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Things Not To Say To A Pageant Committee
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Things Not To Say To A Pageant Committee
Ever dreamed of being in a pageant? Read this essay before heading to your interview.
[1,276 words]
What can I say? I'm just another lowly writer who escapes into the worlds I create to escape (or describe) the squalors of this one. I like James Bond, astronomy, martial arts, and eighties cartoons. Feel free to write to me with comments and suggestions.
[October 2002]
[email protected]
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Things Not To Say To A Pageant Committee

Every year, this is a pageant in my community to select one girl from three to five contestants to serve as queen of the festival and stand around and look pretty in front of everyone. Ideally, this girl should be smart, pretty, talented, and a hard worker. She must also be selected. In order to be selected as a contestant, or “princess”, as we call them, she must spill ever last detail of her life to a board of community members who have decided to serve on the pageant committee. The interview can safely be regarded as the most difficult part of the pageant, as this is where the committee decides who will be in the spotlight and who will be left behind to forever walk in the shadows of those more worthy than her.

As you can probably guess, I fell into that second category, much to the dismay of not only myself, but several of my friends, two of whom were selected to be in the pageant this year and a third who was first runner-up in last year’s pageant. After getting over the initial shock, I realized that it must have been something I said at the interview. In all actuality, I was one of, if not the most qualified applicant - I had the highest grade point average of all the girls trying out, everyone in the community knew my name, I was involved in everything from sports to band to National Honor Society, and I was an experienced public speaker. However, tha wasn’t enough for them - or maybe it was TOO much! Perhaps instead of thinking about what I should have said, I should be thinking about what I should not have said...

Before I get in to the main body of this essay, I would like to state that it is a satirical commentary on the process and ideas upheld by pageant committees in general and not a direct attack on any specific group or individuals. Thank you. Now, on with the show.

Almost every little girl dreams of being in a pageant sooner or later. It’s not hard to see why. Who wouldn’t want to parade around on a stage and showcase your talent in front of all your friends and family in hopes of getting crowned queen? Ladies, if you say that you’ve never had this dream, well, then I think you’re lying. Some of us have dreamed this dream so badly for so long that when the opportunity to be in a pageant arises, we take it. Excellent. You know what you want and you’re willing to go for it. Good job. Now comes the hard part: the interview. At the interview, you must choose your words wisely, for fear of upsetting the balance in the perfect world ordained by the members of the pageant committee. In order to help you, the reader, pass the interview and become a member of the chosen few, I have compiled this list of things you should NOT say to the pageant committee.

1. I like James Bond movies
Bond... James Bond. He’s smart, savvy, gets the car, gets the gadgets, gets the girl, gets the bad guy, and he does it all without wrinkling his tux. In short, he’s everything the members of the pageant committee will never be, so don’t take the chance of upsetting them by saying that you enjoy the adventures of Agent 007. And those Bond girls... they’re gorgeous, smart, and kick ass, not to mention they always spend a night with James. As we all know, it’s a very bad thing for young women to condone women who are gorgeous, smart, kick ass, and get the guy, so be sure to refrain from mentioning that you’re a Bond fan.

2. California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is known throughout the world as one of the best scientific research facilities around. Nearly everyone who has made an impact on the scientific community is involved with the California Institute of Technology in some way, shape, or form. The idea that a young woman is interested in such a prestigous, well-known school is very intimidating to the pageant committee. Girls should be at home, cooking and cleaning and watching the kids, and not at a research facility analyzing the tracks of subatomic particles, formulating scientific theories, designing rocket propulsion systems, and unveiling secrets of the universe in general. If you must say California Institute of Technology, though, DON’T shorten it to Cal Tech. This suggests a degree of familiarity with the elite school that will make the little old ladies on the committee very nervous.

3. I take martial arts classes
Erm... no. Young women are supposed to be victims. Any female who can take another person’s head in her hands and snap the neck in self-defense is obviously not a victim. Refrain from mentioning that you can snap bones like twigs, and things will be in your favor.

4. I play the French horn
Ah, the French horn... it’s such a beautiful instrument, with a sweet, melodious sound and connotations of Heaven and archangels. However, the members of the pageant committee are not stupid. They know that the French horn is a very difficult instrument to play, and in the time it takes to master the French horn, you could have knitted enough pairs of socks for every single child in a random third-world country. The oboe also falls under the category of very difficult instruments to play, so if you are an oboe player, keep it to yourself. A good alternative is to say you play the piano for the Sunday school choir at your church when you’re not teaching the cute little boys and girls about Noah’s ark.

5. I like Las Vegas.
This one should be self-explanatory.

6. Graduate school
This one occured to me while writing the section on the California Institute of Technology. Young women are not meant to go to graduate school. They are to spend four productive years at a state or other low-level university for the sole purpose of finding a nice business major to get married to, and then they can go home and have babies while Mr. Good-Old-Fashioned-Values works at the office. The idea that a girl would want to go to college to get an education is tolerable, but continuing that education past a bachelor’s degree? Unacceptable! Before you know it, she’ll start getting ideas and thinking for herself, and who knows where that will lead? To stay on the committee’s good side, don’t say anything about graduate school.

7. Astrophysics
While it’s on my mind, refrain from using words with more than three syllables in the first place. This suggests intelligence. Keeping that thought in mind will prevent you from saying something like astrophysics. Why should you avoid saying astrophysics? For the same reasons you should avoid saying California Institute of Technology, or even worse, Cal Tech: science and the ideal young woman do not mix. Astrophysics is a very complex and mysterious science, and some elements of it even question the existence of God. Forget what you said earlier about being an active member of your church - show even the slightest interest in astrophysics, and you’re a heathen. Sorry, honey. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected to be in the pageant.


So what should you say? Pretty much anything I haven’t mentioned is okay, although you also want to tread lightly with classical music. Usually, only musically-inclined people enjoy classical music, and musically-inclined people are some of the most intelligent ones out there. Remember, girls, you like cooking, cleaning, old-fashioned morals, and working with small children. Good luck.


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April 2003

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