Hide Your Otherness

Alice is trying to fit in, but she has some kind of physical feature that makes it clear that she is not a human, or not a normal human. Thus she removes this feature.

This particular masquerading comes in two flavors. It might simply be about The Masquerade, or it may be about her self-image. In the first case, the Maintenance can be nothing worse than a practical nuisance. In the second case, it's usually a part of a deeper pattern of self-hatred. Of course, these two flavors are often mixed with each other, and one might lead to the other.

This does not include social norms for what is proper or maintenance done for purely practical reasons: Only when it's done to pass for normal or human.


Anime and Manga
  • Reki and Rakka from Haibane Renmei use a special dye to hide (and possibly slow) the fact that their wings' charcoal grey feathers are turning black. This is more than cosmetic, since it indicates that they are becoming sin-bound.

Comic Books
  • Hellboy keeps sawing off his devil horns.
  • In Fables, Rapunzel goes to the barber all the time, so she can pass as a muggle mundy. Unlike other examples here, she is happy about being what she is (a supernatural Fable creature), it's just that The Masquerade has to be maintained.

  • X-Men:
    • X-Men: Professor X informs Logan that "Anonymity is a mutant's first chance against the world's hostility."
    • X2: X-Men United: After Artie sticks out his dark, forked tongue at a girl who is eating ice cream, Storm chides him with "Not here."
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: The film starts with a little Angel who tries to cut off his own wings in his desperation to be normal. Considering that he did successfully remove them, but he still has the wings as an adult, they must have kept growing back.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: A young Victor Creed folds his arms behind his back to hide his claw-like nails from John Howlett.
    • X-Men: First Class: Fearful of humanity's negative reaction to mutants, Charles and Hank firmly live by this philosophy. Raven was initially influenced by her foster brother, but she has already grown frustrated with concealing her blue form in public when we first see her as an adult.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: 1973 Magneto invokes this as he's shouting at Xavier, "Hiding, you and Hank, pretending to be something you're not!" Beast in particular is very uncomfortable with his blue, furry form, and he creates a serum which temporarily suppresses his mutation so that he can appear human.
  • In Human Nature, the protagonist has fur. She hates herself for it. She shaves her entire body (except the head, of course) every morning, and punishes herself by choosing a man who is utterly disgusted by female bodily hair.
  • In the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! the young Grinch is teased for his green furry appearance. He tries shaving it off but it only makes things worse.
  • Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause kept shaving and dying his hair (he didn't want to look like Santa), only to have the beard grow back immediately, and the hair to go back to white.
  • Evan Almighty also features a beard that won't go away, similar to The Santa Clause.

  • The Protagonist of Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds belongs to a posthuman race of "Angels", complete with wings. To go among normal humans, he underwent extensive surgical modification including removing the wings, but he has to keep having them amputated with increasing frequency, as they always grow back. Furthermore, his eyes begin to turn an unnatural shade of blue if he goes too long without maintenance...not the iris, the entire eye.
  • Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Mimi has wings. Attempting to be 'normal', she has her boyfriend cut them off every time, but they keep growing back.

Live-Action TV
  • In various Star Trek series, Rubber-Forehead Aliens occasionally have to pass for human, usually because of time travel. For example, in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Spock wears a headband to conceal his pointed ears. And in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, occasionally Major Kira has had to wear false skin to cover her Bajoran nose ridges.
  • Farscape: D'Argo's son Jothee tries to cut of his Luxan nose since he was ashamed to be part-Luxan and thought his father had abandoned him. This doesn't really help hide his otherness, though, since he only succeeds in scarring his face and he still has plenty of other Luxan features.

Web Comics

Alternative Title(s):

Masquerade Maintenance, File Them Off Every Morning