That Infamous New Orleans Romance Story

This was a post I made on the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist for New Orleans in 2009. I put it up as a joke (and as an excuse to finally type out the entire story). The responses I received from Craigslist readers were extremely mixed – roughly half were along the lines of “Holy shit! That is the funniest thing I’ve ever read on Craigslist! The next time you come to Bourbon Street, look me up and I’ll buy you a shot!”, while the other half were more like “You are a dirty, disgusting, and pathetic excuse for a human being. I hate you and everything you stand for, and I hope that plus-sized girl gave you herpes”. I was quite impressed with the backlash from some of these people; unfortunately, none of them were the manatee who made it all possible :(

I re-post the same ad whenever I go back to New Orleans, which usually gets the same mixed feedback. One day, I hope to eventually track her down… and probably give her a cheesecake, because I bet she really enjoys cheesecake.

SUBJ: To the morbidly obese manatee scavenging Bourbon Street at 4am…

In mid-September 2008, Hurricane Ike was ripping apart parts of Texas and my current residence of Houston. I evacuated to Covington, Louisiana on Thursday the 11th, and visited New Orleans with four coworkers on the 13th. This was my first stay in New Orleans, and it started as very pleasant and entertaining.

Shortly after arriving and taking a brief tour through the city in the daytime, the five of us checked into our two hotel rooms at Le Pavillon, a very nice hotel in the French Quarter. It was a great 4-star hotel, and very affordable on this weekend as no sane person would want to be in New Orleans as a major hurricane is tearing apart the U.S. coastline. We remarked at the spacious rooms and comfortable beds (two full-size beds per room), then discovered the rooftop hot tub and pool. We relaxed in the hot tub overlooking Downtown New Orleans, and took note that the rooftop is only closed from 11pm-5am — perhaps it could be utilized the next morning as a cure for our inevitable hangovers.

Once we showered and adequately prepared for a night on the town, we began our walk to Bourbon Street. Being a bunch of out-of-towners (I’m originally from Indiana; each of my four coworkers were from Canada, Norway, or Singapore), we only knew of festivities we’ve seen on the Travel Channel’s specials on the city. We dined at a nice upscale “down-Souf” restaurant and found the intersection of Bourbon and Canal. When we arrived, this part of town was overrun by homeless locals, but nobody seemed to mind. Everyone played their makeshift musical instruments — many just used empty upturned five-gallon buckets for drums — and danced in the streets. I even recall one particular handicapped gentleman with two 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor blissfully doing donuts in his electric wheelchair. Good times were had by all.

Seeing that this hurricane wouldn’t phase the local population, we made our way to the closest clubs to join in on the fun. Each of us stocked up on our drinks of choice — I was convinced to go with Stoli Blueberry/Red Bulls — and found ladies (or guy, for the one female coworker) with whom to dance. We knew we were only here for one night, so we limited our time at each place so we would have time to see as much as possible. We moved from bar to bar, club to club, soaking in as much as we could in one night. We even found New Orleans’ trashiest strip club, including multiple girls who were ‘au naturale’ — their rainforest of armpit hair was too much to ignore.

Around 3am, we were able to call it an amazing night. We danced with a number of girls at many different bars/clubs, saw a fair amount of naked female bodies, and even sang an incredible rendition of the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody”. I checked my wallet and determined I spent about $190 on liquor — quite a bit, but totally worth the incredible evening. I wasn’t done though. Three of us decided it was time to call it a night, but the Norwegian guy and I wanted to keep going — as soon as the rest of the group left, we looked at each other and announced, “STRIP CLUB!” This is where the night got really fuzzy, but I remember traveling up and down Bourbon in search of more naked women. After about 90 minutes of drinking and celebrating, the Stoli/Red Bulls started losing their effect and I began edging closer and closer to sobriety. We began to make our way back to the hotel, which was where you came in…

You were on Bourbon Street, getting your palm read by some weird guy who advertised he could tell you your future by staring at your hand. You were somewhere between 200 and 300 pounds (alcohol’s a bitch; I can’t remember much aside from the fact that you were shaped like a Thanksgiving turkey) and wore clothes which were approximately three sizes too small for your body. You were accompanied by two friends — one overweight girl who appeared anorexic standing next to you, and one guy with a major Jew-fro who carried one of those empty Miller Lite “Big-Ass Beer” bottles. I have no idea what possessed me to approach you (for now, I’ll blame the vodka which was in my stomach), but we saw each other and struck up a conversation around 4:40 in the morning on that fateful Saturday night/Sunday morning. My friend and I realized that although we had a place to stay, we had absolutely no idea how to get there. You mentioned you were a local and, after mentioning the hotel at which we were staying, you offered to escort us back to our room. Your friends tagged along and the journey moved away from Bourbon.

On the way, I recalled that we had access to our rooftop pool/hot tub which would be open by the time we got there. You (I’ll refer to you henceforth as “Gelatinous Blob”) mention that you’d like to check out the hot tub, and I quickly realize that all of that Stoli had made my standards slip all the way down to you. You’re wanting sex, and I’m willing to entertain this idea. Worst of all, you mentioned you had one drink all night. One. I was approaching two dozen and you were completely sober, which says quite a bit about your willingness to hook up with a complete stranger.

Upon arriving at the hotel, we go directly to the roof. Towels? Bathing suits? Nein. That wasn’t a concern for us at 5 in the morning after 8 hours of drinking. I clearly have no shame at this point, so I strip naked in front of you and your friends and hop in the hot tub. My friend and your two friends strike up a conversation near the pool, likely laughing at you and me. You take off your clothes and reveal more than I cared to see, but at this exact moment, I just wanted my penis played with and I was willing to overlook the fact that I’ve slept with multiple girls who weighed less than half of you. You find ways to keep your hands busy in the hot tub, then we migrate to the side of the pool to continue this monstrosity (keep in mind that your friends and my coworker are all watching this debacle only a few feet away). You mentioned the wooden boards on the ground were causing you discomfort, so we make our way down to my hotel room.

We collect our clothes (did we put them on? No, no time for that) and take the stairs down to the floor on which we stayed. I swipe my hotel card key in the door, realizing that I’m sharing the room with two other guys (one who is still on the rooftop, and the other which went back over two hours ago). After opening the door, I gently knock and call out his name. Nothing. I knock louder and yell your name again. Finally, my friend (for the rest of this, “Friend #1″) slowly lifts his head in confusion and stares at our naked bodies with the hallway light illuminating the horrific sight. You look at me, realizing the predicament, and firmly declare, “I don’t mind if he watches.” At this point, I realize you probably do this often, and then we both stumbled to the other bed.

You take care of me, I take care of you, we run the gauntlet of sexual positions. Many people question my ability to be able to perform in such a situation — a stomach full of liquor and going balls-deep in Moby Dick — but my penis is non-discriminatory. My other friend (“Friend #2″, as well as both of your friends) comes into the room and has a hearty laugh at the horror story unfolding in front of him. At this point, Friend #1 looks up to see what is going on (I later find out that when he looked at us, he thought I was participating in a threesome). You notice Friend #2, and we have this very brief conversation:

Gelatinous Blob (excitedly): “Does he … mmm … wanna join in?”
Me: No. No no no no no. NO!

Your friends leave, likely because this scene is too frightening even for them, and Friend #2 climbs into the same bed as Friend #1, and they both pull the sheets over their faces and try to go to sleep. We continue our late-night drunken mistake, which goes through the next morning. I distinctly remember seeing the sun rising while thinking of how much I’ll hate myself when I sober up. I eventually collapse and pass out, and you leave shortly thereafter, likely to beat the line for breakfast burritos at McDonald’s.

I never saw you again. You didn’t leave a number and I don’t believe I ever gave you mine. To be honest, I never even caught your name, as if it mattered. I’ve been the victim of ridicule and the punchline of many, many jokes from my friends and coworkers, and I don’t even know what you look like. I’ve held the nickname of “Captain Ahab, the Moby Dick slayer” without even knowing your name. I’m not looking for a serious relationship with you; in fact, I’d be tempted to run and hide if I ever saw you in person again. However, I’d like to 1) know your name, and 2) know your weight. If my friends are going to eternally insult me for my drunken mistake, I’d at least like their insults to be accurate. And hey — I’ll travel back to New Orleans in July — if I can allow myself to punish my body with another night of drinking until I can’t feel feelings, maybe I’ll even run into you with the street-side psychics and have a little (well, in your case, I guess it’d be a pretty damn big) rendezvous.

Posted in Barely Interesting Non-Fiction, Guests, Humor Essays

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