Twelve local men became women Saturday night for the first AWAG (Association of Women Achieving Goals) sponsored Dancing for Dollars to raise $2,000 for the Southeast Missouri Family Violence Council’s New Way Shelter.
The event was based on the premise of forcing men “to go through what we (women) have to go through to enjoy an evening out,” AWAG President Lori Littrell said.
Each “lady” was individually introduced and paraded from a back room to the front of the building where judges were waiting to inspect the contestants to make sure they obeyed the rules, which included wearing slips and high heels.
The crowd cheered and whistled as each participant, operating under stage names like Make-Out Mary and Jazzy Jasmine, made their way to the front, flaunting themselves to those in attendance.
Money was raised through the sale of admission tickets, with 135 out of an available 200 being sold, and by people placing money in each contestants’ purse.
In order to dance with a lady, you had to place some money in the purses. The contestant with the most money at the end of the night was crowned “Lady of the Night.”
Complete Music from St. Louis provided the songs for the dance, with everything from love songs to line dancing.
At the beginning of the event, Littrell encouraged attendees to dance with the participants all night long.
“We want them to be as miserable as possible,” Littrell said.
The music only stopped a few times throughout the evening to hand out attendance prizes and for a question and answer session, which was eerily reminiscent of a “Jerry Springer” episode, with plenty of name-calling and back-biting.
Names like “trailer-trash” were tossed at one contestant who responded to the question, “What do you do when a guy asks you back to his place on the second date?”
In the end, Jazzy Jasmine was named “Lady of the Night,” receiving a sash, tiara and a dozen roses. The runner-up, who was quite upset at coming in second place, was Delta Burke look-alike Roamin’ Ramona. Jasmine raised $215 during the evening while Ramona brought in $147.
“Our participants couldn’t have been any better,” Littrell said. “It was just a really good time.”
Littrell was pleased with the money the event brought in.
“It was pretty much right around what we hoped for,” Littrell said.
New Way Shelter Executive Director Pam Dudley said the money will be used to help fund the shelter’s children’s program, which may lose state funding because of financial constraints.
“It’s kind of a support service (for the children),” Dudley said.
The program helps children of abused women through a support group, summer camp and by assisting the children in enrolling for school.
Littrell said it seemed like everyone, both attendees and participants, enjoyed the evening. She added some contestants have already volunteered for the next Dancing for Dollars and Littrell said she, at AWAG’s next meeting, will discuss the possibility of having the event again, possibly in the fall.