Randomness: Jeopardy, Miss USA, and Brahmin Widowhood

During the season, my husband golfs. A lot. Frequently he golfs in the evening, and I take advantage of such time by indulging in such activities as watching seasons 1-4 NYPD Blue on DVD, or Jeopardy, during which I tersely and quickly phrase answers in the form of questions, out loud, naturally. Secretly I prefer Celebrity Jeopardy so I can run the categories and also berate the celebrities for answering Montreal instead of Vancouver, or some such transgression. The past few days, however, have showcased the Tournament of Champions with the corresponding very difficult questions. One of the contestants going into the final is a video game tester and I feel that there is so much to be said about video game tester as a career choice, but I don’t know where to start so I shall leave my commentary unsaid.

Doesn’t it sound like it would be awesome to live with me? Put the kids to bed, crack open a bottle of wine, and watch Jeopardy with intense scrutiny and seriousness, only to fall asleep at 9:00. I’m a barrel of fun! I was chatting with a group of fellow early morning yogis, and my lovely, lovely teacher was telling a story, the punchline of which was “Well, it would be better than phoning at 9:00 and waking everyone up” to which we all nodded gravely. 9:00! It’s like the middle of the night! My people! I love you all, you crazy early birds.

But Sunday evening my husband was golfing, and sadly, Sunday evenings are Jeopardy-free, so I curled up on the couch with the excellent book about life for a Brahmin woman in turn-of-the-century India, “Toss of a Lemon”. Just as I reached the part about her attaining widowhood at age eighteen, after eight years of marriage, and her subsequent head shaving and state of purity that dictated she be out of public view and essentially untouchable during daylight hours, I reached for my glass of wine and noticed what was on television: the Miss USA pageant. I looked from my book to the TV and back again, somewhat taken aback by the contrast.

I am secretly a bit fascinated with beauty pageants. The Miss USA pageant, in particular, is absolutely mesmerizing. For one thing, the contestants all wear the same clothes for much of the pageant, and despite variations in hair and skin colour, they all look disconcertingly the same. They could be essentially split up into two physical categories: those who have had breast implants, and those who have not.

What I really like about the pageants are the shots of the girls all hanging out and doing various activities all together. “They went shopping at Vegas’ newest hotel!”, “Then they cooled off in the pool!”, “They had a sweet time at the cupcake shop” (although I would have liked to see some of them eating those cupcakes, I very much doubt if any did). I always imagine these to be a total cat-fest, but a veiled one, because no one wants to be TOO bitchy, but damn, that Miss Maine had some bad split ends. Although that may be unfair of me to say that, since the only pageant contestant I have ever known personally was a former colleague’s wife, who was runner-up to Miss Nebraska. This woman, in addition to being stunningly, All-Americanly beautiful, was also one of the sweetest, most generous people I have known. In the end, the woman who won was an MBA with a concentration in economics! My people! Kind of.


  1. Mrs.Mayhem says

    I can’t remember the last time I saw a beauty pageant, maybe when I was a kid. It seems as though pageants have gotten such a bad reputation (or is it just me??) that I wonder if it is getting difficult to find contestants?

  2. I love your Miss USA categories. We used to watch pageants with my dad religiously when I was a kid. I was convinced that someday I was going to become Miss Canada someday and my dad had the unenviable job of convincing me that it was never gonna happen (I’m 5’2″ with no chest at all) while still maintaining my self-esteem.

  3. I knew a girl who was Miss Dairy Festival. She was quite proud of it, but I was a little dubious.

    Most of the guys I know would give ANYthing to be a professional video game tester. ANYthing.

  4. I dressed up as Miss Canada for Halloween one year, convinced that one day I too would wear the tiara. Alas.

  5. donna blande says

    I think you’d be a hoot to live with. And you make cookies a lot. Or, at least you used to.

  6. When I was a kid I loved watched Miss USA and Miss America on TV. I would always try to guess who would win and would be super involved in the whole thing. Which is weird because I am not at all the type of person who would ever watch them now. I distinctly remember being devastated when Vanessa Williams lost her crown. Yeah…times have changed.

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