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Breasts, Bare Bottoms and Black Leather

Cyborg detective jpg
Judges Favorite - The judges of the DragonCon 2000 Masquerade panted heavily -- er, voted heavily in favor of this rosy-cheeked cyborg detective.  The masquerader also played a first-rate Laura Croft by day.  (All photos by Jean Marie Ward)

I'm no stranger to costumes. During a colonial encampment, I wore an 18th century gentleman's greatcoat to cover my 20th century jeans and t-shirt so that I could dine inside a tent illuminated by lantern light. I watched women whirl their wide hoop skirts through crowded peddlers' stalls while their men refought the Battle of Gettysburg. 

But none of these costumed events prepared me for the women in their low cut, bare-bottomed, black leather attire who strolled about the convention halls at Atlanta's DragonCon 2000, June 29 - July 2.  

Many costumes showcased the fantastic handiwork of their creators. Original, risqué, provocative and some downright tacky masqueraders strutted through the lobby and venue rooms at Atlanta's Hyatt Regency Hotel.  

Some women pushed their cleavage to the limit and beyond, falling into a category I labeled as Truly Tasteless Tits. These particular bosoms would be far sexier if the bodice left more to the imagination and exposed less real flesh. Too many tightly corseted breasts thrust forward like headlights on a car, or squeezed together so unnaturally that any second they threatened to pop out, smacking the eye of the person shoved next to them in a crowded elevator.  

One question nagged at me. How did these women hide their nipples? Is there Crazy Nipple Glue to suppress those buds while achieving maximum breast exposure? One bare-breasted warrior solved the dilemma by crossing her nipples with black electric tape. Ouch! Duct tape could do the job too, but the shiny gray wouldn't have matched her black leather skirt.  

Unlike the bared breasts of the tasteful and tasteless, women who exposed their bottoms showed cheeks with curves in all the right places. Women who wanted a slightly less naked look chose the ever-popular throng, a garment especially well received in presidential offices. Although throng panties titillate men, they can torture women. I studied one beauty in a see-through dress as she sat smoking a cigarette. Never did that throng wedge itself uncomfortably between her seductively curved cheeks. That narrow strip stayed perfectly in the middle. Maybe it's not Crazy Nipple Glue, but All-Purpose Throng and Nipple Glue that keeps things in place. 

Besides the discomfort of hiding nipples, and keeping a throng secure, what about the feet? My feet ached daily and I wore comfy Reeboks. Many of the masqueraders explored DragonCon in four-inch or higher heels. I admit that no sneaker ever made will complement a diaphanous dress and throng. Of course, sore feet may not be the issue with attire designed to encourage a more prone position. 

Black leather must be de rigueur for the high-fashion fantasy dresser. If not leather, then shiny, black vinyl that could rival the sweaty discomfort of a Storm Trooper's uniform. But those who wear black leather or vinyl are not of an age to worry about igniting hot flashes.  

Miraj jpg
Black Leather de Rigor Mortis - Miraj, an internationally renowned bellydancer and corseteer for Brute Force Leather and Lace, cruises the Dragoncon 2000 Dealers Room as Lady Death.

The DragonCon Masquerade, the con's official costume contest, should boast the unofficial motto, "She who wears the least wins the most." DragonCon 2000 upheld tradition when the Best Costume in Show went to the slim beauty wrapped in black leather strips that sparkled in neon colors along her sides when she flipped a switch. The electric razzle-dazzle paled when she turned around. Crisscrossing her back, the black leather strategically emphasized her perfectly bare derriere. Since the panel's testosterone levels far exceeded its female hormone count, the judges pronounced bottoms up for those electrifying cheeks. 

Those costumes -- bizarre and brilliant, even the ones that made me cringe -- let fans live the fantasy. In costume, they can cross swords with a worthy opponent, play the swashbuckling hero, become the warrior princess. At DragonCon, they can be Walter Mittys for a few days without the nagging spouse dragging them inexorably back to Monday morning.  

They dress up for a chimerical world where they can travel anywhere and pretend to be anyone. When the adventure ends, they carefully store their fantasy in tissue, box it up till the next con, when they will again roll out the fishnet hose, untwist the chain mail, and LARP into the next imaginative universe.  

Doris Valliant