The gray coastal clouds were left to droop as I entered the dark, but animated, chaos of the Pacific Beach Bar and Grill. Waitresses swarmed like nibbling fish and swollen security guards wore shades. Red faced marines and washboard tone bellies pounded the bar as drinks flowed and fried appetizers crackled. I awkwardly inquired about the evening’s contest and was soon pushed in route to the main stage.
Bright lights and the constant explosion of flashes lit a row of bulging bellies as I rounded the first corner of the bar. Wide screen televisions replaced windows and promotional banners hung in the dank air. Drinks clanked and bellies burped as the happiest hour in PB greeted each visitor. Balconies bounced with livid supporters and paramedics forgot why they were there. The main stage sagged low as 21 swollen bellies bounced into the spotlight, each a senior in their last term.
I sat at my table with other fellow supporters watching the stage, as well as the giggly crowd. I sipped a pint as I pondered how others, mainly the elderly from more conservative generations, would react. I took out my camera, but hesitated as a sense of decency sagged low over my head like the wet clouds outside. Drunk hoodlums barked like a fettered dog and the sticky floor smacked as the crowd marched towards the stage. I winced as the upper stands began their chants of high pitched hackles. I grabbed for a chicken tender as the finalists were announced.
The two standouts, Amanda the hippie chick and the sailor girl were brought out along with three others whom, though both attractive, lacked the novelty of a gimmick. Five total finalists stood proud as the crowd erupted in a final attempt to persuade. I smirked as I envisioned scenes from a John Waters movie, but easily shook the filth in which I pictured as images of Divine’s adventures haunted. The road up to this point included a variety of rounds including flinging pudding into a newborn man and shooting milk through a super-soaker. All was slightly entertaining, slightly humorous and slightly disturbing.
A hush fell over the crowd as the host pumped up the crowd like an overly charismatic cheerleader. Banners waved in the air as favorites were tallied. The lights went dim, fallowed by a lone spotlight in search for the 2008 Pregnant Bikini Contest winner. Shockingly, the crowd favorites took home 4th and 2nd place, leaving the title to a prego which had reached the finals by hiding in the shadows made by larger and more beautiful bellies. Our pick and fellow Carlsbadcrawler took home 4th place and a check for $150.
I returned to Carlsbad and reflected on the spectacle I had witnessed. I remembered how odd I felt upon arrival and how I questioned the decency of the event. I imagined an elderly lady lost and stumbling into the back of the main room. How would she react to today’s generation of entertainment? MTV is now no more shocking than the animated doodles of a Saturday morning cartoon and our shock level has become as diluted as a Rosarito Beach cocktail. I shrugged it off and laughed to myself as I took out my “things to do in my lifetime” list and scribbled a thick check after #101.
You looked great Amanda…Congratulations on the final round!!!