By Simmer Donna
“Special” to The Dryersonian
The smell of water soaked cotton was already thick in the air as Alex Higgins took the stage in the final round of the first annual wet t-shirt contest at Lhasa Hotel, in Lhasa, Tibet.
Throbbing dance music filled his ears as a bikini-clad contest official approached him and started to moisten his clothes.
“Don’t hold back, give me everything you’ve got,” he screamed.
Two more officials appeared; this time with buckets, and let Higgins have everything they got.
The t-shirt clinging seductively to his chest, back and love handles, Higgins surrendered to the bass and shook everything that god, his mother, and a three cheeseburger a week diet gave him.
He danced all the way to second place.
Higgins, a graduate from the Ryerson School of Early Childhood Education in 1992 said after the awards ceremony that he never thought he would compete in a wet t-shirt contest, but he always dreamed.
“Sometimes, I used to lock the bathroom door, get into the shower in my clothes on, throw on some euro-house, and just go crazy,” Higgens said. “But I never thought I would ever compete.”
All of that changed when he booked his March break getaway to Tibet.
When he arrived for his five-day, all inclusive stay in Lhasa, he saw on the events board that there would be a wet t-shirt contest Thursday night.
“I nearly died when I saw it; I was eating some grapes, and I choked on one,” Higgins said.
“My entire life had been leading up to that moment, and I did go to Ryerson, so I guess you could say that Ryerson helped me reach this achievement.”
For the next four days, Higgins did nothing but practice, only coming out of his room for meals.
By Thursday, he was a lean, mean 247 lb wet t-shirt machine. It was clear even in the first round that of the four male contestants, Higgins was something special.
At least one other contestant, 47-year-old Daniel Rowley, claimed that the competition was unfair, and that he wouldn’t have even entered if he hadn’t been deep in the throes of a six day vodka binge.
“Seriously, what the fuck kind of guy enters a wet t-shirt contest anyway? I was shitfaced, that’s my excuse, what’s his?” Rowley said. “And by the way, what contest were the judges watching? My moves are totally hotter and more original than that Higgins asshole.”
In the final round, Higgins and Rowley squared off head to head. Rowley was almost disqualified when he threw up on the stage.
At the end of the round, Higgins looked to be victorious with a score of 87, easily beating Rowley’s 43. However, Higgins epic performance was not meant to be; his final round entry was disqualified for inappropriate showing of bodily hair — both north and south of the border.
However, back hair notwithstanding, the judges said that Higgins’s performance was one of the best they’d seen in years.
“We were really looking for who could best use his body, and really become one with the wet t-shirt,” said judge Elizabeth Farnsworth. “That’s what impressed us so much with Alex, he knew how to use his body — and he has a lot of body to use.”
Now that it’s all over, Higgins says he plans on retiring from competition, and taking up coaching.
“I can’t wait to get back to Oshawa, and tell my kindergarten students,” he said. “I might even try to start up a peewee championship for them back home.”
His career was short-lived, but the love of the sport will last a lifetime, Higgins says.
“If my bathroom door is locked and you can hear some (**********) playing, you know how it is.”