Miss America Addicts
Pageant fanatics dish nonstop online

It's Miss America time, and while much of the nation cares not, some people care intensely. They talk about the gowns. They talk about the swimsuits. They talk about the contestants. They talk a lot, because that's what pageant watchers do. And they do a lot of their talking on a Web site called The Unofficial MAO (Miss America Organization) Message Board.

See also...
... by Gentleman Jim
... in the Dirt section
... from September 17, 1999

Want to join in? Sharpen your knives, climb aboard, and be prepared to rip. It's often anonymous and sometimes venomous.

When first-year CEO Rob Beck announced Monday that the pageant was going to open its doors to women who have had children and/or abortions, one poster wrote:

"I am a 21-year-old part-time prostitute with hopes of someday attaining my GED. I had my first abortion at the age of 16 and several more after that -- work hazard. At 17, I married and was divorced from my pimp because I wasn't bringing in enough business so I became a free (well not that free) agent. I can shoot ping-pong balls at any target with amazing accuracy. Oh yes, and I am a talented organist, if I say so myself. Thanks to Mr. Beck … I now can be Miss America!!!"

The next day, Beck started waffling on the rule change. Coincidence?

Ping-pong balls aren't something you'll read about on the official Miss America site, where the talk is of platforms and civic services, conservative values, and the history of the 79-year-old pageant. Nor is it something you'll see at the Pageant News Bureau, which covers pageants as legitimate news.

No, the unofficial site, which is run anonymously -- none of its monitors or creators put their names on it -- is a volatile mix of Miss America traditionalists and smart-mouthed fans of various sexual identities, none of whom are afraid to speak out. Many seem to love the pageant. But they also love to talk. No detail is too obscure, no news too fresh. Every aspect of the pageant's preliminary competitions, which ran Tuesday through Thursday nights, was dissected.

"The dress had a scooped neckline and was straight with a fluted bottom. She wore a drap [sic] that went around her neck that was in satin I believe and it had rhinestones designs down the back and in hung to the floor. I can't remember what her question was exactly but she gave me and the one's around me chill bumps. I am no expert but if her interview was a good as her onstage question she will be in top five and will probably win the whole thing."

So there you go.

"I am quite sure that my man's size 9 foot could fit quite comfortably into Miss [name deleted]'s shoes -- did you see those honkin' feet?" another person wrote.

"Am I reading you correctly? You are intimating by the size of her feet, she might originally been a male. I am struggling with this," answered somebody called "Petite Feet."

But some people just know how to get to the meat of the matter.

"Ayyyaaaayyayyyyyyy," wrote one armchair analyst. "Those Miss America contestants are very ugly! Miss USA rules!!!!!!!!"

The 1999 Miss America Pageant airs Saturday, September 18.

Gentleman Jim is a big pageant fan. He's rooting for Miss New Jersey.