"I advise you to leave before you get people pissed at you, because obviously, you can’t be serious in that outfit,” my friend said. At Eleganza tryouts (note: its a pun on elegant), I couldn’t really argue with those sentiments. I was wearing a floral print bathing suit, a different floral print Hawaiian shirt, a jacket fit for the Swiss army (and only the Swiss army) and knee-length black socks. The look on her face was telling me that I needed to step off. I was standing in line between three women on my right and four women on my left, all dressed to the nines. In its very name, this audition implies an elegance I am unable to bring to interpersonal interaction: as a result, I concentrated purely on observation.
As we slowly made our way through the line, each side of me was vibrating with the sound of women praticing their “walk” with Zoolanderesque precision. We contrasted with the normalcy of other students going through their midafternoon routine next to us at Leverett Dining Hall. “What the fuck?” a subtle bystander exclaimed. “Why have you taken over our fucking hallway?”
“We need someplace to manifest our elegence,” I retorted gamely, knowing full well that the sentiment became ridiculous in floral prints. Then, I went back to filling out the form, describing my previous modeling experience. I have seen “Lingerie Shows” on European network television. Surprisingly, some other contestants have had actual experience: the explanation for why prospective applicants can now include videos.
The women around me were an interesting breed. One of the most memorable was a sporting a jean jacket and, it seemed, not much underneath. The strange thing about all of the women is that 90% were almost too attractive—they didn’t seem to live in the same reality as me.
Most of us are distorted in a way to make us less attractive than is possible; these women are too attractive for their bodies—they’ve overgrown their potential and as such lose their human dimension that makes them understandable to mediocre pricks like myself.
Getting that image, it was truly strange to see them talking about that Spanish presentation they needed to take care of before tomorrow.
Further humanizing were the encouraging words of wisdom given by the crew in charge. The friend of mine who later encouraged me to go, had earlier encouraged everyone around. “No, really, your hair looks fine,” she chirped agreeably. “There’s nothing to worry about; it’s real laid-back.
"Whatever you do, don’t get nervous,” she continued. It was something I was surprised to hear, not understanding what exactly one would be nervous about.
Soon, however, another member of the BSA came out and laid down the key to the whole enterprise: “If you can dance,” he impressed upon the oddly cowering audience, “make sure to bring all the energy you’ve got.” And like that, I knew this wasn’t the place for mockery: these chicks were serious.