Friday, January 04, 2008

This is our country!

While the rest of you were glued to the Iowa Caucuses last night, expanding your knowledge base about civic duty and our bizarre but democratic election process, I was stretching my mind in an altogether different direction. I watched approximately four hundred episodes of a reality show following auditions for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

The Three Stages of immersing myself in this slice of the American pie:

1. Horror. I spent four years at a college that made sure I insisted everyone call me a WOMAN rather than a girl, so my first reaction to six-hundred sweet young things shaking their ha-has at some guy dressed like a drill sergeant was not, "Oh, what fun!" I mean, these girls can't even claim they do it for the scholarship money. My righteous indignation was short-lived, however, nudged out by the stronger force of...

2. Total Understanding. Dancing + Cute Costumes + a Gigantic Cheering Crowd? I am so there! Let's be honest--I was not only a cheerleader during my formative (pre-college, obviously) years, I was a MAJORETTE...If the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders had ever thought to hold auditions in Maine (and I can't understand why they didn't) I would have been all over it. Of course, our cheering and twirling was pretty understated up there in the frozen North, but that's not to say I wouldn't have been a contender. I bet I'd be the only one doing my little tour-jete's to the tune of Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York...

Eventually, though, I came back from my "what might have been" fantasy, and found myself in...

3. Cultural Awe. Okay, we may be one country, but let's be honest--our United States are made up of several different planets. Planet Texas is altogether different from Planet Maine, and even different-er than my current home on Planet Massachusetts. By the fourth episode, I longed to go to Planet Texas (with my noble tour guide Nashville Girl, who grew up in Texas and knows her way around) and beg them to teach me how to do my hair and makeup. I mean, those girls look good all the time--how do they pull it off? And they had a level of poise and, to use a southern word, polish that would be great to have in the repertoire. Because the truth is, we've all known since Gloria Steinem that it's easier to be a successful, intelligent woman if your hair looks good and you're not riding your emotional roller coaster in full view of the world. Texas girls know the secret!

The whole thing made me wonder if we don't each know our own little bit of what it takes to be a fabulous woman--brains, beauty, graciousness, wit, wisdom, discipline, vision, optimism, love--and God wants us to bump into each other, go hang out for a chocolate martini or two, and exchange information?

(If you're a guy reading this, please ignore all of the above and comment instead on how embarrassed Kobe Bryant and the Lakers looked the other night in their retro 1980's uniforms with short (short!) shorts).

15 comments:

heidikins said...

Hello from Planet Salt Lake - quite different than east coast planets, and completely seperate from the Lone Star Planet... As much as we all like to think that we should be judged based solely on our intellect and brains -we all know that hair and mascara play into that as well. That being said; I have no problem with successful women, regardless of their trade... I just sometimes sigh when it comes with pom-poms and booty-fringe.

xox

LEstes65 said...

Ok...as a California-born girl, raised in New England by southerners...I hear you on this.

And my answer is, yes. We all have a piece of the pie. There is no one state that has the whole pie (although each one thinks they do).

My recent move from Boston to Planet Texas exposed me to regional biases that were both archaic and understandable. I was terrified I would be the lone brunette with a brain amongst all of the bleach-blond Barbie pageant moms - those moms who never got to try out for Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I prayed hard about it - as you know. And I ended up in an almost entirely brunette non-pageant-mom neighborhood!

I am enjoying being a transplant on Planet Texas. I can see why Texans are so dang proud of everything they perceive of as "Texan". This state freaking ROCKS. But, having lived in CA, NC, CT, MA & NY (and having visited many more), I would say that every single state in this country rocks. Each one holds vital pieces of our country's history. I love reading Wikipedia - just hopping from state to state going, "Wow, I never knew that about Illinois!"

Southern girls - as a whole - generate more money for the beauty industry's lighter shades of hair color. But if I recall all my pals up north, y'all generate just as much in the reds & brunettes. And I know quite a few Yanks that bleach, too. I do marvel at how many women down here look like they just stepped out of a professional makeup session. And if you like that, great. But I still walk around bare-faced most of the time. Although, I did purchase my first bunch of makeup in DECADES after being down here for 2 years. And I've discovered that dressing nicely makes me feel a hell of a lot better than those giant tents of t-shirts I sported up in Boston. And...you can laugh your butt off at this one...I just recently became a beauty consultant for BeautiControl. I probably won't hawk my wares. But I will be taking their all-day class in Feb.

So give me a few months. You might just be surprised at the next time I step off that plane at Logan.

Sarakastic said...

I too have been both fascinated & disgusted by this show. I definitely have the sarcastic piece of the pie now I just need the "how to wear high heels without wanting to throw them at people" piece.

Patti said...

i am a born and bred planet texas gal and i'd be plum happy to show y'all around if'ins you ever get to these here pastures.

Susie said...

Haha love it!

I get addicted to shows like these for the same reasons. You just CAN'T stop watching.

And I also don't understand why the Cowboys didn't bring their auditions to Maine...Odd :)

Larramie said...

You may be on to something with the different "planets," Trish. After all, they also speak in a totally foreign way! ;)

Gardener Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gardener Greg said...

I just don't trust cheerleaders from Texas. When I was in highschool we traveled all the way from Florida to california for the Rose Parade. There was a competition involved and when we arrived at the event a bunch of cheerleaders from Spring Branch Texas were huddled around Mack Davis accepting their award before the competition even began. Ok now that I have that off my chest, Was there something presidential on last night?

Paige Jennifer said...

Yeah, I saw that show. Um, like both seasons of it. A total Barbie train wreck. Translation: pop the corn and scoot over to make room for me. Oh, and that redhead mother hen with her botoxed face? I can't decide if I like her or think she's evil. This show and Real Housewives of Orange County are my anti-feminist guilty pleasures. And I went to Smith (where freshmen were first years because freshMEN was offensive).

swtpmarie said...

Oh Trish...you don't disappoint. I'm glad I grew up in Michigan and transplanted to Colorado. It's a bit more relaxed out here. And it's less hassle and planning! :) And there's something about the dry atmosphere with an oily complexion that works well together.

But I will forever be a Michigander! We've got TWO peninsulas! Even though some of us view the upper peninsula as a completely different country. They've got quite the accent! I do love those Great Lakes though.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I'm sorry I missed those retro Lakers!

As to the Texas-bred secrets...I think the women here are keeping something from me. Unless it's just 'hold your finger down on the hairspray when planning to duke it out with Texas humidity'.

Do tell: what's the Maine secret?

La La said...

I was delivered from planet Texas when I was 24 and drove myself and my attached u-haul trailor to California! My family, however, still lives there, and I just returned from a week with my twin sister, who I must say, dresses NICE-LY every day -- even to work the hospitality hallway at her son's basketball tournament. It was just a few tables in a hallway, but she had on heals and her hair was PERFECT. I had forgotten this need to always look spiffy, and I felt out of place in my sweats and tennis shoes! My brother called me a liberal because I expressed some concern about his need to kill and eat deer! I will always be a TEXAS LONGHORN, but I'm glad to be living on planet Los Angeles now!

Your writing is excellent. Funny stuff.

La La said...

I do know how to spell heels! oops!

Angela said...

I've secretly watched that show before too. But don't tell.

Melek said...

i have to admit, i'm addicted to it too. not sure why bc i was never a cheerleader. maybe it's bc i live in TX? maybe bc my cousin used to be a Cowboy's cheerleader? i remember that i was ever so popular in 6th grade when she made the team and sent me posters of them all signed. the boys went nuts.

and i'll say, TX has some beautiful women. i'm intimidated regularly by them :)