It’s amazing to live in a city where pretty much anything goes as long as you’re charitable and open to others and you don’t rain on anyone’s parade. This is also a city with a long history of non-monogamy--from Storyville (the first American district with legal prostitution), to the practice of placage, to thousands choosing New Orleans as their swinging vacation destination—especially during Mardi Gras, to people of all genders flashing their naughty bits for worthless plastic beads. Though no one has written about it, I do believe that New Orleans is the American urban center of non-monogamy. During carnival, erotic openness and a sense of togetherness come together in an amazingly beautiful way.
My lover Scott was in town for Krewe du Vieux, the basest and raunchiest of Mardi Gras parades. I costumed for the parade with a wig, false eyelashes, a tutu, colorful thigh high stockings, and the obligatory cowboy boots. Marc and Scott decided to wait for the Krewe du Vieux Ball to costume. While waiting for the parade to arrive on Royal Street in the French Quarter, we strolled down the middle of the street checking out the crowd and greeting friends. As we made our way, I took both of their hands and “paraded” our poly arrangement. Though some people stared and pointed, we chalked it up to the spectacle of my costume.
When the parade ended, we biked back to the house to really costume for the Ball. We went as the characters from Three’s Company. I, of course, was Jack Tripper. Though Marc and Scott both wanted to be Chrissy (gotta love that my boys wanted to be the ditsy, blonde sex object), Marc won out in the end, so Scott dressed as Janet. With large water balloon boobs, tight t-shirts, and showing a lot of leg, Marc and Scott proudly rode their bikes across town to the party in the Bywater. They drew a lot of attention, but it was all playful and appreciative. In what other city can men dress as sexy women, ride through the streets, and be fluffed by people of every gender, race, and age?
At the ball, people couldn’t keep their hands off Marc’s balloon breasts, and I, dressed as Jack Tripper, could pinch, and spank, and ogle “my ladies”. At one point, a friend decided to give us an incredibly skillful and sexy strip tease. We ran into a couple that we dated a few times, greeted them with hugs and suggestive kisses, and then moved on to meet and greet others.
Friday night we went to the Not So Super Hero Party. I was dressed as Slut Sequitur. My not so super Superpower was that I could turn any conversation into an embarrassingly perverted affair. At one point, I was dancing and a beautiful woman came up on me and we started moving together. Not long after, I found myself in a lip lock with her. After making out for a moment or two, she pulled away, gave me a flirty smile, and then disappeared into the crowd of undulating bodies.
At the Muses Parade, we ran into one of Marc’s lovers, and the following night, Marc had a “date” with someone with whom he hooks up when she’s in town.
Yesterday, Mardi Gras Day, we attended the greatest street party in the world. Everyone was costumed--some with elaborate, well-constructed and clever ensembles, others with as little as pasties and g-string or just body paint. It’s the day I most get my flirt on, and just love the erotic and playful energy that is the distinctive collective effervescence of Mardi Gras. From exchanges of spankings with strangers and good friends, to very public three-way kisses with Marc and a very cute boy we celebrated a collective exchange of erotic energy that is, in my opinion, the opposite of monogamy. Truly a group experience and not one ounce of possessiveness expressed by anyone about anything (from their mates to their cigarettes to their ass for spanking).
All day, I was thinking about what was happening in every other city in the U.S. While we were in the sunlit street partying with abandon, I reminded myself that pretty much everybody else in most of the world was having a ho-hum Tuesday like every other Tuesday of the year.
When I first moved to New Orleans, I immediately felt like it was home. My ancestral roots run deep into the past here, and I felt their presence right away. The more time I spend here, however, the more I realize that New Orleans is the perfect place for a polyqueer gal such as myself. Non-monogamy hangs in the heavy, humid air all year long. But during carnival, it gets stirred up and falls like mist to gently envelope our joyous bodies as we get our party on. I still can’t believe I get to live here, and though I thank my lucky stars on a daily basis, my gratitude is especially poignant during carnival. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!
Mardi Gras is pretty magical here in New Orleans. The traditions, the culture, the music, the food, and the drink are all uniquely New Orleans and they all get magnified about 1000 times on Mardi Gras Day.
I was feeling a bit awkward at the Krewe du Vieux Ball in my big fake books, and I must have looked a bit frightful as Three’s Company’s “Chrissy”. I knew that it was making Mimi very happy to have her lover in town, and to have the three of us go to the Ball together dressed in a “team” costume, so I put aside my shyness a bit, and get on with it.
Much of Mardi Gras, for me, is about getting good photographs, and this year was no different. At the parades, I tend to not be as social as Mimi as I am shooting on my own for much of the evening. On Mardi Gras day, I do love our traditions and routines (if any aspect of the chaos and debauchery Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be deemed “routine”), but it generally does not involve sexuality for me. I can’t wear an elaborate costume, as it would interfere with me camera a lighting gear, so I’m never showing much skin on Mardi Gras day, even when it’s a warm one like 2012 was.
I see so many gorgeous women on Mardi Gras day, dressed often in very sexy costumes, but it doesn’t really turn me on as I am focused more on getting “the shot” than in being flirtatious. I generally prefer flirtation in a one-on-one setting, rather than as part of a larger group (or crowd). I am finding that more and more, a large party or big crowd setting is not where I prefer to be. I loved the costumes of the Ball and the Not So Super Hero Party, but I’m finding that I am Not So Social these days. My fondest memories from this year’s Carnival were moment when I was talking to just one person, rather then being part of a group. I think this is another reason that non-monogamy and being “open” helps me get out of my comfort zone and develop my self.