I've said this before but it doesn't seem to have flushed the rats out yet so here we go again. I'm seriously pissed at all those snoops who regularly invade my blogspace but don't bother to leave a courtesy note. Even just a little line saying Hello I was here, nice blog you have here or whatever. So to those furtive lurkers from Apia, Samoa, Singapore and Calcutta, West Bengal, whoever you are, either step forward and introduce yourselves or quit spying on me.
On to happier things, ever been on the panel of a beauty pageant? Ok, so beauty pageants aren't quite politically correct anymore but the enthusiasm they generate is still enormous. Especially at the undergrad level. And especially among the male population of said level.
At work, we have these little pageants as part of the annual sports and socio cultural fests and I've been on the panel for the third year running. Not exactly all fun and games as you might suppose. There's usually a great deal of planning and coordination that goes on behind the scenes. The girls practise catwalking and general deportment and are made to watch videos of past year competitions. And then of course, there's the little prerequisite that not very many beauty queen hopefuls enjoy - the interview round.
The first time I was a judge, the three of us on the panel, all female by the way, hadn't been told about it in advance. At the last minute, we were just told we had to ask a question of each contestant. Whoa, thinking up intelligent but not too taxing, things to ask at such short notice and in front of a very interested audience is not exactly a picnic at the park. All I could think of was What's your favourite colour. Naaaw, my two agitated co-judges said, something a little more complex. Another colleague sitting with us had obviously watched a few more pageants on TV and was able to come up with a little more happening questions. Like which person do you admire most and why. We ordered her to write out good questions to ask while we assessed the girls who'd already begun nervously sashaying up and down the stage.
Last year, the problem was solved with a list of questions already neatly printed out for us. All we had to do was pick them off the list. The girls too had already been made acquainted with the list so they knew what to expect and were able to sound considerably more intelligent and much more composed than the previous year's batch, poor things.
This year, the interview round was simplified even further to soothe the jittery nerves of the girls by informing them, albeit just a half hour or so before the event, which question in the list they were to answer. Question #1 would go to contestant #1, and so on. All they had to worry about now was prettifying themselves and pirouetting around confidently. Which they did beautifully. Salut, here's looking at you, kids!