How I Lost the Miss Congeniality Contest, Part II

| Aug 30, 2010
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Linda JensenPrincess Promenade

Friday evening was the chance for the girls to strut their stuff. The Princess Promenade saw JoAnn introduce each one of us as Cliff, the resident admirer, escorted each in turn on a brief walk across the stage in front of the group in front of the group. JoAnn would read from a card that each had written about herself. A typical card might have read something like this: “Patty is from Manhattan. She has been dressing for 17 years and this is her 12th time at one of our events. Patty is divorced and has two dogs who she has named after our very own Morgan and Madame X.”

I wore a beautiful long back sequined gown that I had picked up at Macy’s in Syracuse a few weeks earlier with a view to wearing during the promenade.

I figured that if this was a sort of beauty contest I thought I should write my card that way. As I did my promenade across the stage JoAnn read “Linda hails from Ontario, Canada. This is her second time at one of our events. She is very interested in meeting everyone here and wants to work for world peace and to make the world safer for children.” I thought the last part would bring a taste of Miss America to the proceedings but again the audience gave little reaction.

The promenade showcased there was no shortage of very beautiful and very friendly ladies. I thought to myself, “Gee, I’m going to have trouble voting for myself for anything.” There were so many beautiful Krystal’s, Kendra’s and Stacie’s. I remember thinking to myself that parents had given the genuine women of our generation names such as Mary, Barbara and Linda. One advantage for the crossdresser was the ability to choose a more contemporary name.

After the promenade the party moved from the dining room to the bar. I detoured to my room to change in to something more casual and comfortable.  I chose yet another of my little black dresses.

During the day on Friday and in to the evening more ladies and some partners had arrived. I tried to meet all of them but in some cases it was tough to break in to on-going conversations between old friends and now I had the added distraction of Cliff’s playful attention.

I should have taken Cliff’s attention as positive encouragement and a sign that my campaign was doing well. After all he could probably have had his choice of a dozen of the girls and nowadays I would accept his advances in a heartbeat but that was twenty years ago. At the time I wasn’t willing to accept a man in my bed unless ‘he’ was another crossdresser.


Friday ended early, but sooner than was good for my beauty sleep Saturday morning came. I didn’t want to miss breakfast as it was the best chance to meet a new table of girls and also get the feelings of the local serving staff who were really starting to warm to their visitors and, according to Billy, were asking for extra shifts to be with us.

The rest of Saturday involved the performers among us getting ready for their performance in the climax of the weekend: a variety show Jo Ann called the Phantasia Phollies. Others of us splurged to get a makeover and/or our wigs perked up by Eric, the weekend’s resident beauty and hair specialist. Eric did a great job in bringing extra body to my 1980s style big hair.

“Vote for Linda?”

Quickly came the formal dinner. At the conclusion of the dinner JoAnn distributed the ballots for us to write in our choices for the Princess and her court. I can’t remember where most of my votes went but Diane got my choice for Princess and I voted for myself as Miss Congeniality. I was encouraged by overhearing a conversation at the next table. One girl asked the other ‘who’s Linda Jensen?” “She’s the one at the tag sale who gave Angel the dress.” They both then scribbled something on their ballot papers.

The ‘Phollies’

Before the results of the balloting were announced came the Phollies. Orchestrated by Morgan Stevens the Phollies presented a variety of talent ranging from one very bland lip sync performance where we still had to give the performer marks for getting herself up on stage to some very remarkable musical and comedic talent. As usual there were special performances by Hildy playing a strange Austrian musical instrument, Billy and a friend doing a ‘Hans and Franz’ routine complete with lots of references to us ‘girly men’ and some very good lip sync and comedy routines. The highlight of the show, as always, was Morgan herself doing the best Ann Margaret impression you can imagine.  Morgan could dance, gesture her arms and move her lips as well as Ann Margaret could do. Morgan’s hair and dresses matched the golden era of one of my favorite actresses.

And the Winner Is …

However, as much as I was enjoying the show, I was anxious to learn the results of the voting. It came soon enough. The Phollies ended with a flourish and JoAnn announced it was time to herald the Princess and her court. According to the Paradise in the Poconos tradition each winner would be called to the stage and given her sash, a bouquet of (plastic) flowers and the Princess would be given a tiara and a scepter as befitting her royal position.

First to be announced was Miss Ingénue. That wouldn’t be me. I wasn’t eligible. The winner was a tall leggy brunette who I had thought might win the Princess title.

Next came Miss Sophistication. My friend Diane won her second title in a row but not the one she was looking for. However she did not look disappointed.

My knees were shaking as I waited for JoAnn to announce the next winner, Miss Congeniality. As you know my name was not called. I was disappointed but my feelings were not hurt. It was not to be and the voting was all in fun. I’m sorry I cannot remember the name of the winner but as I look at her picture I remember she was friendly.

Jo Ann readied herself to announce the Princess of the Poconos. Preoccupied with consoling myself I was barely paying attention. However through the haze of disappointment I heard JoAnn announce that “this year we have our first Princess from Canada.”

“Hey,” I thought, “I’m the only girl here from Canada.”

“This is her second time at the Paradise in the Poconos and it is second time lucky for Linda Jensen.”

The room broke in to applause. Cliffy approached to take my arm and escort me to the stage. I was shocked and barely able to rise but I managed to get to my feet and to the stage without tripping. As the reality of the title sunk in I remember breaking in to a broad smile. I accepted congratulations from JoAnn and my “court’” Cliffy placed the sash over my shoulders and handed me the ornaments of my office.

For the official picture taking I was seated on a makeshift throne with JoAnn and the other winners around me.

Then, as soon as it happened it was over. Wisely they did not ask the Princess to make an acceptance speech.

Shortly most of us made our way to our rooms to change in to something more comfortable for the rest of the evening. I chose a mini skirt and sweater but kept on the sash as tradition demanded. I was happy to accept the congratulations from many including my friends Diane and Rachel. I told Diane I had voted for her. She said that then our votes canceled each other as she had picked me. (Diane guessed right and voted with the majority that she should be Miss Sophistication.)

I did not stay up late and was ready for the farewell breakfast the next morning. Many of the participants had packed away their femme gear and reverted to drab, ready for the drive home. However I wanted to stay in role as long as possible.

I also had a last minute idea to collect the names and mailing addresses of as many participants as I could. I was to copy the list and mail it to all so we could stay in touch in that pre-Internet, pre-Facebook, MySpace and Twitter age. I got about twenty addresses. I made a master list but I never got around to sending it around. To the best of my knowledge it sits somewhere in the back recesses of my storage locker.


The drive home was less eventful than the trip to the Poconos. I traveled almost to the border dressed en femme. I shopped in Syracuse, I dined and filled my car’s gas tank in Watertown but no one seemed to pay much attention. It was as if they did not know they were in the presence of “royalty.” Now thanks to Rachel’s reminder I’ve had a chance to recall a very pleasant part of Linda’s life. May you have similar warm memories.

The moral of the story is when one attends a CD weekend, be it a small intimate gathering such as Beauty at the Beach or Ontario’s Gal’s Spring Fling or be it a large affair such as Southern Comfort or Britain’s Sparkle, make the most of the weekend.  Try to meet many of the interesting people who make up our community. Make it a point to do some good for someone. You will grow as a result.

Photo: Princess Linda of the Pocono’s (seated); Jo Ann Roberts standing to the right. Can you help us identify the members of the “court” behind Linda?

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender History

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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