The Adventures Of Alan: Not So Fancy Dress

The Adventures Of Alan: Not So Fancy Dress

By Alan Hancock

Illustration by Peter Clayton

I know that when I say what I’m about to say, I’m going to seem like a real kill joy. And, in an edition filled with inspiration, I don’t want to bring the tone down, but I feel I owe it to you all to be honest.

So here goes: I don’t like fancy dress.

There, I said it and I’m sorry.

As an option for workplace fundraising it’s one of only two bad choices. I’d happily sit in a bath of beans, I’d gleefully take multiple pies to the face, I’d do more than my fair share of a 10k static bike marathon and I’d cultivate the weakest handlebar moustache known to man for Movember but rocking up to work in a full body costume of Super Mario?

That is a firm no.

I know. I know. It’s a small sacrifice for a good cause and you can raise an awful lot of money taking part but, honestly, I’d rather raffle my own mother. I’d gladly pay thrice the recommended donation if I could just arrive at work in my own clothing. It may seem strange for someone such as myself to complain that it’s inappropriately wacky but I can’t help but feel irrationally concerned about hypothetical “what if’s” on charity day.

What if there’s a colleague dispute? How will I be able to behave as the consummate professional I am if I’m also dressed as Pacman?
What if a disgruntled customer pops into Snappy Snaps to make a complaint about their Nan’s canvas portrait of her dog only to have an uncharacteristically sober looking Captain Jack Sparrow explain that the reason her otherwise fine looking labrador’s face is skewed is because the image file was corrupted?
What if an old person falls up an escalator and the Joker arrives to administer first aid?

Christmas is the best time for dressing up but, as a CCTV operator by day, seeing four of your colleagues dressed as elves unexpectedly chase a shoplifter out of the store watching it unfold on several different screens is a real mind-bender.

These are unnecessarily surreal experiences for even the most self aware individual to contend with.

Ok, so maybe there’s also a slight smidge of jealousy in my beef with it. I never do well with fancy dress and other people absolutely nail it. A friend of mine wore a simple banana costume at a music festival and for some annoying reason it just worked. He continued to refine the look with random accoutrements throughout the day. He put on his sunnies and the banana looked better, then he added a monocle and it looked better still. He even took the fake beard that came as a part of my Jesus costume, put it on and, bizarrely, it went together perfectly. Like balsamic vinegar and strawberries. People quite literally went bananas.

Perhaps I’ve never gotten over it.

Incidentally, the second bad fundraising choice is deciding that the cherry on the cake of your charity event would be allowing someone that has absolutely no business rapping to attempt an ad hoc freestyle in front of a packed youth centre that helps disadvantaged children. If you can’t rap, don’t. Just cough up the money and remain silent. They’ve suffered enough.

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