There are so many beautiful girls in Pointe-Noire already, that to pay 3,000 CFA (5 Euros or $6) to attend a beauty pageant seemed
something redundant, in a way.
Two of my beautiful decked-out friends and I headed for the place where the “Election de Miss Kouilou 2005” (the Kouilou is the southern
region of Congo where Pointe-Noire is) was to be held. We didn’t have to “head” very far since the place is about thirty steps from my house. But that’s about right for the scale of the city.
We bought one ticket on entering and the young man who was selling us the ticket kept harassing us with his sweet-talk. I don’t know how
sweet talk can be when it’s so insistent and close to your face, but it was fun, all the way to our seats. Guys here don’t take no for an answer and come up with all kinds of variations on cliche pick-up lines, which really makes you laugh a lot of times.
I was walking in the street the other day and a guy was crying out loud “Oh I need money! I need money! (pause. Looks at me, stares at me) if I had money, I would be able to marry a beautiful girl like YOU! I like you like bread Miss, I like you MORE than bread!”
I was trying to look all severe like “don’t mess with me, Mister!” but I just started laughing because his tone was so funny, and he got so sidetracked from his money talk. All the great soliloquists walking around this place.
Anyway. Miss Kouilou was fun. The photo below shows the three finalists.
The middle one in a moment of gathering her spirits, is Miss Kouilou, and the one in green is the runner-up an and the one in purple is the
We laughed most of the time. The audience was just ruthless. They were so rowdy! They made fun of this one’s walk because she was bent over
her long body and her arms swung limply. They made fun of this one because she totally mis-pronounced the name of the mayor of
Pointe-Noire. They made fun of another one because she answered the question “Why did you want to become Miss Kouilou?” by “Well like any child, or any girl, I always had a dream, and that dream was to grow up and be admired by everyone. And this is a step in that direction.”
They howled when the contestants came out in swim-suits and towering stiletto heels, they yelled out the wrong answer to the question about
naming a minister of the current government and tore the house down when the young lady repeated their misleading answer. They cheered
when one of them worked the crowd. They hollered when they knew someone, declared their love or asked them to pack their bags. It was
Interspersed with this already entertaining event (the emcee was a very short repetitive young man who had to stretch out his arm to hold
the mike up to the ladies) were “musical performances for your delectation and enjoyment”. Those were a lot of fun too, but it will
sound too mean if I say anything about them. Better left imagined. Although I doubt if some of the acts can be imagined.
In the end, a member of the jury was asked to come and announce Miss Kouilou, and did so, blah-blahing away, as is the custom here, saying
a lot of nothing. But she did say something that I thought summed up very well a lot of the situations in the country recently, this beauty
pageant included, both for its truth and its vagueness:
“We had to make do with what we had, so that’s how we ended up with what we’ve got.”