I can't believe it myself. It's as bad as we all think. Inside the newly revamped sports bar downtown called The City, I'm waiting to audition alongside about 400 other idiots/idolaters for MTV's Real World 17-which, rumor has it, may be filmed in Portland. I've read all about this on websites: How reality TV wannabes will practice their "characters" before they audition, altering the way they dress and act to get on a show. Are people really this shallow? Yes.

I am "Too-Good-for-This Arty Chick from the Sticks."

I get to witness the dress rehearsal as it begins in City's cramped, dimly lit bar. It's barely noon, and everyone is drinking. A pack of "Asshole Frat Boys" wearing snug polo shirts with the collars turned up are making passes at "Young, Shy, Tight-Tee-Wearing Church Girl." The 17-year-old has brought her mom along-for legal reasons. "Dramatic Gay Guy" is sitting amid his overly glam female entourage, sipping on a rum and Diet Coke, mugging for invisible cameras. Lindsay Lohan's newest release is on the speakers while I trudge through my audition application, which forces me to answer questions my own mother would be afraid to ask me, like "___ _____ _____ ___ ________?"

I can't tell you what any of those questions are because the casting director made me sign a form saying I wouldn't. If I do, they'll sue my pants off (and then film it and play it on TRL).

After a vodka and Red Bull, four hours of waiting and hundreds of jokes at the expense of "Fake-Tan Cosmo-Swilling Blonde" at the next table, my number is called. I wish I were drunk, too.

Herded upstairs for a group interview, 10 of us go around in a circle stating our name, age and where we're from. Then come more questions, shit like "Have you ever __________ ? And "If you haven't, why ___?" Shocked, I say "Never." How insulting.

I can't help but liken this to a bad AA meeting. Everyone wanting to share sob stories and be applauded for it. I notice that the guy conducting the interview, a balding fortysomething, leather-wearing white dude sitting at the end of the table, is eyeing my tattoos and noting of them on the application. He asks us, "__ ____ ___ _______ ________?" "Stubborn," I reply. I wish I'd said "Vixen." The answers pouring outta these kids' mouths are so cliché I have to concentrate on "Weird Asian Kid" next to me to keep from laughing.

After the interviewer asks his final question-"What's the biggest _____ that people _____ of you?"-we are thanked for our time and given the ol' "Don't call us, we'll call you" line.

I head next door to Subway with my two new friends, "HIV-Positive Pedro Wannabe" and "Small-Town Party Girl." We exchange numbers and compliment one another's answers. Pedro says he thinks my "misunderstood bitch" answer was sexy. I ask them why the hell they'd want to be on the show. Pedro says he wants a soapbox for his cause-and he's serious about this-Dry Humping Saves Lives. Party Girl wants to be famous. Sure, but god, at what cost? I'd do Real World for a free place to live-but even my parents make better roommates.