austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

That two could be the answer

I'd mentioned how much the Michigan Pinball Expo had the feel of a convention. It had that for more than just that it was a big gathering of people with a shared, narrowly-popular interest. It also had that because there was a weird moment of overlap with another group.

A little after lunch --- we'd eaten with MWS at the student union's food court, which would be open for the lunch hours and not after --- I noticed a couple women dressed, well, like they were ready for their prom sometime between 1958 and 1962. One delighted me --- and my parents, when I e-mailed them a picture --- by looking strikingly like my aunt from Rhode Island. There were a bunch, though, walking around the pinball machines and sometimes playing them the way people who've heard of but not seen pinball machines did. And people hovered around taking photographs because who wouldn't? Especially if you had someone dressed in a roughly 1960 vintage outfit playing a pinball machine of ... well, 1970s, but still close enough to look about right. Who could resist?

This particular collision between two groups was deliberately arranged; it was the first Pinball Pin-Up Competition and while I had seen postcards about that at the signup table I had thought it was just a chance for the expo to put together its own little gender fail to go up with, say, Whoa Nellie pinball tables. It's ... well, not quite so bad as that.

Particularly, while the contest was a change for a dozen-plus women to dress in vintage outfits and be gawked at, it was also a chance for everyone to go up on stage and introduce their pin-up characters. And they had biographies, to, what their characters did. It put the event conceptually closer to fursuit contests to us. It also helped blunt the sexism that several of the participants were dressed more for glamor than for sexiness, and that they weren't skinny model types. They seemed to be women who like to affect a particular style. I'm still wary of the Pinball Pin-Up idea, but I'm less wary than I was before I saw any of the participants.

Trivia: The first Roman Catholic parish in Rhode Island was organized in 1828, in Newport. The first Catholic church was built in 1829, in Pawtucket. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

Currently Reading: User Unfriendly: Consumer Struggles with Personal Technologies, from Clocks and Sewing Machines to Cars and Computers, Joseph J Corn.

Tags: pinball

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