Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Reality Show Do You Dream About?

Okay, I admit it. I watch a lot of reality TV. Not an insane amount, and not the crappy “Fear Factor” type shows, but I do have the dubious honor of having watched every season of Survivor (and I’m STILL loving it). I watch Project Runway religiously, I love American Idol, and I stuck with The Amazing Race through at least six seasons and The Apprentice for at least three. I also have had the occasional fling with cooking shows (I watched Finding the Next Iron Chef), hair cutting shows (Shear Genius, which sucked), and the Bachelorette (but never the Bachelor). Let’s face it—I’m a competitive girl, and reality TV puts me in my happy place.

One of the few advantages of being a light sleeper (the only other one I can think of being the ability to wake quickly in a fire) is that I remember my dreams. Most of them, at least, and some of them quite vividly. And it turns out I have a surprising number of dreams in which I am a contestant on a reality TV show.

So what reality TV show do I dream I’m on? Is it Project Runway, where my creative-but-unskilled tendencies are transformed into high-fashion? No. Is it Survivor, where I can be a somewhat-older-but-badass chick who outschemes them all? No. Is it The Amazing Race, where a cool head can sometimes overcome the brash speed of youth and athleticism? No.

The reality show I dream I’m on—the one reality show I ever dream I’m on—is America’s Next Top Model.

What the fuck? I will confess that Top Model is one of my absolute favorite TV shows. It never fails to make me happy (although the first few episodes of every season—when all the girls scream every time they see Tyra—are always annoying). It feeds my girly-girl needs, which generally are starved by my frugal lifestyle, married status, and inability to wear pretty shoes.

But why is Top Model the one show that keeps appearing in my dreams? I can’t think of anything I would be worse at. I mean, okay, my health isn’t good enough for me to be in any of the others, but I could at least pretend that if I had a strong back and normal blood sugar I could compete on some of them. But Top Model? First, it goes without saying that I don’t have the looks to be a model. I’m not tall enough, I am 14 sizes too big, and I’m am pretty ordinary-looking (though I do clean up nice!). But more importantly than that, I am the LEAST photogenic person I know. I’m not making this up—EVERY photo of me comes out ugly. The most comforting thing I can hear when people look at pictures of me is that this is NOT what I actually look like. (Note: blurry picture up top of my blog is one of the best ever taken of me, and the out-of-focus-ness of it is a big part of that.)

And it’s not like, in my Top Model dreams, I’m a different (a.k.a. more model-esque) person. I guess I’m a bit thinner (I would have to be, right?), but I still am over-model-weight and I struggle with my skin and hair and I still take TERRIBLE photos. Which means that these dreams are stressful, not blissful. All I can do each time is pray that there’s someone else on the show who’s worse than I am, so I can survive another week. (I did onetime dream I was on a hybrid Top Model/Survivor show, once, too. Though I don’t think I was losing any weight.)

Anyway, as a hippie-feminist Vassar girl, I think it is both amusing and ironic that when I go to sleep at night, I dream of being a contestant on America’s Next Top Model.