It was about 6.05pm when I got to the George. I was meant to be there at 6. Be grand, my friend reassured me, they’ll be on queer time. I gave him a dirty look. I really like being on time. There was a run through, about when to go on stage, what to do on stage, the rounds, and all that jazz. I still wasn’t very sure what was happening. I kept my mouth shut.
Finally we pulled the running order out of a hat. I was second. Poor Kilkenny for getting first. So off I went around Dublin town, got lost, got some sushi, got some fancy beer. Life was good and I wasn’t thinking too much about the competition that lay ahead. This was for the best.
It was in the half hour before the competition started that we all really got acquainted. I’m not really one for making friends with girls that easily. It didn’t matter. The Mses were super cool. Kilkenny/Niamh had even written for Gaelick the week before! The ladies of VaVaVoom TV did a quick interview with each of us, I blathered for the first time in the night, and we were ready to roll.
The first round was a simple walk down the stairs, give a wave to the audience while Charmin Electrik and Phil T. Gorgeous gave a little synopsis of facts we had emailed them the week before.
Things I learned during Round 1: I am apparently incapable of being in front of people without giving frat boy thumbs up. Luckily, the other girls took it with the same sense of humour so I didn’t seem like that much of a freak.
The second round was a quick interview with each girl about themselves. There was lots of heartfelt shout outs to girlfriends and family members. There was Ann Marie with her GAA cardboard cut out upping the profile of Louth. It was sweet, there were laughs. Good round.
Things I learned during Round 2: I am much better at speaking at length than in any way concisely. And it may not be possible for me to speak at all without mentioning either bisexuality, dropping out of college, or both. My mom would be so proud.
We changed into evening wear round three. I was wearing orange, making me the brightest person ever. I stand by my choice. In the interval, we all conferred on what questions would come up. I was relieved to find out that everyone had submitted something as vague as I had. Yay!
Things I learned during Round 3: I’m not sure whether it is wise to get progressively louder when asked one’s opinion on abortion law is a good idea in a large public space. Still did it.
Finally we were asked back on stage to talk about our charities and why we felt we should win. I didn’t hear much of what the other contestants said from backstage. I need to watch back the recording to get the full effect but I was blown away by what the girls told me afterwards.
So why go on about it? Because, gay ladies of Ireland, in 2013, it could be you! Next year’s competition will be held in Kerry, following Caitriona McCaughley’s glorious win, so it’ll be proper Rose of Tralee style. Ms Gay Ireland was one of the best things I have done with my life so far – and I really want everyone to give it a go. You’ll raise money, raise awareness, meet super cool people, and have a whole new set of pick up lines to hit on girls with.
And that, my friends, is a total win.