January 29, 2014 by Perfect Circle Creative
A woman boarded the Green Line train at College Park, sat down, and began pounding off text messages as rapidly as two thumbs allowed. She looked to be around thirty, with prematurely greying hair and an Art Nouveau engagement ring that sparkled across the train.
Her name was Blair, and she was texting a frustrated reminder to her fiancee Alan. He keeps forgetting to post the photos from last weekend, when they went to their first steampunk convention. Her mom has been begging to see photos of their get-up, and Blair is equally anxious to refresh her Facebook profile picture.
In the quiet moments at work (Marketing at one of the universities downtown), Blair escapes to steampunk chat threads and Pinterest boards, breathing easier in the virtual presence of people who share her Jules Verne obsession and know what she means by “retro-futuristic.” She moved here from Colorado seven months ago to be closer to Alan, and it’s been a hard transition. Everyone here walks fast, heads down, allergic to Interaction with Strangers. The people at work are the worst. She never knew she wasn’t worth some people’s time until she walked into this office. She doesn’t look the part and she doesn’t play the games these women expect of her. They all have iPhones as lunch dates and only do happy hours with women exactly like them. Equal parts barrel curls, J.Crew, growling LA voices, and
thigh gap obsession health consciousness. Add a dash of surface-level concern, stir in some “Wait, you’ve never gotten a Brazilian blowout?”, and garnish with a sprig of passive aggression.
She and Alan decided they needed to find something they could do together that would help them find new friends as a couple. She has always loved theater, and he’s a gadget geek, so the solution was obvious.
Now having a successful convention under her belt, Blair is a little less withdrawn as she arrives at work today. Rather, she grins at the secret life, the transformation she’s capable of. It gives her a satisfying sense of power over these perfect women. What would happen if she told them? How much could she trip them up if she told the whole truth in response to a rote “How was your weekend?”? Not that they ask out of actual interest, but what if she pretended they did? “I finished a costume for my alter-ego, and I’m really excited about it. How was your Sunday?” They’ll giggle something about brunch and retreat to their desks, and she’ll let herself feel just the slightest bit morally superior…