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June 28, 2003

the winnowed

I am a man, a male-type man, who enjoys watching beauty pageants on television.  I watch the pageants with neither lust nor interest in the outcome.  I watch beauty pageants to worship the winnowed.

A pageant's defining moment isn't the announcement of the First Runner-Up, that instant in which all but Fabio deduce the winner.  For me, critical mass is reached when the ten finalists are chosen and the field of losers is narrowed to Everyone Not A Finalist.  When the emcee identifies the tenth finalist, forty bungholes pucker in unison, the first of several choreographed numbers to come.  I call these non-finalists The Winnowed.

The Winnowed aren't losers, far from it.  From the moment they are selected, The Winnowed exhibit courage not seen since Normandy.  While the finalists change from evening gowns to swimsuits, while they re-tape breasts and re-grease front teeth, dead time must be filled.  The Winnowed swallow their pride and, likely, hits of Ecstasy, before sallying forth in tacky costumes to perform embarrassing chorus numbers behind crooning non-crooners like Bert Convy.  The Winnowed press on, dry-eyed and smiling, as though they had not wasted the ten preceding years, as though they do not wish to "pull a Carrie" on the finalists.

I admire The Winnowed.  I see them as heroes.  I see them as us.

©  2003 by the beastmaster