In the Fifties, my dad often wrote in his newspaper column about beauty queen pageants and how silly they were, and I couldn’t agree more.
And it’s only gotten worse since then. Now there are 3-year-olds in tulle dresses, eye shadow and mascara out there fulfilling the dreams of their psychotic, usually very Southern mothers who failed a decade or two before to catch the eyes of judgmental judges who dismissed them from small stages because of large pores or small breasts.
Now there are muscled gay men on steroids who dress up in suffocatingly-tight black leather to compete for a tiara and leather sash, crowning them as Mister International Leather.
Most pageants pride themselves on being proud of something. Mr. International Leather, for example, focuses on Leather Pride. I once had leather pride after I bought a kit from Tandy Leather. But I lost that pride about six months later when the wallet I assembled fell apart.
Pageants usually begin at a local level. Miss Tampa tries to be Miss Hillsborough County, then Miss Florida West Coast, in hopes of becoming Miss Florida, so she can qualify for Miss America. Or something like that.
Gay pageants, to no one’s surprise, start off in gay bars. Mr. Ramrod Leather works his way up to Mr. South Florida Leather to Mr. Florida Leather to Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather in order to compete for the title of Mr. International Leather. Or something like that.
In the year 2012, Israel hosted the Miss Holocaust Survivor pageant. I have not been able to find out if there were contestants from rival concentration camps, such as a Miss Dachau, Miss Auschwitz, or Miss Bergen-Belsen. All I know from reports is that there were initially 300 contestants, and it got narrowed down to 15 finalists. Google it if you don’t believe me.
The winner was Hava Hershkovitz, a seventy-nine-year-old granny, who could actually be related to Other Bill on his mother’s side.
And it gets worse.
Since finding out about this contest, I have done a little research on niche market beauty pageants around the world.
The first one that caught my attention was the Miss Landmine Competition. Amputated women from post-war third world countries who were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time compete for the title in which the grand prize is a shiny new prosthetic leg. (Even if they just lost an arm? I wonder.) If you act now, you can still get a t-shirt with the logo shown above.
Here is a condensed version of the Miss Landmine Manifesto:
EVERYBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO BE BEAUTIFUL!
· Female pride and empowerment.
· Disabled pride and empowerment.
· Global and local landmine awareness and information.
· Celebrate true beauty.
· And have a good time for all involved while doing so!
“Disabled pride and empowerment” is the single-best double entendre I have ever encountered. Has their pride and empowerment been disabled, or are they proud to be empowered and disabled?
It was held in 2008 in Angola and 2009 in Cambodia. The Cambodian government canceled the project, claiming it was an insult to disabled people, but it was held in a secret location anyway, which doesn’t sound very prideful.
I am of the opinion that all pageants are an insult to everyone.
I realize that horrific historical events are nothing to laugh at, but why commemorate them with beauty pageants? After all, there is no Miss Khmer Rouge, no Miss My Lai Massacre, no Miss 9-11 or Miss Unibomber. Of course there is a Miss Oklahoma City, but there’s no Miss Oklahoma City Bombing. Hopefully I am not planting seeds in the heads of cheesy pageant organizers.
On the other hand, there are plenty of laughable beauty pageants. There is a Miss Pregnant pageant, which you think would be unwed mothers-to-be, but all you have to do is be pregnant and foolish enough to wear a bikini. So if you are looking to view a woman in her third trimester with her fifth kid, a place to drool over outie belly buttons the size of a grapefruit and super-stretched caesarian scars, this is the competition for you to attend.
If you’re looking for an outlet to show off your latest facelift, tummy tuck or boob job, you should consider becoming a contestant in Miss Artificial Beauty in China. If you’ve had plastic surgery and would like to win more sessions under the knife, then you can hope to be crowned Miss Cosmetic Surgery in Great Britain. The winner gets a £3,000 infusion to supplement the next invasive procedure of her choosing.
If you are a super-attractive Siberian inmate, crime can actually pay for you when you’re a contestant in the Miss Gulag pageant. If you’ve been convicted of anything from drug possession to murder, capturing the title of Miss Gulag can reward you with no, not a modeling contract or a goodwill tour, but instead something prisoners value much more: early release. If Alexander Solzhenitsyn had been aware of this, he might have done a little online shopping at Lane Bryant. Oh, wait; that was before Siberian inmates were allowed iPads.
There are counter-pageants open to contestants not attractive in the Vogue magazine sense. So if you’re an overweight contestant-wannabe, you can attempt to get into the Miss Jumbo Queen competition in Thailand (I wonder if the grand prize is a lifetime supply of Pad Thai?) Failing that contest, you could head down to Israel for the Miss Fat and Beautiful contest to win a lifetime supply of, I guess, schmaltz.
I don’t have a competitive cell in my bloodstream, but I have thought about this for a while. If I had to compete in a pageant, what would it be?
If there is a Mr. Elderly, Flabby Gay Man Sitting in a Recliner Sofa in Front of the TV Eating an Enormous Bowl of Ice Cream, would someone please let me know?
I think I might just stand a chance. I’m ready for my goodwill tour, Mr. DeMille.
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