SUITED UP: The swimsuit stays on, at least for now. Word is that bastion of beauty polling, known as the Miss America contest, will keep the thigh-flying bathing suits tightly in place so that the show can go on.
There will be a number you can call during the show, airing this month, to voice your opinion as to whether or not you think the bathing suit competition should stay. Dial 1-800-liposuction.
Of course the bathing suits should stay--that's what this contest is all about, flesh and women. What the women are being judged by is what they look like, warts and all. (Okay, probably no visible warts.) And frankly, in this day of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Television, the Miss America pageant is sort of a cheesecakey, '50's style event no one takes seriously.
When pageant viewing as kids, my brother, sister and I used to gather around the TV set on our purple plastic couch, deep in pink and purple shag carpeting in the dark paneled den, anxious to cut down the girls at every turn. Our favorite sport, by far, was howling during the talent portion of the show. "Talent" has never been one of the showcases of the event because, it's a beauty contest. I'll never forget the girl who came out and recited a poem. We were laughing so hard, tears rolled down our faces. She didn't win and I can't remember what she looked like with or without a bathing suit on, or the title of the poem, but my embarrassment for her lives on.
I don't watch the show anymore, having moved on to more important things like buying white rats so the school snake can have lunch on Thursday, but I do understand the bathing suit issue.
Women and bathing suits are usually talked about not in the fall, but in the warming days of spring, when thoughts turn to sand and waves, or in our case, cement and chlorine. Newspapers and women's magazines run article after article about what to buy, followed by how much work you need to do to get into what you buy. It's one of those things magazine editors pencil in on their calendars every year, along with Getting That Diamond for Christmas and Hemline Helpers.
If you've ever gone bathing suit shopping you see sour faced women faced with another year of what to buy. But what they are all trying to do is squeeze what is into what isn't. You've heard it before: the fabric is skimpy, the styles are someone's idea of what a non-swimmer might like to get a tan in. This year there were chains and pins and gold locks that ran from the navel to the neck. Very nice if you lie out in the sun in the desert for about 15 minutes. Can you say suit, à la McDonald's hot coffee in the drive through?
This summer I saw a lot of women in bathing suits, covered with sand, lapping in pools, diving off boats, paddling canoes, eating junky beach food; a broad hip here, a round leg there, new breasts and used ones. Yeah, they were gorgeous--they looked just like women.
Crowns are for queens, warriors. Stay beautiful.
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