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Nathan Hansen's column: Sexiness is mother of invention

Some people worry the United States has lost its ability innovate. That we no longer chase scientific advances or other breakthroughs the way we once did. That we are being left behind by more ambitious nations.

Generally, that we’d rather kick back with some corn chips and a video game than come up with the next big thing.

It’s a ridiculous idea, of course. Anybody who believes the era of American ingenuity is dead has clearly never seen the variety of costumes that are available each year at Halloween.

Our students might not score as well as they once did on math tests, but if there is any way to make a sexy version of some seemingly unsexy person, place or thing, then we as a country are all over it.

Don’t believe it’s true? Consider the listing I came across last year for a costume depicting a sexy ear of corn. Basically, it’s a short dress with a kernel pattern printed on it.

I can only imagine the number of shucking comments you would get if you chose to wear it.

Mario, the pot-bellied, moustachioed plumber from the video games, exists as a sexy costume. Every time I see it I’m forced to consider big parts of my childhood in an entirely new light.

Pretty much any costume can have a sexy version if you really put your mind — or other physical attributes — to it. Squirrel? Easy. Badger? Why not? Zombie? If vampires can be hot, then why not an animated rotting corpse?

Minnesota Viking? Well, OK. Maybe there are limits.

The trend isn’t limited to adults, either. I once saw an elementary school costume parade that included a girl in a military-themed costume made up of a short, olive drab dress and a name tag that read Major Flirt.

I’m no military historian, but I’m fairly certain that’s not how we’re dressing our soldiers these days.

Or, wait. We haven’t started recruiting a stripper corps, have we?

There’s nothing wrong, exactly, with sexy Halloween costumes. At least not once the wearers reach the age of consent. Everybody likes to wear something sexy now and then. I’m certainly no stranger to the appeals of a well-fitting thong.

Actually, it’s probably best we forget I just said that.

It’s just, there are so many more interesting adjectives that could be applied to costumes. Buoyant, maybe, or nearsighted.

Be honest? Would rather the deep-sea fisherman at your Halloween party in the sexy version or the double-jointed? Sexy Pokemon or well-read Pokemon?

I don’t know what a well-read Pokemon would look like, exactly, but I’m sure it would be pretty interesting. And literate.

The point is, there’s a whole world of possibilities out there, and we’re missing out. For better or worse, we’ve hitched our wagon to the sexy horse (which you know just has to be an actual costume). Like smartphone makers who keep turning out basically the same phones year after year, our greatest costume-designing minds have fallen into a trap. A sexy, sexy trap.

And we’re all worse off for it.

Damn our ingenuity.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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