Apparently, not many women want to put themselves out in a pinup contest. I had imagined at least five girls disappointed by missing the chance to sign up on account of the “limit ten”. One girl was signed up when short chats with each host group convinced Shane and I, reluctantly, to put my name on the list and to learn by submersion. An hour and a half later, I am contestant number five out of six awaiting to answer the host’s questions: tell us about yourself, and what is the perfect Valentines Day? Looking out at the crowded bar from the small stage flew butterflies about my gut, especially when upon stating my bit, a gruff looking man scowled from the crowd. “Speak into the microphone!” I froze a bit and smiled bigger, a trick learnt from five years of customer service at In-N-Out, and I decided not to hog the stage by repeating anything. I resolved to do better next time and let this show stand as a learning experience. Contestant number six states her bit, and the three judges dismiss us. I entered the crowd and envelope my baby out of the arms of a kind stranger with whom we share a table. Snugling baby close I think the contest over for me, a disappointing yet sobering notion that I did not have my game on. Baby tears off my pinned number five card and I cheer myself that it was a good experience, to be better prepare next time. I am the third and last contestant called to go back on stage for finals. Excitement and delight, I hurriedly replace the heart shaped number five pin in time for a photo snap. Last to answer the question, which animal would I adopt from the SPCA, I give an authentic response and await the rounds of crowd roar as each of our numbers are tested. I’m so nervous through all this that much of the time on stage, with the exception of my turn at crowd roar when I look around and wave, I am staring at the girl next to me. My number declared the winner, but I am so engulfed with the girl to my left that I somehow experience her disappointment and my own surprised delight simultaneously. Jim Carrey’s The Grinch comes to mind, when he realizes he has won the Jubilation, which indicates there are losers. Sinking heart, not pleasure is my reaction to this very real fact. She was well deserved to win and wanting to validate this darling beauty in the wake of let-down, I follow her off stage and learn more about who she is. A triple threat, she does hair and makeup and works in costumes. I get her number and the reality of both possible outcomes to a contest remains.