Although many believe the “Bathing Beauties” competitions at Coney Island during the early 1900s were the forerunners of the Miss America pageant, they were actually part of a scientific study of human failure.
In this test scenario, the objective was to determine how long it took before the average person screwed everything up and mayhem ensued. As you can see, Subject #7 (fourth from the right) failed to properly grasp both the directions and the leg of the person behind her, thusly destroying the otherwise lovely symmetry of this choreographed spectacle. Instead, she grasped her own leg, and judging by the blissful expression on her face, she found such a grasping to be rather satisfying.
In a show of at least minimal hope for mankind, the two contestants in front of The Idiot tried to set things right by both of them grasping the same leg and trying to reestablish the beauty of the moment. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and many of the audience members demanded a ticket refund, even though admission to the event had been free and an array of complimentary cocktails had been served. (Side note: The Bookend Girls, with their distracting black stockings, were part of another experiment concerning possible ethnic profiling on the part of the judges, but we’ll explore more of that at a later time.)
Bonus-point opportunity for the especially astute and clever: See if you can identify the ancestors of Joan Jett, Olga Korbut, Dinah Manoff, Laraine Newman and Sarah Hyland in this photo. You get even more points if you actually know who these five people are.
Categories: Past Imperfect