-A mostly true journey of a girl, her man and their three kids; all trying to live harmoniously in a house somewhere in Utah. Names and exact locations may be changed in order to protect the grouchy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Subject Swap #3 :Pageant Edition

Hey friends! It's that time again. Month #3 of the Secret Subject Swap

Each month, a secret blogger gives us a subject/question/prompt to write about. It's always exciting to see who gets the topic you gave out. It's always terrifying to answer some one else's subject. Why in the world do I keep participating? Because the inventor of this ever-growing project, Karen @ Baking in a tornado is awesome and still lets me participate.  The best thing about these swaps is that you don't have to take the prompts literally. You can flip them or use them in any fashion you'd like. Some bloggers use lists or recipes, some tell jokes or make up fictional stories. You just never know! I have found that this whole swapping thing has made my Thursday nights (once or twice a month) pretty challenging (in a good way.) I need that excitement; that kind of last minute "dare" to write. Procrastination fairy? Don't let me down....



The subject for this swap was a fun one. It was given to my by Jen over @ Life on the SONny side. She is a funny lady that I've stalked for a while. Go check her out (click on the link here or at the end and give her a follow. I'm great at the stalking , but terrible at the following. I promise to improve on that.

Anywhoo, this was her prompt for me : You've been asked to re-invent the Miss America pageant to make it more relevant to actual human women...what does your new pageant look like?  Who are the hosts? What categories should they compete in? What should they wear? Who are the judges? What is the prize? Paint us a picture of your new pageant... 

Silly or serious? I wanted needed to give you both on this topic. At the end of this post, I've written a "Take Two". It's a bit of a rant. You may skip that part or jump to it first. Yes, I promise the same person wrote both ;)

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Holy Spanx and pasties! Have I got a story for you. It's not a re-invent as much as a "re imagined" pageant, so get ready to go in the wrong direction. (Feminist friends, look away...)

Did I ever tell you about the time I almost came in 2nd place for "Miss Grocery Girl 2009?" No? Really? Well I know it's no "Miss America", but still. Have a seat my friend, this stuff is gossip gold!! ;)

It all took place at the local market on a hot day in June, 2009. The parking lot was packed on this, the last day of the Grocery Girl pageant competition. Our town was famous for the week-long festivities that led to the crowning. Women had been reared since they were tiny Stepford children to come and compete. Checking lists. Bagging groceries. Power shopping. Picking food in its prime. These were the skills we practiced after school and on Saturdays.

This particular week had been full of Grocery cart races, couponing, and putting dairy products back onto the shelves according to dates. I think that's what put me over the top that year; probably because I alphabetized those products at the same time. I'm an overachiever, for sure.

The last two contestants to survive the week were Ginny Dee and me. Ginny Dee was the same age as me. We'd been in the same classes all through our years in school and attended the same church, but we weren't really friends. We didn't have anymore in common as we grew up. She was single, blonde, leggy and tall. I was shorter, thicker, married and had a slight hint of a mustache. Thank God this wasn't a beauty pageant.

While I was exceeding in alphabetizing the dairy products in fervent speed, that Ginny was stuffing the frozen foods in their God-given places. Even the foggy windows and melting Popsicles were no match for her.  I beat her at the Soda Pop tower. She won "Vegetable Arranging". At the end of all the rounds, we were tied.

The mayor tried to top himself each year with a celebrity host.  This year, he booked the one and only Dr. Phil. I had always prayed it would be Oprah. I could just see her bending that beautiful head of hers back and saying, "Our second contestant has lived a fine, small-town life. She can use big words even if she doesn't know what they all mean... Everyone, please welcome Mi-SHEEEEEEEEEEEL." The second syllable of my name would become 2 different pitches. God bless Oprah. Oh well, Dr. Phil it would be.

The local PTA kindly brought in the judges for the day. Dorothy Lewis was last year's winner. There were also three elderly men who'd been bagging at the market for a combined total of 106 years, and, what do you know, my mother-in-law*. Awesome. And totally fair!

The very last competition of the day was, drum roll please! "Make an outfit ONLY from contents found in the grocery's paper-goods aisle." I was kind of hoping this would be the category. I love clothes. I love making them even more. The final category changes every year. I was in no mood to race to open 237 cans of creamed corn or build end-cap displays made out of feminine hygiene products. Creating paper clothes? I could do this.

The timer was set for 20 minutes. Ginny gave me the "I've got this!" nod and sweetly waved to my mother-in-law who joyfully waved back. Oh, it was on. The aisles were curtained off for our privacy and so we could make our entrances in front of the judges. I had my plan already in motion. When the bell went off, I raced to the aisle set up for me. I spun myself in paper towels the way one would use toilet paper in a mummy contest. Round and round, from my shins all the way up to, and over one shoulder. It may have taken two rolls, I can't remember everything. Classic-ish and not too uncomfortable. I then ripped off a large piece of tinfoil and crumpled it along its length until I could wrap it into a necklace. I had to hand it to myself. I looked great. If no one would notice that I hadn't shaved since April, I might be okay. "Keep your arms down, girl". Don't let the paper towels scratch your Chewbacca legs..."Those words were my mantra. I repeated them over and over. It was about talent anyway. I'll be fine. I slipped some white paper lunch sacks over my feet and carefully wrapped them up with baker's twine. Finished. I spun around in front of the mirror that was placed in the aisle. I was pretty pleased with my design.

When it was my turn, I carefully walked in front of the judges. Dorothy, the reigning G.G., gave me an approving nod. My mother-in-law smiled politely, but couldn't help but notice that one of my shoelaces was longer than the other. I looked down and blushed. I should have measured better. I should have used a thicker twine. They had it stocked, right there next to the baggies!  Dr. Phil didn't hesitate to mention that while my dress was lovely, my severely crunched-up tin foil necklace and hairy ankles made him think that I had "Daddy issues." Ugh. At least the old men were smiling. Well, at least I thought they were...

What they were smiling at was not me. It was the next contestant. The only other contestant.  Ginny Dee.  Beautiful Ginny (who must have visited the teeth whitening aisle before this round,) stepped out from behind her curtain wearing nothing but a paper plate skirt that barely covered her nether region and two GINORMOUS red solo cups over the "girls". She too had used the twine. Her twine held the cups in place like bikini ties and served as a thong in the back. That girl had NO shaving issues at all. Dang.

The little old men had to be helped into chairs. The crowd leaned in closer. Dorothy had paled to the color of her creamy-white dress. My mother-in-law looked at me and then looked Ginny up and down. For a split second, I wondered if she didn't think that THIS is what a winner really looks like. Dr. Phil beamed, describing the pure confidence it took to create AND wear such a thing. Wha??? I was deflated. (no pun intended).

I watched the votes get written down. I saw them slowly being tallied. Then, a slightly hypoglycemic-looking Dorothy stood with the shiny Grocery Girl crown. I knew it. I'd lost my chance at the grand prize of free all-beef hot dogs and buns for a year. All of that training, went down the drain. Worse than that, I'd lost in front of the whole town to Ginny Dee.

I was starting to remove a paper shoe when a wobbly Dorothy bumped into Ginny. Ginny started to stumble, but steadied herself using Dorothy's shoulder. It was then that the crown Dorothy was holding, bumped into Ginny's chest and those two bright red cups of hers came loose and tumbled to the floor. It was like watching in slow motion. People gasped and Ginny grabbed herself where those cups once stood. One of the older men ran up with a paper sack. He was either going to cover Ginny or cover his heart; no one still is sure. As Dr. Phil bent down to pick up the once-admired OTSBH, (over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, people) Dorothy gasped and grabbed the plastic cups from Dr. Phil McGraw's tightening grip. She reached inside and in what can only be described as pure horror, pulled out at least three pounds of Kleenex tissues.  The tissues, were NOT in the paper goods aisle at the time of the contest. Beautiful, guilty Ginny had stuffed her "plastic cups". Cheater! She was a disqualified cheater.

That dear readers, is how I ALMOST came in 2nd place for Miss Grocery Girl, 2009.

I actually won. :)

*I never even got to give a speech about doubling coupons or returning carts to the corral for discounts on groceries. Or world peace.

Thanks again to Jen @ Life on the SONny side side for the awesome prompt.


Would you like to participate in the next Secret Subject Swap? All bloggers are welcome! Feel free to contact Karen at Baking in a Tornado . She now has so many participants, the swap goes on twice a month. (Go girl!!).

*No grocery baggers were hurt in the making of this story.


****
Take Two:
 And now, ladies and gentlemen, a rant on how I REALLY feel @ pageants:
I could go on and on about how actual real women are the ones who have battle wounds; wrinkles, C-section lines and stretch marks, bruises, cuts and biopsy scars. I could tell you that there are no categories of swimwear for the female soldiers who have gone to war and are missing limbs, or for domestic abuse victims who have lost parts of their souls.  We all would rather be in beautiful flowing gowns than be forced to wear those that hospitals or institutions require. We all know that. Categories of competition should be how we talk to our children about death. How kind we are to those with less. How we pay the bills when times are difficult. How we go on in faith when we don't have the strength to breathe. Holding multiple jobs, raising children alone, raising our grand kids or caring for our elderly parents are the true talents. Platforms should be based on how we as women can hold each other up instead of constantly tearing each other down. It's all too deep for pageantry. Our hosts are our families or friends. The ones that see us at our lowest. Our harshest judges live in our heads. Who can say anything worse to us than what we tell ourselves? When we realize we are perfect in our imperfections, when we can see that our trophies come in the eyes of our loved ones, we can know that none of us needs to win a contest. The prize for most of us, is getting through a night and waking up to one live more day. Would we spend that day singing arias or twirling batons, or would we instead, lay in the sun listening to our babies laugh? The things we hold closest to our hearts, the people that make us laugh, the arms that wrap around us to hold us up when we haven't the strength to do anythings else are better than any sash or crown or thorny roses. Being an"awarded" woman shouldn't be about anything else.

49 comments:

  1. HAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG! Haven't read the rant yet - but I couldn't wait to comment on your recap of Miss Grocery Girl 2009! I soooo wish this was true. I have to admit right until it got to the bit about Dr Phil saying you had "Daddy issues" I thought it could have happened:) Here I am thinking, 'Nah - Dr Phil wouldn't have said that would he? You make me LAUGH!

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    1. Josie, when I was writing that, all I could think was, "Someone is actually going to believe I'm a country bumpkin!" That's funny because it's partly true. I'm sure Dr. Phil would have some choice words for me and my "Daddy Issues". Thanks for commenting. You know I love hearing from you.

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  2. Your rant brought tears to my eyes - actual REAL tears. x

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    1. Aw, Thank you. Thanks for addressing the serious and the funny. XOXOX

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  3. I don't even know what to say. Forget Miss Grocery Girl, you are a Queen of the art of writing. You had me laughing non-stop at the top, and I had goose bumps at the bottom. This is an amazing piece of writing. I know for a fact I'll be back to read it again, and probably again...

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    1. You know I love you, K. Thanks for the outlet and for giving me yet another reason to get out of bed and write. Come back often, my friend.

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  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE both parts. The first part had me splitting my sides and the second part had me tearing up.
    Way to go!!! That was GREAT!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read that LOOOONG post. I appreciate your comments. I'm also loving your sewing tutorials. You are very talented.

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  5. Your first part was so blinking funny!!! Ahahahahah...paper plates for the girls!! And, then you come back with the second part and completely blow me away!! Awesome take!!

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    1. Thanks Roshni. I was hoping no one would take offense to the solo cups and twine. Haha. Congratulations again, on your new domain. Your Christmas post was lovely.

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  6. Hey Chewbacca Legs...there was definitely serendipity at work when you got this prompt. You're a brilliant storyteller and a writer that I feel so fortunate to "know" (virtually at least!) What a masterpiece you weaved with the two different pieces. I loved every last word! If I had a tiara for "awesome", I'd be awarding it to you today ;)

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    1. Those words mean a lot to me, Jen. Thank you. Even though I meant every word of that rant, I would SOOOOO wear that tiara. XOX

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  7. Loved it all! But the 'rant' was spot on, and brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for being such an amazing example and friend.

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    1. I'm humbled by that comment, Christie. Your kind words mean a lot. Thank you <3

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  8. hey yo:

    the top... you "rocked" that paper towel & white lunch bag outfit!!!

    the bottom... bravo!!! well said.

    the total... another great read: thanks, slu

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    1. Hey you!
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read. No one can rock a paper lunch sack quite like me...

      So, are you going to the Superbowl? I'm going to have to say yes. You must be in heaven. DId you also witness the disaster that was the last second of my game? The horror!

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    2. wow... i did, could not believe it. take care, slu

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  9. You go, Grocery Girl!

    That take two brought tears to my eyes. So true.

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    1. Thanks Lilian. Grocery Girl could be my new blogging name. I am that proud. :)

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  10. I can't believe she actually came out like that! Hilarious story! I loved both of your posts and I can especially relate to...I guess we all can to the second half of your post....great job!

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    1. Thank you, Courtney. I'm glad you liked it. I appreciate you taking the time to read all of it. I hoped that the second part would resonate with others. You are so thoughtful to comment.

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  11. Loved this. Your use of humor illustrated so perfectly how ridiculous the obsession with beauty pageants has become. And then you most eloquently verbalized what all women need to realize means true beauty. Thank you so much my wonderful, insightful, incomparable friend.

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    1. Ann, what a beautiful comment. Thank you. Your continued support means so much. <3

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    2. I saw that you forwarded this post on FB. Thank you for that. You make my heart happy.

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  12. You are the Grocery Girl of my dreams! That was amazing and brilliant!
    I hope you got some vengeance on that damn Ginny girl and punched her in the face!

    Beauty pageants are still on? Just kidding ~ you are right...women need to understand what true beauty is!

    Lanaya
    www.raising-reagan.com

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    1. Lanaya aka Mrs. Smith, Hahaha! Thank you. Your second sentence made me spit soda on my screen! Too funny.

      I honestly couldn't tell you when the last pageant was on! Toddlers and Tiaras proves that they are still out there somewhere....

      Enjoy your weekend and once a gain, Thank you!

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  13. Holy cow! I am AMAZED at what you did with this prompt! Tin foil necklace? Hairy ankles and a paper plate skirt? Where the HECK did you come up with this stuff? Sounds like an Alice In Wonderland dreamscape! But hey, I'd do it too for all those hotdogs!! And then the second part--so beautifully written--Grocery Girl, you are my hero!

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    1. MM- My mind is a scary, twisted place. It's what happens when I haven't written for awhile..Hahahah.
      Hotdogs. You too? Did you know that I was a vegetarian for about a year, but it was a blasted hot dog that ruined it for me? Ridunkulous, I know.
      If Grocery Girl doesn't get her own animated Saturday morning show, I don't know what I'll do. Where are our unshaven female superheroes, anyway?
      <3

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  14. Wow, two excellent takes on a great topic. Either one on their own would have been more than enough, but both together are outstanding. I learned so much from this post. Who knew red solo cups could be so versatile? I might be a little biased, but you would win any pageant or writing contest that I had to judge. Keep up the good work! :)

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    1. Cheeeeeeeeeeese! We are never buying plastic cups again.

      Thanks for the props. You ARE biased. Admit it, though. Between my chewbacca legs and your Yoda toenails, we could take ANY beauty pageant thrown at us on our outstanding classiness alone.

      We'd better stick together, man :)

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  15. Either you really are the one and only 2009 Grocery Girl Winner or you are an awesome awesome writer and storyteller. I liked both posts, but Take Two really made me think about all things we should celebrate and acknowledge that too often go unnoticed.
    Jae Mac, I'm Just Sayin'...(Damn!)

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    1. jae Mac, I love when you come over to visit! I'll take the compliment of writer/storyteller since I'd be scared to death to ever enter any kind of contest! I'm especially happy to read that you enjoyed the second part. THat was my soul speaking. I contemplated over and over on whether or not to publish that part...but I'm glad I did. It was a little raw, but it also was another chance to see how much of us have the very same things/feelings in common. I respect your words and am so grateful to have you stopover and give me your take:)

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  16. hahaha - that was hilarious. Though, being a first time reader, I wasn't sure how much of it was true or just stretched until I got to the comments. Whew! Nice job keeping the rant bit short and too the point, too.
    Well said.
    ♡ Jill

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Jill! I'm so glad you stopped by! Thanks for taking the time to read it. I'm usually not that long winded. The rant was what mattered most to me, so thank you for reading that as well! Have a great beginning to you week!

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  17. omg goodness spanx and pasties, this was marvelous! lol I'm totally wanting to make myself a little sash that reads "Mrs. Bagger USA". I hate grocery shopping but I am the queen of bagging. I need a tiara! Love this so much :)

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    1. Thanks, girl! Mrs. Bagger, USA! Absolutely. I will embroider that on a pillow for you, next to Mrs. Levine! Thanks for your nice words!

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  18. Lots of laughs reading this Michelle, you really can tell a brilliant story, bring it to life-what a gift you have. Hope all is okay with you? Thinking about you. Hugs and smiles.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment. I'm hanging in there (just like everyone else). Thanks also for the thoughts and smiles. They are always needed and welcomed. XOX

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  19. I loved this, it was hilarious. Great story!!

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  20. Hi Michele. As I read your story I smiled along, I even laughed out loud at points, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself. So I was pleased that I came by for a read for that alone. However, I was going to wait for another post to make a reply, being a die-hard Michigan woodsman, beauty pageants and grocery girls are a little harder for me to comment on. (Appropriately anyway...)

    Then I read what you called a rant. I call that straight talk and I LOVED IT. My favorite people are the ones who have the ability, and the courage to say what they believe. To tell it straight, and you did.

    So, hats off to you... Not only did you make me laugh, you gave me and everyone else who reads something to think about. Thanks.

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    1. Jon,

      What a beautiful comment. (I know, last thing an outdoorsman wants to read!) Thank you for reading and laughing. Please know this is always the appropriate place to come joke about grocery girls and pageants...

      Thank you even more for speaking @ the rant. That "saying what you believe" stuff is hard for me. I never quite know how it will be received. I'm always surprised to see who comments (and who doesn't) on that kind of honesty. Your comment was so thoughtful.

      I hope you'll visit again.

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  21. okay... i admit it. i am beyond gullible. you had me until the cups were stuffed hahahha i just love the way you write! and what you said about how you really feel is so true and i wholeheartedly agree. we have such a twisted perception on beauty and talent. the trophies the plastic girls win doesnt bring love, happiness, and fulfillment like the trophies of real women <3

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    1. Don't worry about being gullible. I wanted everyone to believe for a bit. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on such a silly post. I'm glad you agreed with the second part It's probably why we're bloggy friends! Take care, girl. I hope your finals went well :)

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  22. Seriously loved this!!


    Glad to know I have another hairy thing in common with my FF. ;)

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    1. Dear Heavens, girl. I probably shaved those Chewbaca legs with you on one of our 11 year-old "I'm-all-grown-up" parties. Thanks for reading and for your FF support :)

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