“I’m always looking,” says Miss America, “for what’s NOT
Every time she looks in a mirror.
Miss America onstage, her blond hair coils and spirals,
billows and looms,
to make her face look as small as possible.
One high-heeled foot, placed just a little in front of the
to make her legs overlap
so her hips look more
Standing sideways, she twists her shoulders
to face the audience head-on.
All this breathless contortion to make her waist look
Onstage, instead of a spotlight, a movie fragment:
Her face veiled with exercise videos.
Her features, her eyes and lips, made up with hot-pink
leotards and leg warmers.
Her Miss America skin jumps and dances with a crowd of
each of those women watching herself in a mirror.
The film: a shadow of a reflection of an image of an
She says, “My every glance in a mirror, it’s a secret market survey.”
She’s her own test audience.
Rating her curb appeal on a scale of one to ten.
Every day, beta-testing a new upgraded version of
Fine-tuning to follow market trends.
Her dress, swimsuit-tight, leotard-tight,
her pantyhose run with women pedaling bicycles, going
at a thousand calories an hour.
“For the Talent portion of my program,” she says, “I’ll show
you how to unswallow.”
A bellyful of peach ice cream,
a Halloween bag of miniature candy bars,
six frosted doughnuts,
two double cheeseburgers.
The usual stuff.
And sometimes, sperm.
Her face swimming and flickering with aerobic work, her immediate ambition is
to diminish initial buyer resistance.
With a long-term goal of becoming someone’s long-term investment.
As a durable consumer good.
Your body is just the first part of you that croaks.” Meaning: Beyond that, your dreams have to die. Then your expectations. And your anger about investing a lifetime in learning shit and loving people and earning money, only to have all that crap come to basically nothing. Really, your physical body dying is the easy part. Beyond that, your memories must die. And your ego. Your pride and shame and ambition and hope, all that Personal Identity Crap can take centuries to expire.