Welcome to the Weekly Guest Spotlight
Did I ever mention the time I felt another girl up? I didn’t?
Well, we’re all friends here. Allow me to set the stage…
New Orleans, early February. The height of Mardi Gras. Me, a just-turned twenty-four-year-old from the small town of Fairburn, Georgia.
I was a last-minute tagalong with a co-worker who had met a group of people in an online chat-room. One of the primary members of the chat-room was a gal named Carly. Carly lived in a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in New Orleans and had invited a select few to come and stay with her during Mardi Gras, my co-worker included.
Not wanting to meet a group of strangers by herself, my co-worker asked me to go with her. To this day, I don’t know what possessed me to say yes. Mardi Gras to me was a hot-bed of sin and partying. At that point in my rather sheltered life, “partying” meant sharing an entire pitcher of frozen margaritas at the local Mexican joint with friends.
Yet I found myself packing my suitcase for four days of frivolity with my co-worker and the Select Few. We took my friend’s car and, six hours later, arrived at Carly’s apartment. Though my social anxiety was at its height, in we went. I vaguely remember making my grand entrance by tripping over the threshold, but that was promptly overshadowed by the realization of just how many people there were in that little apartment.
All eyes turned to us. I began counting. By the time I got to ten, I gave up. I realized that this had all the makings of one of those “orgy” things I had read about, and began to wonder how pissed off my co-worker would be if I grabbed her car keys and headed back home.
Then one of the guys in the group approached and introduced himself. My brain grew a little fuzzy when I realized how attractive he was, but I somehow stammered out a reply. I found out he was Canadian and had also come at the last minute with his cousin. He helped me set up a pillow and blanket on the floor right beside his, gentleman that he was.
If you’re ever wondering, you can fit exactly six adults on the dining room floor of your basic one-bedroom apartment.
Just as it’s nearing my normal bedtime, everyone prepares to head downtown to Bourbon Street. I gamely offer to be the DD, not considering that I will be responsible for driving an unfamiliar vehicle through a foreign city, guided by a plastered hostess with less sense of where we are than I have. But everyone’s thrilled with my offer and we head off in Carly’s pickup truck.
Bourbon Street is…well, if you haven’t experienced Mardi Gras before, let me just tell you to wear shoes you don’t ever desire to wear again. In fact, buy and wear a different pair every single night. You will thank me for this.
Anyhow, we all held hands to avoid getting mauled by the masses. I was pleasantly surprised when Canadian guy offered to steer me through the crowd (did I mention he was hot?). We made steady progress, so when we came to a sudden stop in the middle of Bourbon Street, I wondered why.
I soon found out. Having indulged in several yards filled with famous New Orleans Hurricanes, our hometown hostess was about to try and earn some “special beads” by performing a Monica Lewinsky stunt featuring a cigar and her pants around her ankles.
In the middle of the street.
Cameras flashed. People cheered. And my Catholic upbringing reared its ugly head.
“Carly, you can’t do this,” I said, forgetting about my crowd anxiety and elbowing my way up to her.
“I gotta have those beads!” she drunkenly declared, contorting her body in a way that told me she really was going through with this. She shoved me away when I tried to stop her.
“No. There must be another way to get the beads,” I said. “We can buy them.”
“Sweetie,” said one of the equally drunken guys standing around her holding a camera, “you’re new here aren’t you? You don’t earn your beads here on Bourbon Street with money.
Realization dawned. Negotiation ensued. No, I wouldn’t flash my boobs (didn’t they know it was 40-freaking-degrees outside and I hadn’t had so much as one frozen margarita to curb my inhibitions?). No, Carly wouldn’t be doing the Monica Lewinsky. But Carly had to have those damn beads.
In the end, the bead-boys settled for me posing with my hands on Carly’s breasts in a pose that I will simply have to pray won’t ever hit the internet. But she got the beads…and I got a mask, which I wore every other day I was at Mardi Gras as I drank Hurricanes like lemonade.
Oh…and that Canadian guy? Yeah. I married him.
Until the next time…I’ll be looking for next week’s guest!