Turns out, I’m NOT Mr. Healdsburg
I recently competed in the 8th annual Mr. Healdsburg Pageant, an all-male mock beauty contest in my neck of the vines. It’s a big fundraiser for our local performing arts center, The Raven, and features all the usual suspects: Talent, Beachwear, Formal Wear and Interview.
Things got off to a slippery start when, for my talent, I dressed up as my wicked alter ego, Pee-Man, and recounted my very first night out in Healdsburg, back in 2004. A night which ended with me waking up on my friend’s parent’s pullout couch, having pissed myself, right next to two girls.
Though I didn’t see any silver lining at the time, I figured this – my shameless talent for storytelling – would help me win the crown.
I figured wrong.
While many of the 400 plus people in the audience seemed to laugh at all the right moments, it was hard not to focus on the handful of yahoos that were booing.
Yup. I got booed. There were the straight up boos, and then there was the girl screaming, “TMI!”
Clearly, Pee-Man isn’t for everyone.
I figured I’d gain some ground in the next segment, Beachwear.
As the three visitors to this blog surely know, I’m obsessed with sharks. And so, I thought it would be cool to design a shark costume. Since I’m not even close to crafty, I enlisted the help of my brilliant amigo, Sebastian Pochen, and sexy seamstress wife, Amber. Together, they built and stitched the 9′ Great White shark costume in which I strutted out. To the Jaws soundtrack, of course.
Though I figured this would knock ’em dead, the following footage suggests I nearly knocked the teeth out of several people.
The reception for this costume was lukewarm at best. There were boos. (Really people?)
Still, I came out for the formal wear segment with my chin (and horns) held high, blind optimism still in tact. I did a loop on the catwalk to Arcade Fire’s “Sprawl II,” and for the interview that immediately followed, I had one last trick up my sleeve.
Here it is…
To be fair, this wasn’t totally my idea. Another contestant, Jim Morris (“The 3rd Most Interesting Man in Healdsburg”) and the reigning Mr. Healdsburg, Michael Bairdsmith, were so annoyed at the crowd for booing me that they suggested I call them on it. And I did.
It didn’t do much for me.
Perhaps this is already evident, but I didn’t win. I didn’t even make the final three of eight, for that matter. Turns out, I’m NOT Mr. Healdsburg. Not that I’m complaining, though. Boos and all, the evening was a BLAST.
And furthermore, this guy deserved to win.
Here’s Tej’s beachwear performance…