Sunday, January 16, 2011

A tale of two evenings.

Last night was a little odd.

After weeks of hype, my elder daughter, as I mentioned in this post, finally suited up for the big game...the Winter Ball, that is. It really was a lot like the build-up to a dramatic sporting event:

She arrived early to receive treatment from the trainer, or in this case, she got a pedicure and intensive hairapy.

She reviewed the game plan with her coach. Her mother planned a well-orchestrated photo session for thirty teenagers and caravan to the Old Spaghetti Factory in time for a seven o'clock reservation and eight o'clock dance. Since spaghetti can be a potential land mine for my kid, she practiced on some Yakisoba earlier in the day. Although the surface area of her dress virtually eliminated any possibility of receiving an errant sauce drip, her hair remained in harm's way. The coach thereby covered this contingency.

Finally, she applied eye black, or rather, makeup. Game time.

Okay, enough with the sports analogies. I wasn't present to witness the evening's events, since my younger daughter and I veered off in our own direction. We went out for dinner ourselves, and returned home to watch none other than the Miss America Pageant.

And that's when the evening assumed an odd tone. While my teenager and wife experienced a semi-annual, ultra-dolled-up event, the rest of us witnessed the culmination of a lifetime of  "dolled-upedness," in the form of these beauty contestants.

I've preached repeatedly to both kids about the objectification of women in these competitions; they're certainly talented, but when half the points are based upon how they look in two-piece swimwear and evening gowns, it's like saying, "Please stay with us, because following the debate, Senators McCain and Obama will oil up and wrestle in lime jello."

The pageant was sponsored by a company called DSW, also known as "Discount Shoe Warehouse." Each commercial featured shot after shot of high-heeled pumps, wedges and any other types of shoes which could be worn with swim suits. My elder daughter, who wore similar stilts last night, informed me that the dance venue wouldn't allow girls to remove their shoes, with the consequence of being evicted from the venue.

What's up with that? Was it a way to ensure that no one would stay too late because they could barely walk after two hours, or maybe it was to show solidarity with the hobbled Miss Americans?

Either way, Miss Nebraska won the extravaganza and wore the same facial expression as my older daughter, who returned home aglow after attending her first dance with an actual date. The main difference was that for one of them, a year of extreme girly-girlishness awaits; for the other, it's back to spaghetti sauce in the hair.

I'll take the latter any day.

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