By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I must admit that, in all those years watching the Miss America pageant as a small-town Catholic school kid, it wasn't to hear Bert Parks sing.
It will be hard for those under the age of 40 to grasp, but there was a time when Elly May Clampett's blue-jeaned butt, the bra ads in the Sunday Times , and the bathing suit competition from Atlantic City were what passed for titillation in the US of A.
All those girls with pearly teeth, trying to look like Barbie. Then came Playboy, Penthouse...and the Internet.
At some level, or perhaps it was just with the passing of time, I came to understand that not every lass was classically endowed. Some ample bosoms were, in fact, a product of Kimberly-Clark or Dow Corning.
But never, until the current flap over Miss Ditz California, did I ever hear of gals packing their brassieres with the help of Frank Perdue.
In an informative exchange on The Early Show on Friday, a California pageant authority acknowledged that officials helped pay for breast enhancement surgery, the better to make Carrie Prejean "feel more confident" in the Miss USA competition.
(For those of you who have lives, Carrie didn't win the crown, but became famous by condemning gay marriage. She's now enjoying her moment of fame and its downside, as folks debate if she is any less a Christian spokesgirl for having posed topless as a model, and gotten a boob job, before anointing herself as a defender of traditional values. Discuss.)
In defending Carrie's choice, one official said that taping and padding is as important a part of beauty pageants as the tiaras and the evening gowns. And that chicken cutlets are the material of choice among many contestants who want to plump up.
As somebody who needs to watch his cholesterol, I eat a lot of skinless chicken breasts. They may never taste the same again. I will always be wondering where they've been.
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Corrected on : Corrected on 5/5/09: An earlier version of this story misidentified the host of the Miss America pageant. Bert Parks served as its longtime host.