I thought for a moment that the lovely Miss Wendy had gotten me an early birthday present and signed us up for the Playboy network, but then realized what I was watching was way too bizarre for anything Hugh Hefner and company could develop.
No, this was a production of that zany Trump fellow, the annual flesh fest we all know and love as the Miss Universe Pageant. Actually, I exaggerate.
It’s been years since any sort of beauty pageant has attracted much more than a collective yawn from Mr. and Mrs. America. Bert Parks – now that’s a name hidden way back in the vault of golden oldies – was still wearing a tux, standing onstage in Atlantic City and singing an ode to Miss America when beauty pageants still registered on the nation’s pop culture radar.
All that said, for the few minutes I forced myself to check out the, ahhh, cupcakes on NBC, the judges were in the process of whittling down the lovelies to the final 10. The bikini-clad babes, sporting shoes with foot-long stiletto heels, stood about waiting to hear their names called, then strutted their, um, stuff to center stage.
For a few moments I thought I was having some sort of flashback, sitting in the Springer Theater in Columbus – that would be my hometown, a little village nestled comfortably in a crook of the Chattahoochee River – covering the Miss Land of Cotton Pageant for the local paper.
The state pageant was held each year in Columbus – go figure! When I managed to wrangle an internship with the Enquirer in the late ’60s, one of my first jobs was covering the preliminary events – swimsuit, evening gown, entertainment.
At the time, it was understood I didn’t have the necessary experience to cover the final night of the pageant. It would take another few years of journalism school and seasoning to learn how to properly use such modifiers as svelte, voluptuous, limpid and languid, seductive, sensual and, ahh, booty before I’d be able to, well, rise to the occasion.
Unfortunately, I was moved to the cop beat. But that’s another story.
It was late Tuesday before I learned Miss Mexico had most wowed the judges Monday night and walked away with top honors. The bigger story, so I heard on the evening news, came during the pivotal question and answer segment of the program, when Miss Philippines, Maria Venus Raj, dropped the proverbial ball. Shame!
Asked to detail “one big mistake” in her life and what she did to “make it right,” the svelte beauty, seductively suggested with a sensual look that was at once limpid and languid, that in her “22 years of existence,” she had done “nothing major”. Then she shook her voluptuous booty.
My mentors in journalism would be proud!
HOW ABOUT THIS MOMENT? Miss Philippines (photo above), Maria Venus Raj, lost her composure and the Miss Universe title when she couldn’t recall one mistake in her life.