Gentlemen Start Your Engines: PALS Manly Miss America turns beauty pageants upside down with macho men competing as ladies to benefit Pets Are Loving Support
By Mike Fleming
Gay Atlanta loves its drag. Glamazons, camp queens and gender benders all find their niche, but once a year, masculine-identifying men have their go in a good time for a good cause.
In its riotously popular fourth year, a charitable event flips everything you thought you knew about pageants. Let’s just say that male buns and guns got heads turning in a different way, and you will never be able to unsee it.
With the loving support of Pets Are Loving Support, macho guys for one night trade in their muscle tees for halter tops and put down their free weights for their favorite shade of lipstick to raise money for the locally beloved PALS, which helps critically ill people keep and care for their pets.
Put another way: Hot abs. Biceps. Pecs and glutes. The hot bodies of Atlanta gay jocks will be on full display in skimpy swimsuits on Saturday at Jungle. In drag. Cue the hilarity of PALS annual Manly Miss America pageant.
We break down the event with the five things you need to know as you get your singles ready to go toward their fundraising coffers.
- States of Confusion
Like its namesake Miss America, each “gal” represents a state in evening gown and swimsuit. Each also serves his take on a costume for the state he represents, and money is raised online and on stage to determine the winner.
During the swimsuit portion, buckets are placed on stage to help drive more donations for your contestant of choice. If it looks like a contestant has not managed to raise much money before the pageant begins, it does not mean they are disqualified. In fact, the 2014 winner, PALS own David Lile, went into the pageant without a substantial amount of prior donations. That changed when the competition started.
2. Big Bucks
Manly Miss America has raised tens of thousands of dollars in its first three years. Much of that total is raised from the stage during the pageant.
3. Worthy Cause
Started in 1990 by two veterinarians in Atlanta, PALS was originally designed to help people with AIDS with pet food, supplies and vet care. Since then, PALS extended its base to also help the disabled and the elderly take care of their pets.
Today, they provide assistance to over 400 pets a month, providing free food as well as basic veterinarian care like heartworm and flea preventatives.
4. Tickets & Donations
Advance tickets are $15 at palsatlanta.org. Tickets at the door are $20, and all proceeds, including all tips to the contestants, benefit Pets Are Loving Support.
5. When & Where
Manly men in less than manly outfits hit the stage with their drag hosts on Saturday, Nov. 12, 6 p.m., at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Visit palsatlanta.org.