Miss Universe: a formal complaint

Hawkins Dress
Jennifer Hawkins and Erin McNaught look good today. And I don’t mean in the bodacious-Miss-Universe sense, I mean they’ve gotten a whole bunch of good PR by agreeing to go to a couple of schoolboys’ formals. Daniel Dilbey is taking Hawkins to his up in Bathurst, and Trinity Grammar’s Jordan Avramides is taking McNaught to his at the Shangri-La – but only because Hawkins had filming commitments. Sure, their friends might think they’re legends right now, and be high-fiving them on a gamble that paid off. But I don’t.

This has disaster written all over it. Highly likely, these guys’ bravado will collapse in a smoking ruin when these far older, far cooler, intimidatingly attractive women rock up to their formal, forcing them to endure a couple of hours of stammering hopelessness before gratefully escaping at the earliest polite opportunity.

Or, since these guys had the hide to see if Miss Universe wanted to spend an evening in their company, they may well be unbearably cocky, to the point of unpleasantness. I remember Year 12 guys like that – life has a funny way of taking the wind out of their sails by the time they hit 20, and no-one thinks they’re cool anymore. Really, which adult wants to spend an evening with the Trinity Grammar Steve Stifler?

Jordan Avramides’ behaviour hasnt’t exactly impressed one woman – the Tele’s dating ethics commentator, Amy Dale. She’s concerned for the real victim in this – the girl Avramides dumped to take McNaught. He tried to justify this by saying she hadn’t bought a dress yet, but Dale isn’t buying that:

When Jordan justifies his choice by saying his one-time date hadn’t even purchased a dress yet, it shows how much the young Lothario has to learn.

No girl goes out once, finds a dress and buys it. It takes months of flicking through dress racks.

In a sick way, it’s part of the fun.

She could have friends going to the formal, which means locker-room talk is of little else.

I, like many girls, have done the nerve-wracking task of asking a guy to my formal, only to be told “I’d rather not”. Teenage boys can be cruel.

And I don’t mean to sound old-fashioned but when you ask for a date, it’s not an invitation until someone “hotter” pops up.

Hell hath no fury like a Tele commentator empathizing with a woman scorned.

Well, I reckon you’re well out of it, anonymous dumped-for-Erin-McNaught girl. You’d be better off being courted by someone who doesn’t genuinely back himself with a supermodel, I reckon.

Sure, it’s a nice joke, and it gets them good press coverage, but I reckon this is ultimately a lose-lose for Hawkins and McNaught. They’ll have a boring night at best, and at worst something awful will happen. They’ll be surrounded by drunk teenagers, and there’s a genuine risk one of them will go home with a second corsage of spew.

And worst of all, what if one of the guys drunkenly tried to put a move on them? Can you imagine the embarrassment?

Plus, what about everyone else there? Dale is concerned for the other girls that won’t look as good in the photos, but what about the guys? I’d have stammered like a typewriter if one of them had so much as glanced at me – right when I was trying to look my coolest. It was hard enough without having to be constantly terrified of making a fool of yourself in front of Jennifer Hawkins.

To be honest, I also object to this idea because I reckon there’s a serious double standard in operation here. As the Radar blogger, I of course am inundated with many thousands of invitations to formals from schoolgirls who wish to be entertained by my urbane witticisms for an evening, but I turn them all down. Because it’d make me look really creepy – a bit like this guy.

Okay, so that isn’t strictly true. But I would refuse on principle, if anyone had ever actually asked. Whereas if it’s guys asking older women, that seems harmlessly cute. Well, that’s just sexism and ageism rolled into one hideous corsage of discrimination.

Plus, why is it only supermodels who get these invitations? Why is no-one asking interesting conversationalists? It’s almost like teenage boys are shallow or something.

Maybe I’m biased by retrospective fury with myself for foolishly asking someone I liked to my Year 12 formal instead of Elle Macpherson, who would have left me a quivering mess. Or my dream date of that era, Lynda Day from Press Gang. Sure, I was a geeky kid. Come to think of it, I was a quivering mess anyway.

But I can’t help but think that formals are supposed to be about teenagers being awkward with one another, not with supermodels. It’s a painful rite of passage to cap off the painful rite of passage that is the HSC. Adding Miss Universe into the equation adds up to an awful night for anyone – and especially the Miss Universe.

Dominic Knight



Photo: Danielle Smith

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