Friday, February 09, 2007
If there was a beauty pageant for stout, easily irritated fathers-of-one, organised along traditional lines, with the judging divided into Evening Wear, Talent, Swimwear and Personality categories, and if, say, I chose to enter, here's what I'd do by way of preparation.
The three esses. Sunbed, Spa, Sit-ups. Now the sunbed can be tricky. You want to take the edge off your natural, Northern European pastiness, but you don't want to end up looking like George Hamilton. Proceed with caution. The Spa thing is probably best left until a week before the competition. Should include removal of excess body hair as well as a facial, manicure, etc. Leave chest hair. It's manly. Sit-ups should commence the day you send off the application. If you can't shift the paunch then make sure it doesn't shake.
I like to think I still cut a pretty dashing figure in a dinner suit. I'm tall enough, and broad enough through the shoulder. These are my rules. Black. No cummerbund. No wing collar. For the purposes of this pageant I'll wear patent leather shoes, though I wouldn't otherwise. Maybe some spectacles.
For the talent section I'd sing a great pop song previously recorded by someone who wasn't a great singer. "Like a Prayer" by Madonna springs immediately to mind. This approach is foolproof. I'll accompany myself either on classical guitar or heavily distorted electric. Acoustic is a complete no-no. This isn't after hours at a friend's house, this is Mr Chunky Annoyed Dad UK! Learn the song. Do not alter the lyrics. This is a wanker's trick.
Resolve not to be talked into Speedos. Shorts brief enough to reveal one's powerful thighs yet not so snug as to make a vulgar show of what only one's wife should see are de rigueur.
If I've made it this far then I'm going to wing it on the host's questions. I will consider some stock responses however.
"A cure for HIV/AIDS."
"Mohandas K Gandhi."
"An ambassador for stocky, easily-irritated fathers-of-one throughout the world."