Dear Cindi,

I’m writing you this letter because I know I won’t have the courage to say this to your face, especially if you’re already wearing that eerily lifelike rubber Kristen Stewart mask. While I do have feelings for you, I’m afraid I can’t commit to this couples Halloween costume. It’s not you; it’s Edward and Bella.

To put this in terms you’ll understand: I am Team Not This Costume.

By the time you read this, I’ll be at my coworker’s Halloween party. Please don’t try to follow me, as my mind is made up and the invitation clearly said “no guests.”

I’ll be brief, since you’re still upstairs practicing being motionless, and I’m still hoping to escape without you seeing me. Hey, based on the rockiness of our relationship, maybe we should have dressed up as the real R-Pattz and K-Stew, right? Please note, I am only using their tabloid nicknames to soften the next blow…

You see, I had similar misgivings about your other costume ideas. This may be painful for you to hear, but you should know this so you can avoid making the same mistake in future Halloweens. Your next theme partner will thank me.

When I first expressed discomfort with Twilight, you suggested something you called “50 Shades of Grave.” But since that book started out as Twilight fan-fiction, dressing up as vampire versions of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele really just gets us back to Edward and Bella, doesn’t it? Additionally, our relationship doesn’t count as sadomasochistic just because you cry every time I refuse to watch Twilight with you.

After that, you suggested we dress as Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights, only instead of Cathy being English she’d be American, and instead of Heathcliff being named Heathcliff he’d be named Edward Cullen and also a vampire.

Perhaps this was all just due to a misunderstanding, since I was the one who originally suggested going as a couple from literature—the misunderstanding being your conception of literature.

Maybe that’s unfair for me to say since I’ve never read Twilight books or seen any of the films, which is perhaps a larger relationship issue we should discuss at some point, ideally before the Hunger Games-themed Thanksgiving dinner you’re planning with both our families.

And maybe this has nothing to do with you; I’ve gotten cold feet when it came to other past joint costumes. A few years ago, my ex-girlfriend Nancy wanted to go with a Harry Potter theme, but I intentionally pretended to mishear her and dressed up as Gandalf instead of Dumbledore. The truly sad part is she didn’t even notice.

I’m sorry, Cindi. I know this will be hard to explain to your friends. If it will make things easier, feel free to tell them I hate their joint costumes, too.

The Batman
(I already had the cape and cowl.)

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Frank Lesser’s book, Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside, is available at your local bookseller.