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Geek Prom makeover

By Will Ashenmacher
April 13, 2008 | Duluth News Tribune

It took 28 minutes for Katy Haugland and Brandon Lawrence to transform themselves from regular people to geeks of the highest order.

Haugland, 21, and Lawrence, 23, came up from the Twin Cities to go to Saturday night’s Geek Prom, the annual nerdfest that’s returning to Duluth after two years of being held in St. Paul.

Geek Prom is as known for its participants’ eye-searing costumes as it is for its annual geek streak.

“It’s Geek nature,” organizer Paul Lundgren said of the tendency to dress up.

Most of Haugland and Lawrence’s costumes were coming from Haugland’s stash of costume items.

“Whenever people have something they don’t want, it somehow ends up in my possession,” Haugland said. “I’m not sure why.”

Haugland became last year’s Geek Queen in a physics-theme T-shirt, plaid skirt and deliberately ugly jacket.

This year, she selected a ruffled apricot monstrosity that had, in the 1980s, served as a prom dress. It still had a spot of fake blood on it from the time Haugland incorporated it into a zombie costume.

Over that, she chose a white bib from her marching band days. Saddle shoes and argyle socks completed the get-up.

Next, Haugland got out her makeup kit, a $7.99 Target special that had 42 shades of eye shadow and four types of blush.

Haugland painted her lips with Divine Wine lipstick, swabbed on an unnatural shade of blush and smeared on some eye shadow.

Then the time had come to render her shoulder-length brown hair into something more offensive.

“I do have a curling iron, and you can do some serious damage with that,” Haugland said.

After a few minutes of twisting the iron through her hair, Haugland was unhappy with the results.

“I’m not pleased with how this is working out,” Haugland said. “That’s what bobby pins are for.”

This was to be Lawrence’s first Geek Prom, so he didn’t have a template to work from.

“I’m kind of going off what I know,” he said. “I’m going to nerd it out as best I can.”

Lawrence opted for waist-high pants that he rolled up into high-tiders, a misbuttoned white dress shirt, a poorly tied tie and gray socks with orange “hang loose” hands that were visible beneath his rolled-up cuffs.

“I’ve kind of got a nerdy Thriller thing going on here,” he said.

It was still undecided who would get the piece de résistance — a green-and-white rayon jacket with chunky sun pattern.

“I was like 13 or 14 when I got this,” Haugland said. “Who would want this, especially a 13- or 14-year-old?”

The end result?

“I could see myself going to the grocery store like this,” Haugland said.