The funny thing about growing up in the '60s and '70s as a girly-boy in the Great Midwestern States of America, you develop a love-hate relationship with being picked first, and beauty contests.
On the one hand, you hate the whole idea of the two most popular boys - the two most handsome and gregarious and athletically gifted boys, real boy's boys - being singled out nearly every day to be team captains and then asked to choose, in turns, which other less handsome and less gregarious and less athletically gifted boys will be on their respective teams, until there are only a handful left and it's down to the dregs and you, being anything but a boy's boy, are invariably the second-to-last to be chosen. The penultimate girly-boy, that's you.
On the other hand, once a year you eagerly watch as some 50 bathing suit- and evening dress-clad girls who want to bring peace to the world with their ferocious smiles are winnowed down to one Miss America, who stands weeping in her high heels, your mother wincing in the next room at your intense interest in things so very unmanly.
So, more than 30 years later, it's hard not to take pleasure in being picked first and winning that beauty contest. But I worry about gloating.
I can't be sure that I'm being altogether logical here, being that I'm pleasingly drunk. But I guess you get the gist of what I'm saying.
The Swedish phrase for the day is min man fyller år idag, which means today is my husband's birthday. The sancerre was delightful.
- by Francis S.