I’M SITTING here waiting with several other judges for the first contestant to enter. We’re judging the mutya for Davao Oriental and there are eight finalists, we were told.

Outside we saw pretty girls, all looking like artistas, with hair done like artistas, being fixed up by alalays mostly gays. That’s how it is in these pageants. There’s a pretty girl surrounded by a coterie of gays who do the make-up, the wardrobe, the hairdo, and the training on how to walk and talk and dance and sing and emote. Thus, everyone of them look like artistas because that’s who they are made to emulate.

I have high regard for all the beautiful women who made it through pageants with heads solidly on their shoulders, determined to use their intelligence way beyond where their beauty can take them. My idea of the personification of God being unfair? Shamsey Supsup. She sure got both in loads and loads. I hold these women in high regard for they are aware that physical attributes are but the key to opportunities and that it is correct attitude, sharpened abilities, appropriate demeanor, regularly sharpened capabilities, and their grit that will bring them success. Moreso, they have this drive to do greater good because of the doors opened for them. Others are not as evolved and fall on the wayside seeing only their beauty as their way up the money ladder. Sleep and cuddle and look cute beneath crumpled sheets.

I’m not that fond of pageants, by the way. The years of blood-curling answers in the question and answer portions have traumatized me, I can’t help but shut my eyes in fearful anticipation of what will spill out of a contestant’s mouth once a profound question is asked.

Cringe. Cringe.

Sad to say, many are stuck in the idea that beauty is all it takes and so those who have a modicum of prettiness become so obsessed with their looks, they take endless selfies and they sashay and they pout their lips even in the most inappropriate time just because they want to be noticed and maybe be among the lucky discovered stars.

I’m sitting here, waiting for the first of eight contestants to enter so we can start our closed-door interview and I am ready to cry. The psychiatrists will surely diagnose this as post-traumatic disorder acquired through decades of hearing the most outrageous answers spewed out by puppets made to emulate but not induced to think. But definitely I am ready to cheer for that one or two or three girls who will know that beauty is but the crown, the bling-bling and that the substance of their being is in what resides in their soul.

Sad to say, with the numerous reality shows we are fed on television, the focus is now on how to play up to the camera, and being “the real me” means being tactless, rude or inconsiderate. While to stay on till the end, one has to be a caricature of one’s self.

I can just shudder as I visualize how the much younger generations, the ones whose idea of television shows are these reality shows, will turn out as youths and adults. The world can take only so many peacocks, you know.

I’m still sitting here waiting for the first contestant to walk in. It’s way past call time. They’re all and still being primped and made up, all eight of them.