It’s happened countless times before in the history of man. You take your date to a haunted house, your persona is a carefully built façade, constructed to throw the perfect mix of signals.
Handsome. Hardened, yet emotionally available. A purveyor of the best fashions. A liberal mind.
But most importantly, a stiff upper lip, as the Brits call it.
Yet, something funny happens. After a few minutes into the date, that last detail fades and starts to tap into a reserve of unchecked fear.
Volunteers in demon makeup emerge from corners and bask in the terror they’ve created.
Your date thinks it’s cute initially, but then she becomes gradually turned off that you can’t keep it together inside a dime store haunted house.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Like any mental process, these primal involuntary reactions can be checked to give the right impressions.
This advice is good for a first date, in addition to social gatherings in general, as to not loose your social standing with friends.
Don’t be that guy who has a meme out on Tumblr.
Here is a list of tips to keep masculinity during Halloween instead of trading it in for a Volvo:
Let Others Be Your Sacrificial Lamb
You and your friends are at the front of the line for the haunted house. A family of five, including some cute apple cheeked children, appear behind you.
Junior is petulant. The parents air their dirty laundry within earshot. They’re annoying and you and your lady friend are secretaries to their conversations. Let’s do something radical.
Let them go ahead of you.
Let’s consider this. Why should they endure no form of suffering, while you and others suffer fools gladly?
Get revenge on them in a completely legal way! Why you ask?
Here’s the practical purpose, while they walk through the house first, scared to their core, you’re a few seconds behind, picking up where their courage failed them and knowing fully well where the actors stay cloaked.
And pick up accolades (and the girl) while you do it.
Reality is Your Friend
So, you’re about to enter this haunted house petrified, about to encounter God-knows-what, and the screaming from inside doesn’t help.
What the hell is in there that is making these people shriek like a cheap horror film?
Get it together, man! There’s people around! But now, you’re inside.
This house is just something on the edge of a outlet mall, populated by some convincing method actors and great production values. Oh, yeah.
Believe me when I say that nothing kills a fearful moment more quickly than occasionally checking yourself with the surroundings around you and saying, “Right, this used to be a Big Lots before they put this haunted house in here.”
Fear, Zero. You, Won.
Yes, I’ll have more yes with that please.
There is a College Humor sketch where Nicolas Cage’s manager can’t get his client not to say no to all the movie offers that he’s fielding.
In this scenario, be Nicolas Cage.
When they ask if you want you to attend a special screening for the original “Halloween,” at Harkins Theater in Chandler, you say, “Sure.”
Remember that haunted house that opened last year? Well, drop your studying and make the two-hour trek with the wolfpack to Tucson!
Someone suggests “American Werewolf in London” at the Film Bar in Downtown Phoenix. Count me in.
Yes, I know this is a scenario where your group is a film repertory society, but go with it.
Dan the Man should be the go-getter of the group; he eats fear for breakfast.
My alter-ego wouldn’t do that, but I would.
If the opportunity arises when you can go to the costume party on Halloween, do it, because I said so.
Beside that, tailor yourself for the image you’ve constructed. That means don’t go dressed up in a costume that doesn’t fit your personality, like a mustard bottle costume.
But that doesn’t mean you should say no every outfit that you see.
Your friends might appreciate that you can wear a Lt. Jim Dangle costume, just to see a select group of people get it.
Don’t overuse your tell.
So, you’ve successfully hidden the fact from most of your friends that you’re afraid of your own shadow.
You’ve sat through a screening of the last “Evil Dead,” and omitted the “Oh, Gods!” for “Woahs.”
And this is façade you carry on for most of the month.
“Audition?” Bring it on, boss.
Oh, we’re watching “The Thing,” eh? Why stop there? Let’s watch the original, too!
Then comes the moment where your friends notice, “Say, isn’t it weird that nothing seems to phase this guy? Hey, Mike! Think fast!” Then they throw a coke can at your head.
…then they mockingly muse that you’re a sociopath.
And unlike “Dexter,” where everyone not named Dexter Morgan is a blithering idiot, when people suspect that you’re a big phony, it can’t be undone.
So, the advisable thing is to, along with those fake moments where you can’t be moved, slip in those real moments of fright.
Or you could simply find friends who are constantly bemused by your personality, because it’s a pain faking it for the full 31 days in October.