There was no Bert Parks crooning “There She Is” from the sound system (in his place was Barbara Streisand, aka Bill Farrell “singing” People), nor was there an elaborate runway for the beauty queens to sashay down, but there certainly was plenty of pomp, circumstance and a whole lot of fun at The Faregrounds Restaurant last Monday night for the Eleventh Annual Ms. Mantucket Pageant. Hosted each year by the Nantucket Rotary Club, the sell-out event raises money for its local scholarship fund by providing local “gentlemen” the opportunity to shed their manly personas and bring the house down with their best beauty queen presentations.
Although a little rough around the edges (some sporting facial hair, chest hair and a few wardrobe malfunctions!) these guys were all incredibly good sports. Judged in the categories of “inner beauty, flamboyance and sense of humor” they were all winners in my mind. But, alas, there can only be one “queen” and this year’s crown and title were awarded to Nate Connor, Miss Kathleen’s Beauty Bar.
There is no shortage of outrageous and creative behavior on Nantucket, but it’s particularly fun when the men lead the charge. Young and old “dudes” have been known to don their best turkey costumes for the plunge on Thanksgiving, sport their silliest patriotic hats on July 4th and bring out their favorite yellow pants and sweaters during the Daffodil Festival. Nantucket men are confident enough to proudly sport their Nantucket red pants (sometimes with whales on them!) and sensitive enough to invest themselves wholeheartedly in a good island cause.
For generations, the men of Nantucket have set an example to their fellow men of doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of the island. It’s particularly heartwarming and reassuring to see today’s modern Nantucket men stepping out of their comfort zones to benefit the island’s women, children and non-profit organizations. This June, teams of men will take to the Nantucket streets in women’s shoes to strut their stuff in the “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event to benefit A Safe Place. Another group of local men have founded a group called Man Up to raise awareness and seek solutions for domestic violence on the island. Others mentor and coach island youth, sing in their church choirs and work tirelessly on clean teams to keep our island pristine; all working to the same end – to make Nantucket better.
To all Nantucket men over the ages who have done the exceptional, the extraordinary and even the outrageous to raise awareness and resources we applaud you. To those seeking ways to join their fellow menfolk in making a difference…and having a whole lot of fun in the meantime…there are a myriad of ways you can get involved this season. Join a local board, make a donation or go a little crazy and throw on some high heels to go the distance.