Senior Editor Martin Chase returned this morning to the D.C. Bureau bullpen to regale us with tales of his Bachelor Party weekend in New Orleans. The outstanding pictures, which, a quick-witted journalist like myself noticed immediately, show absolutely no nightlife or scantily clad women.
A wary feeling of disappointment began bubbling within me.
I remembered my best friend's bachelor party: an evening at "Nigh Shift" in Baltimore, which you know is a good club because it's B.Y.O.B. We brought in handcarts of booze. I have few memories of actual women, just disembodied breasts floating in fuzzy blurs of motion and strobe lights, but I do remember waking up with my face in the strip club's toilet, lying on the floor in the Men's room stall. I remember being thankful that I was fully clothed and that I only had the acrid aftertaste of vomit in my mouth. I remember puking - a lot of puking - there seemed to be more puking than breasts. I remember the groom and I standing side by side in the "Night Shift" parking lot, violently hurling until I thought my intestines were sure to be spewed out at any moment. I remember that to cover the smell of vomit, stripper's perfume, cigarettes and beer, I rubbed myself thoroughly with a pine tree air freshener that I bought at a gas station. I remembered to remind myself "Never, ever, never have tacos before drinking a 30-pak of Bud again. Ever."
Once you've seen a Chimichanga exit on the rebound, your stomach has little inclination to hold down anything else.
I was soon to realize that Martin's tale would not be as colorfully the same.
This "Animal House-esque" band of "adventurers", this Bachelor Party troupe, looked exactly as one might think a group of middle-aged computer programmers, market editors and financial analysts would look like. I'll leave those details to your own imagination, since, horribly, no matter what fantastic herd of nerds you might concoct, you would not be far from the truth.
Weeks before the actual trip, the group had purchased the "Globe Trekker: New Orleans" DVD and watched it twice. They pulled out atlases and contacted the New Orleans tourist bureau and procured even more maps. Martin whipped out an exacting and detailed itinerary.
The mood of the trip was made ever more painfully clear when Martin chimed:
"I had two half cans of Heineken (in doing the math, that comes to one Heineken) and a Long Island Iced Tea - this was more than quadruple the amount of alcohol I had consumed my entire collegiate career…"
After this first night "binge", Martin was hampered by sleepiness and a slight headache - luckily, the two Advil he took had some caffeine, and that, combined with the half a can of Coke he used to wash them down, kept him going well into Day Two (or so he claimed).
Day One ended at slightly past 12:30 am when Martin and the groom, Robert Allen, a programmer for NIH, were forced to turn in due to fatigue and mild drunkenness, leaving the remainder of the entourage abandoned to the wilds of Bourbon Street.
"We're sleepy; we have jobs!" Martin and Robert protested to the indignation the rest of the group offered up.
The remainder of the weekend included highlights such as, seeing a re-enactment of the Defense of New Orleans; several cable car rides; a walk through the Garden District; a visit to a very old Synagogue; pictures from hotel balconies towards winding rivers; pictures of the hotel lobby; pictures of parking lot signs; pictures of the group standing next to fountains, and many more cups of alcohol were sipped at and eventually thrown away. The late nights screamed on into the wee hours of 12:00 am to 1:00 am in the morning - for men in their late 30s and early 40s, this appears to be the equivalent to an "all-nighter."
When asked about strippers, dancers, or "naked chicks," Martin dodged with replies about the fascinating history of New Orleans, and that if Robert's wife found out he visited one of those type of establishments, she would be very upset.
"I was so destroyed mentally and physically by the third day," said Aaron Spielman, a cavalier financial editor and known as the group's "Wild man". "We kept walking, and walking, and then we would sit and sip half a glass of wine in the Garden District or grab a latte at a cafe. Chuck was so tipsy and hyper, he almost fell off a cable car."
But, by far, the best part of the adventure was when the group made their way to "Voodoo Bar-B-Q" - in hindsight, a tourist-trap splurge that should have been avoided. With a considerable portion of the group being Jewish, more than half the entourage where force to eat baked potatoes and salads since they were surprised to learn that at "Voodoo Bar-B-Q", there were limited options for menu items that did not include pork.
Martin was astonished when he learned that only 6 of the 8 members of the cavorting "Bachelor Party" were straight - two were gay, (ironically Frat brothers) and were "associates (as Martin fumblingly put it); even going through a ceremony and everything." He added a lofty "I had no idea they were, ya know…like that…but they were actually pretty nice." Apparently, Grant, one of the two "associates", was particularly funny and witty, which Martin thought was a pretty outstanding attribute for "non-straight peoples."
This morning, Martin has a "hangover", jetlag and is sluggish and weaving. He consumed an insurmountable number of practically TWO WHOLE BEERS and that unforgettable LONG ISLAND ICED TEA in the whirlwind of debauchery lasting four days.
Martin proudly beamed, "We had the time of our lives," but added solemnly, "I still have no idea what need there was to stay up so late."