I'm not pretty when I'm mad; I'm not pretty when I'm crying, or any other time. Here's the funny part: I actually won a beauty contest. After that, incredibly, people began to spread the word about how "pretty" I was. I call it the "Miracle of the Pageant." I believe the textbook term is "Suddenly Pretty Syndrome" (SPS), which has a genetic component - a goofy little character on the double helix turning "on" every other generation; so my children are safe, but I fear for my grandaughter.
The missing pixels in the clippings presented here forgive my crooked teeth, pot belly, and of course the hump on my back, not to mention the wart on my nose. I was not just your average beauty queen, and I darn well knew it. I entered hoping for a scholarship and when I won, was at a loss to justify my wreckless behavior.
Overcoming basic shyness as well as a stunning black eye received by swimming into the fist of my high school principal in the pool on the senior trip, I triumphed in spite of the bruise obscuring one eye (pancake makeup). All I needed to complete the look was a peg leg and a parrot on my shoulder. I went on to an undistinguished ranking at the state pageant, which was won by a three-time finalist who danced a ballet accompanied by herself playing all the instruments in a string quartet (recorded over). I ask you, what chance did a poor hunchback with crooked teeth have?
After the competitions ended, suitors came from everywhere seeking a date with a verified pageant winner, authenticated by judges and wearing the seal of "Suddenly Pretty." They were predictably unimpressive. After all, I knew their angle and deplored it: Dating a suddenly pretty beauty queen to claim another scalp for your belt is abhorrent...and thank you.