Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Paraguayan Picnic Pageant Party

I was invited to a picnic to raise funds for the ninth grade class by my next door neighbor. Nati,14, told me about the event a week and a half in advance and really wanted to make sure I would come to the party. As I got more and more information about the party leading up to the day I was more confused about what kind of event it actually was. Nati referred to it as a picnic and a party but it was going to be held on a Sunday night, starting about 9 o’clock and I didn’t have to bring any food or drinks with me. Then she told me they were going to crown “Miss Spring 2009” and have a little pageant. You just never know what you are going to get with a Paraguayan party.
The night of the party my PC friend was visiting and so he came along as well. The party was outdoors in a dirt patio. The all important stereo blasting with reggatone music had been set up and many many young men stood around the yard drinking and staring at each other. Paraguayan parties always have an improporinate amount of men to women. I found myself at another dull, male intensive Paraguayan party. I get really tired of these events and now just like to make an appearance. The pageant soon started and the crowd was in a tizzy as the girls came out one by one in less and less clothing. The three contestants took turns parading around the dirt yard in different outfits to the hoots and hollers of the male audience. Over the loud speaker the girls were introduced as they paraded around in their little dresses, their age was announced along with their interests. Usually their interests included singing, dancing, and reggatone and romantic music. It would go something like this, “Here comes Carmen in her night time dress, she is 16 and she likes to dance and enjoys reggatone music”. And the crowd of googly eyed boys and old men alike would whistle and hoot until she disappeared back into the house and the next young, supple teenager appeared.
“Ok” I thought, “So, this is what a simple, campo pageant is like out in the middle-of-nowhere Paraguay. It’s a little perverted and backwards but I can accept it for what it is as simple entertainment.” Then the next round started. This was the bathing suit/beach wear round. However, the first contestant was not wearing a bathing suit but very sexy lingerie. The crowd was wild with excitement at seeing this young, beautiful girl prance around in sexy, lacy, barefooted, nothingness right before their eyes. My friend and I couldn’t believe our eyes either. “This is a lie, that is not a bathing suit, that is lingerie and this is supposed to be a conservative country!”
And it still got more interesting. Round three a new contestant decided she was left out and wanted to join the pageant. This being Paraguay and not wanting to offend her, there was no one to tell her no. Also, not having come prepared with any outfits and being belligerently drunk the young contestant decided to take off all her clothes and parade around the yard in front of her equally drunk audience in her thong and bra. She was announced also to be sporting her bathing suit. I could no longer hide the shock on my face. I couldn’t believe this was happening in my sleeping Paraguayan pueblo right before my eyes, even the drunken Sheriff was over in the corner yukking it up with my friend and the rest of his drunken comrades. I was looking around, with my jaw on the floor, trying to see if anyone else was as shocked and horrified as I was but everyone else was either expertly hiding their horror or was enjoying the show immensely. My friend announced that I had brought him to a strip show. He was equally astonished and said he had never seen anything like it in his 1 ½ years in Paraguay.
The moment had come nobody had been waiting for…the end of the pageant and the announcement of the winners. It was the most depressing awards ceremony I had ever witnessed. Either all the men just didn’t care who won or where so depressed they didn’t get to watch half naked adolescent girls prance around anymore but they showed no enthusiasm for the announcements of the winners. As each place was announced and each girl came out to receive her bouquet of flowers, the crowd gave a pathetic attempt at an applause. Considering the racket that just went on when the girls came out before, I felt embarrassed that no one was applauding them now. Obviously this meant something to these girls and it took some guts to get up there in front of those pigs. So I applauded and cheered as loud as I could as each girl came to accept her flowers. I was by far the loudest and longest clapper in the crowd.
Drunken-underwear girl took 1st runner up despite only have one outfit and even came out to accept her flowers in her underwear, the crowd approved of this decision. The winner was sexy, lacy, lingerie girl. She had a crown unceremoniously placed on her head, the men soon lost interest when they realized she was no longer in lingerie and immediately pumped up the reggatone on the stereo and stood around, stared at each other and got more unnecessarily drunk. The pageant had ended. It was a Paraguayan night to remember.


  1. So you're gonna introduce me to the black bikini girl if I come visit right?

  2. I also thought the sheriff of your town was going to fight me. What a night.