|Pug in a Pug Costume - a photo by DaPuglet on Flickr|
Fun in disguise
Sometimes it's enjoyable to pretend to be somebody that you are not, even for an evening or a weekend. Who hasn't employed engineering or camouflage to hide an unsightly middle or graying (or missing) hair? The surprise of an unexpected or especially pleasing appearance can add spice to a relationship or loosen inhibitions in a social setting.
Of course for some the fun in disguise relates to the fact that everybody else is doing it too. The costume is all a part of the custom.
Protection in disguise
But sometimes the disguise isn't for entertainment value. Sometimes the costume is designed to conceal the attributes, physical or otherwise, that you don't think are appealing or even acceptable to others. When you aren't feeling good about the authentic you, it can be tempting to hide behind a social uniform, certain clothing, jewelry, a sports car, or the like.
Perhaps if you look like everybody else, or like the people you want to attract, they won't know that you don't really measure up. Perhaps they will never find out that you are only masquerading as someone who is successful or confident.
Disguise as a habit
Once the costume has achieved its desired result - acceptance, attraction, or even acclaim - it's hard to choose not to continue to wear it. Even when it's not appropriate, the suit or the full makeup can become so much a part of the wearer that it feels strange to see yourself without it. You continue to put it on even when it doesn't fit the current situation.
Disguise that doesn't disguise
How do you know that your disguise is really concealing the person that you are? An inauthentic vibe can be sensed by other people. You have seen it yourself, when the words another person is saying seems out of sync with their body language, or when their behavior doesn't align with their appearance. Sometimes you look harder, to try to get to know the real person behind the disguise, but sometimes the noticeable presence of the fakery is off-putting enough that you don't feel motivated to try.
You wonder about the motivation behind another person's disguise. Are they trying to take unfair advantage of you or others by intentionally misrepresenting themselves? Or is it only all about them, and their feeling better, more secure, about themselves?
Imagine all of the time and energy you would save if you didn't worry about what costume, literal and figurative, you were going to wear. The attractiveness of the authentic you is stronger than you realize. And the ease of not having to work past the costume helps other people shed theirs as well. How about taking off your mask - and keeping it off?