Monday, January 9, 2012

What’s more American than Pageants?

The Miss America pageant is coming up on Saturday. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a valuable national treasure, like rock and roll, peanut butter, toast and jam. Fifty-two brainy-yet-beautiful women in high heels and swimsuits will convince us about the importance of world peace while twirling batons and smiling.

In sixth grade, my dream was to be Miss America. I wanted to wave at admiring seventh grade boys from way up high on a flowery float, with a crown on my head and a sash hiding my flat chest.

But the every-day hardships of frizzy perms and food stuck in my braces made me forget my grand pageant dreams until my senior year of high school, when a friend asked if I’d be in the local pageant with her.

“No way,” I said, hoping she’d insist.
“Just come to the meeting,” she said.
She’d twisted my arm. What could I do? I had to go.

So I stepped into city hall with my mom, and a handful of brainy-yet-beautiful girls with their moms. We’d all known each other since those frizzy perm days, so it was hard to size up the competition. Especially since some of us (me) still had those frizzy perms.

Our local queen breezed in wearing a crown. The swanky city council room lighting accentuated every fake diamond that sparkled above her head. A dozen brainy-yet-beautiful girls began to drool like Pavlov’s dogs.

The director stood up and explained the time commitments and cost involved with pageants. She said we could sell ads and earn fifty percent of whatever we sold, to help off-set our expenses.

To inspire us, the current queen played the cello, motivated us about the importance of world peace, then came back into the room wearing a fluffy white bathrobe – a gift from the state pageant. She proceeded to glide across the room in a swimsuit and high heels.

Forget the crown, I wanted that bathrobe. If I had to glide across the room in high heels and a swimsuit to earn a bathrobe like that, I was in. Even though gliding in heels and swimsuits had never been my strong point.

I was a brainy-yet-beautiful girl. I could learn.

In between learning the classy pageant line dance, Achy Breaky Heart, I sold ads.
In between practicing my motivational world peace speech and searching for a modest-yet-fashionable glittering gown, I sold ads.
In between wobbling gliding around in my high heels and swimsuit, I sold ads.

When the Big Night arrived, I danced the classy Achy Breaky Heart.
I wobbled glided around in my high heels and swimsuit.
I motivated the audience about the importance of world peace.
I showed off my modest-yet-fashionable glittering gown with puffy sleeves that doubled as a hang glider.

They called my name. I stepped forward, glowing with happiness and pride as they handed me the award for selling the most ads. But for some reason they wouldn’t let me ride on the float in a fluffy white bathrobe and crown.

I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been more time-efficient to head over to Kmart and purchase them myself.

In honor of this valuable national treasure happening on Saturday, I think I’ll treat myself to a fluffy white bathrobe and crown, snuggle on my couch in style, nibble on peanut butter, and watch 52 brainy-yet-beautiful women convince me about the importance of world peace.

You can’t get more American than that.


  1. Too funny. Nowadays pageant's are big business. I've interviewed a few girls and it's all Intensive training and hired coaches for a lot of them. (though no one talks about it.) Most of those girls at that level are as competitive as any of those NFL players in the playoffs.

  2. Seriously. It's a crazy business. They wouldn't have even let me into the information session with my frizzy hair and flat chest, if this had happened today...

  3. So funny. At least you won something. Enjoy the pageant Sat night. I quit watching years ago - except for Miss Congeniality with Sandra Bullock, which I've watched multiple times.

  4. I love your descriptions of this! And you totally deserved that fluffy white bathrobe, even if they didn't give it to you. Have fun watching the pageant!

  5. Thanks, Sharon and Jenilyn! I mostly like to watch the opening few minutes, so I can see what all of the girls look like before they're all eliminated...I don't think I've ever actually watched the entire thing before.

  6. Hahahaha this is awesome. I want a fluffy white bathrobe. I kind of wish I watched this, if only to laugh if someone falls.

  7. I only watch the beginning, where the girls introduce themselves. And I have to admit to giggling more than once.