I was at a party with my husband meeting new people. A man I was chatting with asked me about my book. When I told him the title “No Crown Required” and that it referred to my journey to the Miss America Pageant, he said, “I like the Miss U.S.A. pageant.” Baffled at the statement I asked him why.
He said he knew a couple of Miss U.S.A. contestants, and when he asked them what the difference was between the two pageants they said, “Miss America is the girl next door. Miss U.S.A. is the girl you wished lived next door.”
My first reaction was to explain the actual difference which, of course, is the talent portion and the college scholarship focus. I found myself being way too nice and wishing soon after that in that moment, I had called him out on his offensive statement. It wasn't worth it, and that would just make him feel too important. And actually, my husband and I had a tandem "eye roll".
I started feeling the sting of the thing where men happily pit women against each other and we, for the most part, let them. It evoked a gut punch to the core of the “why” of my purpose and message, the damaged sisterhood that we are being called upon to heal and my emerging role in this fight with my writing.
And then it hit me. What a great way to prepare me for the onslaught of thoughtless comments and divisive insults that will surely come as I continue to share my journey and my truth.
Thank you, dorky guy, who I would never want to see in a swimsuit, let alone be the creepy guy next door.