The Unicorn in the Room

When the time came for the Q&A, my hand shot up. I had focused so intently on the content that I had completely forgotten my surroundings. The guest professor, a well-known theologian, cleared his throat and said, “Yes, um, you in the unicorn suit.” I froze. I forgot what I was wearing.

This rather embarrassing moment happened during Halloween. I worked for a church while in seminary, and I befriended many international students at the nearby university. I even helped plan events to help share fun, American traditions. Halloween was such an event. Not only would this be a party with games and candy, but we would host a costume competition. My team, predominantly from China, discussed many options. From dominos to video games to Harry Potter, we considered several possibilities. Before we made a final decision, we drove to Target for ideas. As we strolled through the red and white isles, my friend Eva’s stopped and exclaimed, “That’s it!” She pointed to a rack full of onesies, of all shades and characters. Instantly, we knew. We had a pink Power Ranger, a green pea-in-the-pod, a grey elephant, a purple one-eyed monster, and more. I had the distinct privilege of being the white unicorn, complete with a rainbow horn and tail.

We convinced ourselves we could win the competition. What I failed to realize was I also had class the night of the party with a well-respected theologian. I talked to my leaders, and since the events were held in the same building, I could split my time between the party and the class. I heartily thanked them; I wanted to do both! Overwhelmed and excited with the many tasks before me, I neglected to think about the details of my attire. 

After taking several fun photos and playing some games with my international friends when I arrived at the church, I soon rushed to the classroom, hoping to find a seat in the back. I came into the room as quietly as possible. The guest speaker (who knew nothing of the international Halloween party in the gym) remained focused on his lecture. My peers turned and snicker; I was just thrilled to make it to the class. But when I heard, “Yes, um, you in the unicorn suit,” I quickly realized how odd this situation must appear to EVERYONE. I paused, chuckled with a nervous laugh, and proceeded with my question. However, as soon as the Q&A time was done, I rushed out like Roadrunner. My awkward feelings got the best of me until I reached the gym. I told my fellow onesie-wearers the tale, and we all had a good laugh. I never tried to explain to the speaker why I was dressed that way, and I have no idea if anyone ever explained things to him. I may forever be remembered as the student who wore a unicorn onesie to his class, but at least my team won the costume competition! 

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