If you’re too naïve— you won’t be ready for many of life’s realities. It’s always smart to stay flexible—just in case life turns “upside-down”
and throws the impossible—right in your face.
For a few years in the mid- eighties, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia. I moved there on a whim--completely
unaware that Atlanta was now the most-popular “hot” spot for singles of all ages, all sexes, and---everything “in between.”
once lived in New Jersey and commuted, daily, to New York City-- I thought of myself as “street wise.” Shortly after settling into Atlanta’s Social Scene, I quickly-learned otherwise.
Believe me when I say—finding fulltime employment in “hot-lanta” wasn’t easy for a single woman in her late thirties. I accepted temporary jobs until finally agreeing to a part-time, on-air
Fund-Raiser Position with Georgia Public Television.
It wasn’t long before I received an invitation to judge the first “Miss Scarlett” Beauty
Pageant. Because Atlanta was the Birth Place of Margaret Mitchell-- the author of GONE WITH THE WIND-- Atlanta remembered the famous writer and her best-selling book—every year-- with elaborate events.
Unlike most beauty pageants, the Miss Scarlett Contestants would not participate in interviews, swimsuits, or talent competitions. The contestants (of which there were 25) would be judged on poise, beauty,
elegance-- and most-original-- Southern Belle Gown. As judges, the six of us were told to look for a woman who most-closely resembled Vivian Leigh--the actress who portrayed Scarlett O’Hara in the movie version of GONE WITH THE WIND. Not only was
Atlanta known as the home of the book’s author but--years earlier--on December 15, 1939--- Atlanta hosted the World Premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND. In fact, History books claim Atlanta as holding the record for the most-extravagant
Movie Premiere in the history of movies.
The night of the Miss Scarlett Pageant, the Fox Theatre was over-flowing with attendees. Tickets to this first-ever event
had sold out months earlier. Excitement was everywhere.
The orchestra played the original music score from “GONE WITH THE WIND” as the curtains
opened on a stage full of lovely young ladies wearing elaborate Southern Belle Gowns. One by one, each contestant modeled her gown as previews from the famous movie played on a large screen behind them.
At last, after every contestant had modeled, the Master of Ceremonies declared a short intermission before announcing the winner. Those of us at the judges table hurried to confirm our decision. It seemed--- all six of us
agreed on the winner.
The houselights dimmed and everyone returned to their seats. AT LAST--- it was time to announce GONE WITH THE WIND’S NEWEST---“MISS
When the announcement was made, the Winner immediately raised both gloved-hands to her mouth and began blowing kisses--first to the judges and
then --to the audience. She performed a deep and graceful curtsy before rising and twirling, several times—full circles—as she traveled to the microphone. Somewhat surprised, the master of ceremonies stepped back to give the winner a chance
to say an unexpected word or two.
AND THEN--the new Miss Scarlett did--- the unexpected:
For one second--Miss Scarlett was standing there-- the picture of refinement and elegance, and the next second she was ripping- off her Southern Belle Gown to expose her tattooed, hairy, and muscular chest! Flaunting her tight men’s
jockey-thong ---the brand-new-look-alike Beauty “Queen”---then- grabbed her long, curly wig---and threw it far into the audience- while yelling:
THIS WAS REALLY FUN! YES, I’M QUEER AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT---QUITE FRANKLY, MY DEAR--- I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!”
terms, the results of that pageant were totally unexpected. Months later, the Miss Scarlett Pageant continued to be the hottest topic in Atlanta. As we all know, some performances aren’t worth repeating so---that was Atlanta’s first and last Miss
PS: As one journalist so-dramatically stated: “That Pageant was truly “Gone with the Wind.”