I have always considered myself to be something of a feminist. I was raised by a feminist (have my mom tell you the story of how she got her middle school to change the skirts only rule. It’s very Now and Then. I imagine my mom to be the Christina Ricci character who does not grow up to be Rosie O’Donnell. No offense to Ro’ but, like, c’mon, that was bad casting.), my views on anything regarding my lady bits is very feminist-y, and you know I voted for Hillary in the primary. Despite all this, I do have a track record of like, blacking out and doing something very un-Gloria Steinam like. Specifically, I have a dark past in pageantry.
My time in that world was brief- when all was said and done I had been in 3 pageants. I lost all of them so I think that was really feminist of me. I mean, I wasn’t trying to lose, but its the outcome not the thought.
To be honest I can’t really go all the way back to the day where I first became interested in entering pageants. I had always watched big pageants with my mom on TV so I guess we can chalk it up to the media and it’s ideal of beauty brainwashing me or something. I just remember wanting that crown, which is ironic because I feel like an idiot wearing one of those headbands that go around your forehead, so I can’t imagine why I wanted a moderately sized head piece covered in rhinestones-wait, sorry, answered my own question.
I had entered the preliminary local pageants that qualified you for Miss NH America, which is actually a great resource for college scholarships. I had entered with the only semi-truthful pretense of winning said scholarships, but again, I would say 80% of my motivation was a crown and knowing I WAS. THE. PRETTIEST!!! (Yo, I used to be one little chubber wubber, sometimes you need a little validation).
I can’t even explain to you how unprepared I was for this whole ordeal. Not unprepared in the sense that I showed up in an old one piece Speedo for swimsuit, I’m not out of touch with reality. I was unprepared in such a way that I would have to alter my personality in every way if I ever wanted to win.
To be a successful pageant lady, it seems to me (and now, correct me if I’m wrong here because since I never won I probably only think I know what I’m talking about) that you have to have a certain level of non-threatening diplomacy, which I have none of. To best illustrate how naturally non-diplomatic I am, I’ll tell you a story about how I almost got kicked out of girl scouts (Please note: the opinion of the following 8 year old does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this 8 year old 15 years later). Remind me to tell you the full version later, but I’ll try to keep this to all punchline, no set up. Basically, during a badge ceremony in front of all the parents, we were supposed to each go up and say our wish for the world. I had just found out what capital punishment was and thought it was a great idea (I was really afraid of OJ Simpson coming into my room and murdering me at the time). To my mother’s beaming pride, I said, “my wish for the world is that all murderers be executed by law,” (jk, she was mortified). I can still hear the crickets. My troop leader then proceeded to debate me on the subject (hey! I’m 8, leave me alone, I just have a rational fear of OJ!) and then said if I pulled something like that again I would be kicked out of girl scouts. I mean, I thought what I did had a level of kids say the darndest things precociousness, but I guess I have no self awareness.
Anyway, my point in all this is that I have a hard time giving non-threatening diplomatic answers when asked the hard hitting questions. Like during my first interview for one of the pageants I did. When asked who I would like to meet, living or dead, I panicked and said Steve Martin. This isn’t necessarily untrue, but like the second I said it, I knew I should have said Ghandi!
I spoke with another contestant after and asked what her answer was, and of course it was Jesus.
Jesus! How am I supposed to compete with Jesus!?
Answer: Steve Martin does not compete with Jesus as much as I want him to.
Overall, I began to realize that pageant gals need to have a level of poise that I just don’t have. I was hoping that people would find a pageant girl who does Cher impressions refreshing, but they in fact did not.
Now that I look back on it, I kind of can’t believe I ever walked around on stage in a bathing suit, and was like “hey, former pageant lady and 3 gay guys, how do I look almost naked? A 7.2?” Anyone who knows me kind of can’t see it either.
So to distract you from the fact that I have no real ending or point to this post other than what you would have already guessed (that I’m a laughable pageant queen who kind of hated every minute of it), I leave you with the idea that somewhere there is a video of me singing my talent, “Stupid Cupid.” To give you an idea of how embarrassing that video could potentially be, here is a picture of me performing it.
I just. I can’t.