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    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Lady, Make a Note of This: The Nicer Side of Reality

    Because we could use a female perspective around here, welcome to the first in a series of occasional guest posts by my significant other. Take it away, Rosemarie!

    I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy Lifetime’s new show How to Look Good Naked, hosted by Carson Kressley, mostly because of the host himself. On Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, he was the fastest with the double entendres, trying on the style-impaired firefighter’s helmet and making jokes about hoses. Not that I mind a good hose joke, but the constant sniping got old quick.

    On Naked, we get a kinder, gentler Carson with a great idea for a show. Women who don’t like their bodies because they think they’re too [skinny, fat, short, lumpy, whatever] receive advice. Not the “lose forty pounds and get a nose job” kind of advice dished out by other reality shows, but the “you’ve got great shoulders and you can conquer the world when you’re wearing the right size bra” kind of advice.

    A woman who was crying because she didn’t want to look into a full-length mirror ends up posing for some strategically-draped nude glamour shots and feeling like a million bucks. I start weeping during the opening credits and don’t stop until it’s over. What can I say, empowerment gets to me. And on a personal note, that bra size thing is true.

    Miss America: Reality Check is another show that doesn’t go mean. The contestants are the 52 young women who will be competing for the Miss America crown this Saturday. The show, part of the pageant’s ongoing attempt to update its image, brings in stylists and beauty consultants to help the women become the best “modern” Miss America they can be. So it’s out with the hairspray and in with the flat iron. The show’s fun, because I for one don’t mind a reality series where no contestants are voted off, fired, or have their sashes snipped by rhinestone-bedecked novelty scissors, to cite another Carson Kressley program. But 52 contestants are about 40 too many. The few singled out were the quirkiest ones – i.e., they had short hair – who were alternately praised for being themselves and reprimanded for acting oddly.

    That kind of conformity is what cut short my pageant career. That and my chosen talent; apparently the judges don’t care for Zasu Pitts impersonators. My favorite talent of this year’s cadre? Miss Texas’ Character Jazz on Pointe. I have no idea what it is, but I’m rooting for her to win it all.

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