Laissez le bon temps rouler


Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! For those of us who 1) aren’t Catholic, and 2) do not live anywhere near a city where Mardi Gras is truly celebrated, it probably doesn’t mean much. But my absolute favorite thing about being an American is that we are free to pick and choose the best of everyone else’s cultures and make them our own. And so I say, laissez le bon temps rouler!

Anyway, thinking of Mardi Gras today reminded me of a funny story I thought I’d share. A few (okay, a lot of) years ago when my husband and I were newlyweds one of his buddies forwarded him a rather scandalous picture of a girl celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans. (Use your imagination. It wasn’t X-rated but it did push the limits of an “R” rating.) The email included a note that read: “Is this your wife?”

The girl looked EXACTLY like me. EXACTLY. I mean, exactly, right down to the highlights in her hair. My husband, knowing that I had made two trips to Mardi Gras in New Orleans during college, assumed the worst. He forwarded the picture to me with a note that said, “What exactly did you do at Mardi Gras?”

My heart stopped — okay, maybe not literally, but it sure felt like it did — when I got his email. I felt so embarrassed and busted, and I truly didn’t recall doing anything like that … but it had been Mardi Gras … and I do love me some hurricanes (the drinks, not the storms). I stared at the picture long at hard, trying to remember the incident and that’s when I noticed a detail that allowed me to relax and laugh.

The girl in the picture was wearing white jeans with black thong panties. Aside from the fact that I have NEVER owned white jeans (nothing against them, they just make my legs look huge) and that I would never wear white anything to a messy street festival (ahem, hurricanes are RED) like Mardi Gras, I was raised in the south, people. Every southern matriarch in my long family line would roll over in her grave if she thought her offspring had worn black panties with white pants. I mean, a southern girl might accidentally stumble and end up with visible panty lines, but we would certainly never aim to have them.

(And, yes, all those southern matriarchs would roll over in their graves at the thought of what that girl was doing in the picture, too.)

I told my husband as much and, honestly, he didn’t appreciate the proof I’d just provided him.

“White jeans with a black thong,” I repeated. “There is no way that’s me. Ask my sister.”

So he did. And she backed me up.

“White jeans with a black thong? No way. Rebekah might have done that, but she definitely wouldn’t have worn that.”

Her reinforcement seemed to be enough for him and we have laughed about “the Mardi Gras picture” ever since.

But this does make me think about all the young girls (and boys) who are at Mardi Gras today in this, the age of camera phones. Back when I went to NOLA for Fat Tuesday posting photographic proof online required that someone buy a roll a film, take the pictures, have them developed, scan them in and upload them. Now it’s point, click, Facebook. Not that anyone who is on Bourbon Street today  is reading a blog called Operation Marriage but still … maybe those girls who’ve made poor fashion and behavioral choices should consider that someday their future spouse might get forwarded a picture of them … and it really will be them. And they’ll have some ‘splaining to do. Yikes!