phone, as if my entire existence was devoted to getting a high score playing Doodle Jump. Confidence is key in situations like this. Wearing a loincloth on a train, alone on a Sunday afternoon, already implied a certain level of confidence, so I just had to own it. Maybe people would think I always play Doodle Jump like this. The cowboy hat didn’t help contextualize my bare legs as part of the Village People, and my jacket was covering just enough of my briefs to prompt whispers like, “I think he has underwear or something. But maybe not. Maybe it’s just the towels.”

A lady sat down next to me, which was a shock. Before, commuters had been debating between the seat by me or the homeless man asleep in the corner. I was cursing her and praising her all at once, on the inside. “You fool. What have you done? People are going to think you’re with the naked guy. You angel. People think you’re with the naked guy. He might be a normal member of society.”

Unfortunately, the train emptied out, and she did not switch seats. I understood her predicament. To switch seats would be to acknowledge the awkward lack of pants on the young man next to her; to remain seated was to prolong the agony.

The train pulled into my station. I stayed seated for as long as possible, hoping to slip out in one swift movement. The wheels screeched to a halt. I tensed my muscles to spring out of the seat. The doors slid open. I jumped. I hit my head on the handrail above me. I stumbled across the lap of the woman. I said nothing. I secured a firm grip on my loincloth and left the train in a flat sprint. I emerged from the subway station into the middle of a group of children on a school trip. People whistled at me from cars. A man on a bike almost hit a parked car as he cackled. I resigned myself to the embarrassment and walked down the snowy sidewalks to my dorm, bringing a whole new meaning to the Walk of Shame.