My mind was pried open

Last night as Tom and I left the boxing gym, we picked up the monthly gym newsletter and were stunned to read that one of “our” boxers is a Miss America contestant. We Googled her immediately and found glamorous photos of her in her role as Miss Washington and earlier as Miss Seattle, and I didn’t recognize her! After we looked at several pictures, Tom started to think he remembered seeing her coming in for boxing lessons as we were leaving our fitness class.

I’ve always thought of the Miss America pageant as a revolting fuss over people’s most shallow attributes, with a phony nod to scant talent, so the accomplishments of this particular contestant surprised me. I can now appreciate that the pageant must be a much more demanding competition than I imagined. This 24-year-old is a Harvard graduate in astronomy and astrophysics who co-authored a textbook, plays the violin, and has volunteered in several troubled parts of the world.

I was also surprised to find that somebody who likes to get all glammed up also likes to box. I wasn’t surprised that clothes and makeup and lighting change a person’s appearance dramatically, but I was surprised that it makes such a big difference that I don’t even recognize her from her pageant photos. I’ve surely seen her in passing at the gym.

I still wonder what somebody like this young woman, who has already achieved so much, gets out of the beauty-pageant experience. I have to assume it’s something significant. I don’t know a thing about it.

I can just imagine a situation in which I’m having a random conversation with another woman at the gym about pageants and what a load of &*%!$ they are, and what a fembot you’d have to be to sign up for that, and being overheard by somebody who’s involved. Not that that’s happened. The notion just reinforces the fact that it’s not good be caustic even if you assume that whoever’s listening agrees with you. Better to suspend judgment.