What makes a man a man?
I had intended to regale you with my experience in competing in a man-pageant.
Thankfully, there was no swimsuit portion of this competition.
The reason I was going to relate my pageant/contest experience is because this week’s cover story is about a similar concept, albeit with a greater purpose than crowning a new BMOC (if you don’t know what that means, I suggest you find an old Archie comic book).
The reason that I’m NOT going to tell you about that collegiate yarn from days of yore is because we encountered a hitch in the process of putting together this week’s cover story about the Mr. Myrtle Beach competition.
It seems the organizers and principals of the fourth annual Mr. Myrtle Beach Contest and Katie’s Project (a local non-profit that helps local high school students procure costly formalwear for proms and other social events, which the contest benefits), apparently didn’t want Surge doing a story on the event and its contestants unless they controlled the flow of information and how it was presented – and at one point the 12 contestants were instructed not to respond to our inquiries.
Well, I’m going to let you be the judge.
I enlisted the help of three of my correspondents, and each of us were tasked with getting in touch with three Mr. Myrtle Beach contestants, interviewing them and writing up mini-bios/profiles, and I prepared a questionnaire which I e-mailed to my profilees and correspondents.
I included a disclaimer that I knew some of the questions were over-the-top and they reserved the right to simply not answer questions that they didn’t feel like answering.
I also said, “We’re trying to dig a little deeper into the psyches of you guys, the contestants, and tell the Grand Strand your individual stories and have some fun, too.”
My three contestant profiles responded rather quickly, some choosing to plead the 5th a few times, but providing some entertaining and insightful answers as well.
But over the Labor Day weekend, the backtracking began as one of the contestants sent me an e-mail stating, “I was informed that the directors of Katie’s Project do not feel the questions you have posed in your e-mail are appropriate as the organization represents young students,” so I quickly came up with some additional questions for the contestants and instructed my colleagues to do the same.
Here is the gag-order-style message I found out about: “ Subject: Do Not Reply to Surge Emails. Hi, please do not answer the e-mail from Surge, I’m insulted by the questions as we represent young students. Thank you & I apologize that this reporting is so tacky.”
I don’t know for certain, but I’d be willing to bet that these were the questions that offended:
Q. | What makes you so effin’ special and why should you be crowned Mr. Myrtle Beach?
Q. | Everyone wants to know - briefs, boxers or commando?
Q. | When was the last time you got laid?
Q. | What makes a man a man, other than genitalia?
Q. | Katie’s Project has a direct relation to proms – how was your prom experience; rockin’, lame, stag or a tale of lost virginity?
The remaining and majority of questions were about style, sports, pop culture and civics
If our questions were too adult-oriented, what about hosting the competition in a nightclub that recently ran an ad campaign featuring a baby and the copy: “We prefer to leave the babysitting to other clubs…We are 21+ only”?
“In regard to the location of the event, that is a great question,” Sarah George, Project Coordinator for Katie’s Project, said in an e-mail. “We have fundraisers all the time that include alcohol and/or are held in nightclubs, as do most non-profits, again we try to set an example of responsible adult behavior. This event is open to all ages and both our staff and that of Revolutions is prepared to handle underage attendees. Just like at any restaurant that serves alcohol, families can patronize but not all will be served. In the case of Revolutions, they don’t typically allow minors to patronize, however this will be a private event that is heavily monitored and all minors will leave once the show is over prior to the club opening to the public.”
Ultimately, I could have killed the story, but decided to trudge forward and I have detailed all of this mainly to explain why some of the profiles/mini-bios of this year’s Mr. Myrtle Beach contestants are more complete than others – we attempted to give everyone a fair shake. For whatever reason – whether it be the organizers discouraging them from speaking with us – not all of the contestants responded to our multiple attempts – e-mail, phone calls, via social media - in time for our deadline.
Never the less, turn to page 12 to get all the info you need prior to Saturday’s contest, which is billing itself as a “true manly competition” featuring fashion modeling, talent portion, and a competitive Q-and-A (no tacky questions ‘lowed).
You may have noticed that our environmental/eco column Living Green did not appear in last week’s issue of Surge. It’s not going away (in fact the latest edition is online now) - rather it will be featured bi-weekly from now on, akin to most of our other locally-generated features.
Kent Kimes, Editor