I came across a post on the Seattle P-I’s The Big Blog today that gave me a start, primarily because I’d read the story somewhere before. Apparently, a trio of carefree single girls had decided to take a trip across America with “no money, no plan and a name they knew would draw attention and controversy.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Hot and Retarded.
On August 28, Seattle’s own H & R member (Erica) will join her two friends, Annie and Nicole (hmmmm, where have I heard that before?) for a five-week journey from Los Angeles to the East Coast and back.
“I’ve got no kids, no relationship, no real career and I see all these people constantly say, ‘I’d wish I’d done that when I was younger,’” Erica explained in an interview with the P-I. “I never want to hear myself say that.”
Armed with little more than their cell phone cameras and a potential deal with Fox News, the trio seems open to anything – love, adventure, perhaps even jail time.
“We’ll definitely be getting into trouble along the road,” Erica told the P-I.
After digging around in the dusty recesses of my brain (and my files), I came across the original story that whispered to me when I first read about this madcap-single-gals-take-the-country-by-storm scenario. Wouldn’t you know it? It’s been done before. Like 80 years before.
Back in 1928, another titillating trio decided to set out on a cross-country journey with not much more than a bit of newspaper publicity and some chutzpah. Dubbed the Matrimonial Musketeers, the toothsome threesome was led by Helen Davis, a “pretty Washingtonian still on the sunny side of 40,” who decided to go out in search of decent single guys after she found the pickings in Washington, D.C., too slim. Helen didn’t have two single buddies to join her (most 32-year-olds were long married in that day and age), so she did the next best thing. She put an ad in the paper, garnering nearly 200 responses, out of which she chose two game dames: Stella and Vivian. The three met, discussed the trip, then set about taking care pre-travel necessities, i.e., holding press conferences and having their picture taken (did I mention you can watch a series of YouTube videos with the Hot and Retarded Erica?).
As with today’s trio, the 1928 group set off to much acclaim – their adventures were covered in New York, Iowa, Ohio, D.C., and elsewhere – and many proclamations. “En route, we are going to hold receptions and look over the candidates,” Helen told reporters of their forthcoming plans. “Wherever we stop, all lonely single people will be invited to attend the parties. They may make matches for themselves or the women may join our caravan. We expect to have several automobile loads of eligible women in our party before we reach California.”
Similarly, today’s travelers posted plans about their forthcoming adventure on their website: “There will also be various competitions that you can compete in to party with us as we make our way to your city, along with guest appearances from people we pick up in a city and leave in another, along the way.”
As luck would have it, though, Helen and her companions never made Los Angeles. In fact, they barely made it out of D.C. before Vivian decided to jump ship, leaving Helen and Stella to charm the nation’s bachelors. And that didn’t last too long. According to newspaper accounts, the pair only made it to Nashville, Tennessee before they got into a fight about money and parted ways. Unfortunately, they didn’t part friends; Stella contacted the police who put out a description of Helen and her “husband-hunting” game. No word was available as to whether Helen was eventually arrested or married or both (oh wait, is that the same?).
Will today’s trio of media-savvy minxes fare better than Helen and her posse? Hard to say, but I do find it fascinating how the game never changes. Just the players. And — to borrow a phrase — the level of retardation.
Editor’s note: For a roadtrip of a different kind, here’s a link to an essay I did for the Seattle Times a while back.