Against all our better judgment, we put our child in a beauty pageant.
Wait! Put down the torch and pitchforks, and turn off the burner under that vat of oil. You see, it was a school event, to raise money for the band kids to go to Hawaii. Living in South Carolina, you would think they would try for somewhere closer. St. Martin is fine. St. Thomas is beautiful, and a LOT closer. But no, they have to go to Hawaii.
Any way, one of the school teachers tells us, “You should enter your daughter, she’s cute and it’s fun, its not a real pageant.” After a few laughs and dirty looks we were convinced it wouldn’t be the standard child molester buffet of professional pageant girls and their ridiculous overdone dresses (and why do they wear those stupid things with the frills so far out that they can’t put their arms down? They look like overheated parrots with their wings out).
We were told, “Oh it will be regular church-type dresses. Just for fun.”
We did buy a dress and while it was pretty, school dance pretty, it would be slightly too much for church. Upon showing up at the event, we realized these other girls were more like the “toddlers and Tiaras” people, than they were ordinary “just for fun” never-did-a-pageant-before girls. Also – they weren’t wearing “just church dresses”. Only one other girl was new to the pageant world – and we felt completely out of place. Have you ever realized that you accidentally walked into a gay bar? Yeah, it was that sort of this-is-just-not-for-me, how did I get here, and where is the exit, feeling.
If you’ve never seen Toddlers and Tiaras, its worth a look. In fact it is freaking hilarious. The parents are insane, the children are completely spoiled and warped, and the whole pageant racket is completely awe inspiring in its craziness. Thousands of dollars for dresses, entry fees, professional photographs, hair and makeup, fake teeth, coaching, and hours wasted practicing routines, all for a few minutes in front of a cheesy hand-cut paper backdrop in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn Express. If these things are so prestigious, why can’t they spring for better props and locations? I want in on that scam. Pay me six hundred bucks, and I’ll hand you a hundred dollars, a thirty dollar plastic crown, a five dollar sash and a ten dollar “Little Miss Southern Darling” trophy, and we’ll call it even.
So most of the girls were obviously not pageant newbies. Except the babies. I’m sorry but if you can’t walk out on stage yourself and stand up, I’m not even watching you. I played “Where’s My Water?” until that part was over. The real (not baby) contestants all turned with practiced precision and smiled at the panel of judges and stopped at their marks. They had that perfect “toddlers and tiaras” look. It was crazy.
The judges weren’t just teachers or people from the area either, they had “real” pageant judges, one of them was on a Mrs. South Carolina “approved judges list”. But no, this event was supposed to just be for fun. I was just glad when the whole thing was over.
Any way, I’ve participated in my first and last pageant. It’s like getting your wisdom teeth pulled. It creates a lot of anxiety, maybe a little more costly than you thought at first, but after it’s over you can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “I’m glad I don’t have to do that ever again.”
Does anyone want to buy a slightly used “pageant” dress?