Measured Extravagance

2001-05-12 - 11:23 p.m.

Ah, summer. Ah, ice cream. Ah, beer. Ah, sex. After spending the afternoon hacking up the hackberry tree and washing the dog, the Beautiful Young Man cleaned himself up, entered the study, and demanded of me, "Wanna go to Moo's?" So we sat at Maggie Moo's, he with his waffle-bowl of cappucino and vanilla 'scream, and I with my cup of chocolate-chip mint. Ter still hadn't shown up by the time we'd finished our desserts, so we drove to his flat and discovered that his car battery had run out of juice. The guys jumped it back up and Ter told us he'd meet us at Flying Saucer for beer after a few rounds of interstate. Hence, my afternoon-to-evening of drinking Belgian beers (Duvel and Maredsous) and toasting the late Douglas Adams.

And sex, too, but go to, get thee to another diary if you want to read about that. We're perfectly happy with our boring Googles, thankyouverymuch. [grin] (Speaking of Google, didj'all see the sweet little rose they put under their logo today? I know, cheap thrills R us...)

"The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep." - Douglas Adams (Thanks, Lindsay.)

The BYM was aghast when he arrived home last night to a hyper dog, a hiding cat, and his wife clutching a wineglass in one hand and an ice pack against her forearm. Actually, neither the wineglass nor the icepack would have given him pause, but the fact that the Miss Universe pageant was playing on the telly appalled him aplenty.

I haven't watched that annual parade of flesh in years, and I'm now wondering if it was always that tacky (Ricky Martin looked terrible, and I usually think he's pretty easy on the eyes...). It makes me want to go find some of the 70s and 80s editions (which would be a hoot anyway, just to see what was a la mode in hairstyles and evening gowns back then), to see whether the pageant was actually classier before Trump bought it or if my memory's Rose Milk-colored. What I do know is that supermodels shouldn't be hosting - give the gig to one of the former winners, for crying out loud, they'd do so much better in both elocution and poise. That is, if they can't get Patrick Stewart, who really ought to be hosting everything - Oscars, Tonys, The Country Music Awards - Patrick Stewart can make anything sound good, and he's got more poise than all 77 "delegates" combined, and he'd probably look awesome even if you stuck him in a big white gown with feathers. Make it so, people, pleaaaaase? (It's a good thing I was also extricating socks and tissues from puppy-jaws, in addition to nursing bug bites and getting myself sloshed, because I probably would've fired something at the tv if my full concentration had been held prisoner by Elle and Naomi, and the BYM does tend to get unhappy with me when I break things.)

My feelings about the whole pageant industry are decidedly mixed. I happened across both an Oxford-American feature on child pageants and Advocate article on the same topic, and in both cases they reminded me why I feel over-zealous pageant parents ought to be herded into the same unventilated room as over-zealous sports parents and left to club each other to death with the trophies they crave so much. Adult pageants bother me because they do reinforce absurd ideals of physical beauty and womanly behavior - but so does figure skating, and Hollywood movies, and most of the glossy magazines at the supermarket newsstand, and I enjoy those too. Ultimately, I figure that a woman who expends the time and money and energy to reach national levels of competition has worked out for herself why she's going after the prizes, and, so far as I can tell, the cost isn't significantly worse than the compromises many of us make to climb up the corporate ladder. If she hasn't - well, neither have many of the people running around in suits. I do feel a measure of pity for the ones who elect to participate in either rat race and then succumb to the pressures because they'd bought into the hype without the self-examination to know their own motives - but only to a point, as I also believe in free will: when you're a big girl (or boy), it's your responsibility to figure out what you want and why. If other people misdirect you, it's a shame, but it also isn't anyone else's problem but your own. (Of course, this is easy for me to say: I've had plenty of experience disappointing other people because my appearance and my goals didn't match their ideals, and I've disappointed myself time and time again when I've let other people's priorities trump my own. I should also note that I would have answered the final question exactly like four out of the five finalists - "If you could change anything about your past, what would it be?" "Nothing" - but would the mental soundtrack be playing something somewhat different? You bet. "Nothing" would still be true, to a certain degree, but do I have regrets? Mais oui.)

That's the high-falutin' explanation for why I can watch pageants and still live with myself the day after. The crude explanation, of course, is that it lets me ogle and objectify gorgeous women. I would've switched Misses Venezuela and USA in the final rankings (USA struck me as a little too overly-coached, and I didn't like her dress), but I agreed with the other choices: I liked the contrast of Miss Greece's reserve and the loose, almost-wild arrangement of her hair, and it was fun watching the home crowd go wild as Miss Puerto Rico aced all of the categories - and deservedly so, as the woman exuded confidence, charisma - the works. I was even slightly sorry that I hadn't seen last year's contest - the outgoing Miss Universe was also a pleasure to behold...

Speaking of women I admire, there are proper-usage rants up at both Tomato Nation and Freak Magnet that warmed the very cockles of my heart as I perused them. Both rants also direct the reader to Bob, the Angry Flower, whose comic eruptions on the subject sent both the BYM and me into paroxysms of delight.

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