Friday, August 13, 2010

Crushed Dreams of Flouncy Pastel Southernness

I had a wonderful memory spark today thanks to Melodie, bloggeress of Pink Vintage Cupcake. Her Thursday post, Dream Job, was sweetly filled with her girldhood dreams of what she would do when she grew up. One of her dreams was to be an Azalea Trail Maid.

This sparked my own memory of growing up in Lower Alabama (LA) and wanting to be one of Dothan's Azalea Dogwood Trail maidens, done up in flouncy, pastel colored antebellum gowns. Oh how I wanted to be a part of that so badly!

(Photo by Denise Oliver of the Daily Kos. Weirdly, there are no Google pics of Dothan's Azalea Dogwood maidens, just the Mobile Azalea Trail Maidens.)

What I didn't know was that not just anyone can be one of Dothan's trail maidens. According to the Azalea Dogwood registration, these girls participate in a *chokes* pageant! I had no idea! I always thought I could just sign up, get a dress and stand on a street corner of the Azalea Dogwood trail with my parasol and wave at the cars driving by. Now that I've done some digging, I know that I would never have made it as one of Dothan's Azalea Dogwood Trail Maidens.

According to the registration form, to be qualified as a trail maiden one must be a girl who lives in Houston County and goes to school in the City of Dothan or Houston County is eligible. I went to school at Enterprise High School in Coffee County. Dang it. My former dream just got a small crack in it.

She must carry a "C" or above scholastic average and be of good moral character. I have good moral character, but my grades in high school were abysmal! I was a horrible student. I was so bored in high school and I was really, really bad at math.

Contestants must not be married or pregnant and have never been married nor had a marriage annulled nor given birth to a child. Oh my. I didn't realize that this needed to be stated. Then again, this is Alabama...

Also a specific dress is required, which makes sense since this is the Azalea Dogwood Trail Maiden Pageant! Not any old pageant dress will do, Miss Alabama and your strange troupe of Little Miss, Little Miss Teen, Miss Teen, and Miss Little Teen Miss Teen Little companions.

(Why yes, that is a baby. I have no idea what her talent was.)

Requirements, also from the registration form: **DRESS: ANTEBELLUM GOWN - HOOP, AND A PARASOL (required) Judging will be based on poise, appearance, and authenticity.

I would so not have made it on poise as my body continues to think that we are not on earth but on a planet closer to the sun and gravity often pulls me down (I'm extremely clumsy). I'm pretty certain that my authenticity wouldn't be the authenticity that the pageant officials require. One thing I learned growing up in Enterprise is that being your authentic self means to throw on an even thicker and super fake Alabama accent, tell people, "Bless your heart!" and then gossip about them when they walk away. Real authenticity. Of course not everybody acted this way, just the ones who participated in pageants. Hrmm...interesting!

What a bizarre post. Maybe there is a part of me that really did want to be in pageants; but the Janeane Garofalo in me held me back and would have never allowed me and my Payless Shoe Store version Doc Martens to go to the registration table and sign up.


  1. Hahaha!

    Hey thanks for the comment on my blog, love yours too!

    While I can't say I wanted a flounce dress, all I wanted was a horse when I was a kid.

    Boy, those witches at the little horse camp I went to sure had some deep, psychological issues lol... I imagine they are all hanging out at the corner bar this very day, trying hard to get someone to buy them a beer heh heh...

  2. Awesome! I have this image of burly ranch girls with not so sexy throaty voices begging for 2 dollar beers.

    And those pageant girls of my past....I know where they all are and they're still in Enterprise trying to relive the glory days. I am quite happy that I have moved out and on!

  3. Ooh, I sort of want to wear one of those flouncy gowns still. But what exactly is a "Trail Maiden". Do they wear those flouncy gowns in the heat to attract people to the trail? Because I've seen similar ploys outside of Little Caesars with poor unfortunates dressed up as slices of pizza trying to attract passing motorists into the shop. I'd say you dodged a bullet.

    And I love this picture of Janeane Garafalo juxtaposed with the array of pageant beauties. I think it's clear who the real beauty is.

  4. Oh my I laughed my butt off when I read your comment. Yes, Trail Maidens are basically a Disney-fied version of Viviene Leigh ala Gone with the Wind version of what real Southern Belles are; and yes, they stand in the street and wave and smile and look pretty in the heat to basically add flair to the "trail" the drivers follow to view the homes.

    I love Janeane. I love that she knows who she is and she really couldn't give a flying shit what you think of her. Although I'd love to see her in her Mystery Men make-up and hair and in a flouncy dress, just to see the shock on the old GRITS faces (Girls Raised In The South)!

  5. I so wanted to be a Dogwood Trail Maid but would have settled for being an Azaela Trail Maid. Though I must admit that the part about serving as an Ambassador of sorts would have been secondarily incidental; sort of something that had to be done in order to get to stand, flounce and mince around all dolled to the nines as a 'Disneyfied' Southern Belle, just feeling, looking and being pretty in a poofy, frilly pastel gown. My older sister was an Azaela Trail Maid and I would often try on her dress, twirl around girlishly, dreaming about being one also when I came of her age...but such was never to was not long before I realized how cruel and unfair life can be...having my Trailmaid hopes and dreams thrashed, trashed and dashed to oblivion...when my parents sat me down and said: "Son, boys can't be Trailmaids."

  6. My Lovely Anonymous, I wish you could have worn an Azaela Trail Maid dress, the hat and carried that horrible lace parasol. I do.

    I work along side a group of really amazing students who have taught me so much about what can be done. Some of the young men would put on that Azaela Trail Maid dress giving flounce and sass better than any of the girls on the Dothan Azaela Maid trail. In fact one of my co-workers can clutch his pearls better than any woman I know. (I'm actually making him a pearl necklace, something big and beautiful to go with his big and beautiful personality.) I can't imagine telling any of the kids I work with, young men and women, that they can't wear something because it's traditionally masculine or feminine. Another co-worker can rock a necktie better than any man I know, including my husband whom I personally pick his wardrobe (he went from all white button ups to the most colorful wardrobe around; he's actually known for his fabulous ties and suits!)

    So I hope, with all my heart, that if you still wish to wear an Azaela Trail Maid dress that you find some place you can do that with people who will ooh and aah over you. If you do ever get that chance, please let me know so I can meet you and ooh and aah over you too! *BIG HUGS*