The Mystery of Masks
The urge to dress up isn't universal, but it is wide spread! In historical romances, one of the fun tropes is the masquerade ball, where guests can come as Cleopatra or a Cavalier or whatever else they fancy. Or if they don't want a costume, they can wear sweeping, caped and hooded dominoes that disguise face and body. Masks are a major part of the fun because they allow guests to dance with mysterious strangers, or flirt, or steal a kiss, or possibly a good deal more. The joy of anonymity!
At a ball, the masks generally came off at midnight, at which point you find that the masked man who is a great kisser is the neighbor you thought was really boring, or some other interesting discovery. Of course, those who really valued anonymity would sneak out before the unmasking.
I've use masked balls a time or two because the plot possibilities are so delicious. In Nowhere Near Respectable, Princess Charlotte, the teenage daughter of the Prince Regent, goes in disguise to a mask where hero and heroine have to rescue her from villains. A little too much excitement, even for a bored princess!
Most of us don't get invited to that kind of masquerade ball, but we do have Halloween. When I was little, Halloween was more a matter of kids and candy, but over the years, adult have been dressing up more and more. Because dressing up is fun, and it does add a little excitement to one's life when the grocery cashier is a vampire.
Are you someone who loves dress up? Or do you prefer to watch and applaud from the sidelines? Or would you rather avoid vampire cashiers altogether?
Mary Jo Putney
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