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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Seven Reasons Why You Should NOT Lend a Belly Dance Costume to Someone to Wear to a Halloween Party



The 7 Reasons

  1. The borrower might do things while wearing your costume that cast both belly dance and the Middle East in a bad light. ("Seducing the Sultan" jokes, "harem slave" jokes, terrorist jokes, trying to "belly dance" in a way that's insulting to belly dance, speaking in a fake Arabic accent, etc.)
  2. There is a risk of the costume being torn, wrinkled, or stained because the borrower won't be careful enough with it. The borrower might wad it up and stash it under the car seat, then forget it's there. She might not notice when coins, fringe, or tassels get caught in the mechanism of a folding chair, and get torn off when she stands up. She might spill food or red wine on it while eating and drinking.
  3. The borrower might not return it promptly. In fact, she might not ever return your costume.
  4. The borrower might lose pieces of your costume such as a wristband or piece of jewelry.
  5. The borrower might alter the costume to fit herself, making it impossible for you to alter it back to your own size.
  6. The borrower might loan your costume to someone else, perhaps someone who doesn't even know you, to wear the next night to a different party, and any of the above could be done by this stranger who feels no accountability at all to you.
  7. If you get angry about any of the above or ask the person to pay for damage/loss of your costume, the person will get defensive and dismissive about your righteous anger. The borrower might drag others in to take her side against you.


Additional Thoughts

Our dance form has enough credibility problems without having non-dancers frolicking drunkenly in our costumes and doing things that reinforce harmful stereotypes. If you love our dance form, then why would you assist non-dancers in treating us as though we were something to ridicule?

Also, consider the ethical issues of mocking other people's cultures by diminishing them to the status of playing dress-up.

Send the person to a costume shop to buy her own cheap Halloween costume or rent one. If she's not willing to pay the Halloween store for a costume, then do you think she'll be willing to cover your expenses of repair or cleaning if she damages your costume?

People don't respect stuff they obtain easily. Borrowing is easy. Saving money to buy one or making your own is not. The borrower will see your costume as something that she can easily cast aside when done with it because it didn't cost her any money or effort to acquire it.

The more drunk the borrower gets while wearing your costume, the more likely the issues listed under "7 Reasons" above could happen. Drunk people do not typically demonstrate good judgment.

Even if the borrower stays sober and tries to behave responsibly, she has no control over the drunken slob standing near her who spills ketchup or red wine all over your costume.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by William M. Smith, Iowa City, Iowa.




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