Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, Februany 21st (That was no typo. I’m gunning for a sponsorship- Subway, can you hear meee?). For the next week, the Boozin’ Blog will be counting down the days until the holiday of holidays, festival of drunks (and culture, if you’re looking for that sort of thing) with a few do’s and dont’s we’ve learned over the years.
OK. I’m becoming depressed. Everyone is flocking to NOLA and posting it on Facebook. I belong there, my friends are there, I’m pretty sure I still have a pair of pants there… and I’m stranded in LA. So in the spirit of negativity, let’s highlight a fairly pessimistic “don’t”:
DON’T TRUST THE LOCALS to not be prostitutes.
Three years ago, I was at my first Mardi Gras and holding up exceptionally well for my debut night in the Sin City of the South. After a hearty nightcap of Krystal Burger (DO: Visit the dinky, three-story location at Bourbon and Canal), I helped two of my lady friends to a cab and- surely with purpose and intent- walked in the direction directly opposite from my hotel.
Almost ten blocks later, I found myself at the Mississippi River. This was fortunate. It triggered a mechanism in my brain to go, “Hm. This is a massive body of water. You mightÂ have gotten turned around.”
As I began to walk the now fifteen blocks to my hotel, something hit me: perhaps it was the historic body of water I had just encountered; perhaps it was the combination of beer, liquor, and food coloring I had consumed for the previous twelve hours. Either way, I needed to pee, and it was what the kids like to call “an emergency”.
Flying as quickly as I could on the wings of my finnicky bladder, I was stopped short at a red light just as three girls in an SUV were about to turn onto Canal (a major road and the one on which my hotel was located).
“Hey, do you need a ride?” one of them asked, concerned. Was I really that visibly agitated? Was I doing my pee-pee dance?
Despite my lack of sobriety, I distinctly remember saying, “Really? Yeah, I actually could. I’m just, like, ten blocks down… You’re not gonna rape me or anything, are you?”
TheÂ reply was a confused look on each of their faces as the joke fell flat. “Why would we rape you?” This is important. I will refer back to it.
Deciding that they responded as normal people would respond to an immature sex joke, I hopped in and thanked them for their kindness.
For about thirty seconds- no more than one block of travel- we made small talk. “I’m from Maryland!”, “We’re from New Orleans!”; “I’m here for Mardi Gras!”, “No f**king duh!” etc.
And then the girl sitting in the back with me switched up the tone just a little bit when she nonchalantly asked, “So can I **** your **** for a hundred bucks?” (Sorry to censor, but even Don Julian has lines he doesn’t cross, words he doesn’t un-asterisk. Let’s just say it wasn’t the mostÂ premiumÂ service a prostitute offers, but it’s one of the old standards.) BLOWJOB. SHE WAS OFFERING ME A BLOWJOB.
Since I had already made up my mind that these girls were decent people, I decided to play along with the strangely sudden joke and say, “Lady, if I had the cash, that is exactlyÂ what I’d spend it on.”
No sooner had I joked than the girl in the front passenger seat- who I immedialy realized was a she-pimp- whipped around and said, so very seriously, “We can take you to an ATM.”
I quickly explained that my plan was to not purchase sex from anyone that evening, and that I would not be deviating from that plan, but that I still really appreciated the ride.
They appreciated my appreciation so much that they immediately stopped the car and dropped me off on the median of the six-lane Canal Street. To this day, I still wonder if they heard me say, “IT WAS NICE MEETING YOU ANYWAYS!” as they sped to the next John.
A part of me hopes, just for the sake of comedy, that they were so frustrated with me because I was the umpteenth stranger that had refused their services that night. Even better, perhaps they had just picked up a vague prostitute themselves: “You want meÂ to pay youÂ for a *******?! Oh, uh-uh! You got this twisted!”
Regardless, I would like now to refer back to their response to my joke before I got in the car. Let me make this clear:Â If you are a prostitute looking for the best way to segue into the whole “By the way, wanna pay me for sex?” portion of the conversation, a question like “Are you gona rape me?” is PERFECT. Had they responded, “We won’t be doing that, but relatedly, we will be asking that you purchase consensual sex from us,” I would have thanked them and been on my way.
Instead, I got a story. And that’s more valuable than any hundred-dollar *******.