After explaining the rules (no full frontal, but anything else is up to the participants) and passing out the ear plugs to the front rows in anticipation of much excited screaming, the hosts proceeded to invite the participants to the stage, where the aforementioned lady awaited with the blower. It became quickly obvious that the participants were not pre-screened neither by age nor by physical shape, but rather by their sense of humor and strict dedication to having fun. Come to think of it, even though the event has no direct relation to sci-fi or fantasy, it was highly appropriate that it took place at DragonCon, where people gather for the weekend to put aside their differences and enjoy the out-of-the-ordinary entertainment they can’t get elsewhere.
The appreciative screaming by the ladies was indeed deafening (I was not quick enough to grab the earplugs, and boy did I regret it), and was dispensed in relatively equal amounts to bodybuilders, skinny geeks and respectable-looking seniors. The men did vary their performances to keep them interesting in spite of the repetitive nature of the event. Most of them were more funny than either sexy or revealing (although a couple of performers bared enough to justify the adults-only admission). And truth be told, my favorite of them all was a shirtless bodybuilding performance by one of the hosts, who was not subjected to the blower treatment at all.
I noticed quite a few men in the audience. Most were there to accompany their wives or support their performing buddies. Some, such as a young gentleman I met while waiting in line, attended out of pure curiosity, which as good a reason as any.
Before we knew it, the allotted hour went by, and the blower put away, but the full experience was not yet over.
Part Two. Role Reversal.
Upon exiting the room, the audience members were greeted, loudly and enthusiastically, but the performers, who were lined up a couple of rows deep, along one of the hallway walls. And now I understood why so many of the ladies in the audience were so attractively dressed. While the main event was about men putting on a show for the overwhelmingly female audience, the women were now giving the men something to admire as well. As with the performance, sounds of appreciations were dispensed generously to all. High- and low-fives were given by the passing women to their admirers. It was essentially a recreation of an old “woman walking by a construction crew,” done in a manner at once over the top and entirely safe, with not a tinge of disrespect.
And thus the full performance was concluded, with Marriott Carpet pattern beer cozies handed out to the attendees as thanks for participation. However, for those still paying attention after all the excitement, at about 2 AM in the morning, there was something else to observe.
Part Three. Coming Home.
As I was walking through the outer hallway to get to one of the Hyatt Regency famous “go down to go up” escalators, I noticed a group of women congregating along one of the walls. I recognized some of them from the audience,so I became curious why they were lingering.
The women were there to pick up their husbands.
This final touch, while unscripted, could not have been more perfect.
We live in times when certain political and cultural forces work tirelessly to re-define the roles of men and women in society. Having essentially won the fight for women’s rights and equality, they are attempting to destroy or at least confuse the most intimate, ingrained component of the male/female relationship: rules of courtship and sexual attraction. While making any kind of social statement had to be the furthest thing from the event organizers and participants, nevertheless it brings home some important and timeless truths,
Generally speaking, men like to strut their stuff, to both admire and be admired by the opposite sex.
Generally speaking, so do women.
But when all is said and done, nothing beats coming home to a partner who loves all of you, body and soul.
And, to quote an old credit card ad, having a partner who supports you occasionally doing something outlandish, and waits for you on the other end with a hug and a smile:
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