Friday, February 26, 2010

On Thin Ice

Nothing comes closer to turning me into a gay man than watching figure skating. When Chinese pair Shen and Zhao performed their short program on Valentine’s night, I wished for a gold medal for them. And they got it, by the way. I found myself sitting there enraptured by their talent, their grace and power. And I was nearly on the edge of my seat with every move, finally breathing when they finished.

Other couples were less memorable, and I found myself being a little catty with them, saying things like, “That is the most horrible triple toeloop I have ever witnessed,” “What’s up with that straight line step sequence? I’ve seen better footwork in 'Planet of the Apes on Ice,'” and “It’s a pair combination spin, honey! You’re supposed to be in synch with each other, hence the word ‘pair!'”

I don’t understand. I didn’t behave like that when we watched snowboarding or downhill skiing. What is it about figure skating that makes me go all Carson Kressley? Don’t get me wrong; I love Carson more than my luggage, but why am I not that way with all of the competitions? Maybe it’s the intrinsic femininity of the sport itself.

I don’t mean the competitors are gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but let’s face it—it does require one to move with quite a bit more flourish than other sports. Plus, if you compare the petite frames of the female skaters to those of, say, the female curlers, the difference is obvious. I’m probably thinking about this too much. I should just enjoy it. And I will. As soon as I make myself another Cosmopolitan.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Just One of the Girls

Super Bowl weekend is over. Apparently the Saints won, although I didn’t watch the game—I was obsessed with Hoarders and couldn't stop watching, a fact I find ironic. My weekend didn’t include anything even remotely Super Bowl-ish. In fact, Saturday night Mary and I went to a Miss America Pageant party. Yes, I know the pageant was last week. But the weather here was such that the party was postponed a week. The pageant was recorded, and all those invited had to swear to not watch it.
At a Miss America pageant party, you might expect the atmosphere to be one of dignity and grace, where champagne is served in crystal goblets, petite finger foods are artfully arranged on beautiful platters, and conversation is intellectually stimulating. This? Was not that kind of party. This gathering was for the express purpose of making fun of the pageant and its contestants. As a born cynic, that’s the kind of party I can really sink my teeth into.
Instead of champagne in goblets, there was wine and rum in plastic cups. Instead of crudités, pâté de foie gras, and petit fours, there were pigs in a blanket, cheese dip, and red velvet cupcakes. Instead of dignity and grace, there were cackles and screams of laughter, especially when a contestant nearly bought it coming down the steps in her evening gown, hit a bad note during a performance, or had a ridiculously bad hairdo. And instead of intellectual conversation, there was talk and laughter about another friend—who wasn’t present—blow-drying her naked crotch in a hotel room while her roommates looked on in shocked disbelief. It was a fantastic party.
The invitation came by way of Tracy, a friend of mine whom I worked with at BP. Her friend and former neighbor, Darlene, hosts the party every year for a group of about ten women. This year, for the first time ever they broke tradition and invited a man. Me. And I had a blast. Mary even made pageant sashes for the two of us. She was “Misdemeanor” and I was “Misguided.”
Several of the other women have obviously known each other for a long time. They enjoyed a familiarity with each other, one that quickly rubbed off on Mary and me. The chatter was nonstop throughout the pageant, but when a contestant appeared in a particularly garish evening gown, ill-fitting swim suit, or displayed a decidedly lame talent, catty laughter and applause swelled and filled the room.
Comments were made about contestants’ awful spray tans, having too much junk in their trunk—which was true, as more than one could have used their butt as a bookshelf—or bearing a striking resemblance to everyone from Mary Lou Retton to Princess Fiona from Shrek. Even the winner, Caressa Cameron (Miss Virginia) was not exempt from this, as she was compared to “the Avatar chick.” If you’ve not seen either, trust me—she looks just like her.
One of the great points of the night was during Miss Hawaii’s talent portion—not surprisingly, the Hula—when the graphic at the bottom of the screen flashing snippets of information about her revealed that her favorite accessory is a smile, placing her in direct contention with the overly perky Miss Kentucky for Pageant Pollyanna. The noise that came from those women was one of frustrated dismay—the same noise that men make when their team fumbles the ball.
The night ended too soon. Mary and I had a fabulous time, and feel like we made some new friends. I selfishly hope we’re invited back next year. I can’t wait.