So it turns out down here in Key West they go NUTS for Halloween. Not just ON Halloween, either, but starting last weekend they've been blocking off the main drag at night (Duvall Street) and all these people have just been standing in the middle of the street, partying all day and all night.
It's kind of weird.
I am not a party person and when I see someone wandering around with a beer in their hand, I get really nervous. Because what if they spill it on me? Then I would smell like beer.
This is why, I have to admit, I never went to frat parties in college. They were all way too crowded and there was a significant chance of something getting spilled on me.
The thing about Fantasyfest, though, is that clothing is optional. So most people don't worry about beer getting spilled on their clothes.
Because they AREN'T WEARING ANY CLOTHES.
Yes. In the middle of the street. Nude. In the buff. Naked. In the raw.
I am sorry to tell you this, but it's true. MOST people wear clothes, but quite a few opt for baring their butts, and a lot of the ladies? Well, they just go completely topless.
This makes Fantasyfest very popular with the guys. Apparently, if a man gives a lady a string of beads at Fantasyfest, she has to show him her breasts (if she's not topless already). Last night when I went out for dinner, this woman who was selling beads came up to my husband and was like, “Beads for boobs! No beads, no boobs!”
I had no idea what she was talking about, but about a second later, I saw these guys throw some beads at a bunch of women, and the women LIFTED THEIR SHIRTS UP.
I am not kidding.
Also, now I know why most of the locals leave town during Fantasyfest.
Needless to say, I grabbed my husband and dragged him away from the bead saleslady just as fast as I could. Because I consider my naked body a precious gift that only my husband and doctor get to see.
Well, OK, whatever, I am totally self-conscious about my cellulite.
But if you tell yourself anything often enough, you can start to believe it. Even my husband believes it now. He was all, “Sorry, her naked body is a precious gift that only her husband and doctor get to see,” to the very confused-looking bead saleslady.
It's not that I think people who DO get naked during Fantasyfest are slutty or awful. It's just that I'm from the Midwest. We don't DO naked in the Midwest. We don't really do it in New York, either. I mean, there's the odd naked protester, and of course the Dykes on Bikes who ride topless in the Gay Pride Parade every year.
But that's about it for the public nudity in New York.
There are strippers, of course, but that's different. They are being PAID to be naked.
It's the people who aren't getting paid for it but who want to be naked in public anyway that I don't understand. I am a firm believer there are some things that should remain a mystery. How you look naked is one of them. Only your doctor and romantic partner should know how you look naked. To everyone else, it should be a mystery.
Why? Think about it. How often have you found yourself looking at your boss or best friend's boyfriend and going, “Hmmm. I wonder what he looks like naked”? A lot, right?
If you actually SAW him naked, the whole thing would be ruined! You'd never get to ask yourself that question again! Because you'd already know the answer! Can you think of anything WORSE? The mystery would be ruined!
But this is not something that has apparently occurred to many of the attendees of Fantasyfest. Take Gail, for instance. Last night, after the Bead Incident, I was innocently eating a lobster sandwich at Alonzo's when a woman at the table next to us asked to borrow our bottle of ketchup. We handed it over, and she said, “Thanks. I'm Gail, by the way.”
“Hi, Gail,” I said. And that's when I noticed that Gail was wearing a pair of khaki shorts.
AND NOTHING ELSE.
Under ordinary circumstances, a half-naked lady asking to borrow our ketchup might have made my husband's night. But here's the thing about Gail:
SHE WAS MY MOM'S AGE. IT WAS LIKE SEEING MY MOM NAKED. MY MOM.
Actually, I saw another naked lady a little bit later in the evening who was my GRANDMA's age. NAKED. She was someone's NAKED GRANDMA.
It's not just me who finds this a bit…distracting. When I was getting my nails done today (because I bite them and if I don't get them manicured, I just bite them more) the guy next to me (it's Key West, guys get their nails done here) was complaining because he is a taxi driver and last night he was driving three older ladies from the airport to their hotel and they started to strip in THE BACK OF HIS CAB.
He had to say, “Keep it on till we get there, Golden Girls!”
Then the oldest lady introduced herself and said her name was Jan and that he should be extra careful lifting her bag out of the trunk because it was the one with all the hooch in it.
I'm just saying. This is where I live.
Anyway, apparently, by Halloween itself, everyone here is so exhausted from the hooch and the full frontal nudity, no one even goes trick-or-treating. As a first time home owner, I was going to buy a bag of candy in case some kids stopped by, but a neighbor told me not to bother: everyone with kids has left town, on account of the naked people. I was going to go out and buy a pumpkin and do the cute jack-o-lantern strings of lights thing. I even bought a costume (if you're good I'll post a picture later) to wear to the Halloween parade through town.
But now that I know men will be trying to give me beads to show my boobs–I am not being conceited by saying this. They will give beads to ANY woman to show her boobs. They even gave beads to a guy who was DRESSED like a woman to show his FAKE PLASTIC BOOBS—I have reservations about even going to the parade. And I'm afraid to go out of my house to buy the pumpkin and jack-o-lantern strings of lights.
If I DO go out, though, and anyone does try to give me beads, I intend to quote Madonna while she was in concert at Live Aid circa 1985 (after Playboy came out with the unauthorized pics of her naked with all the underarm hair, as if she were French or something). Remember that? The Live Aid audience was screaming “TAKE IT OFF!” and Madonna just snarled into the microphone, “I ain't taking **** off.”
I thought that was such a classy way of handling the situation.
There are two days of Fantasyfest left. People are already camping out in the street to reserve their seats for the giant Naked Parade Saturday night. My hairdresser is super excited because one of his clients invited him to a party on a balcony above the parade route. It turns out you really have to know people in this town to get the primo seats for the parade.
That is, of course, if you WANT to see a lot of naked grandmas.
The thing is, I am so ENVIOUS of my hairdresser. Because for some reason, I sort of DO want to see the Naked Grandmas. From the safe distance of a balcony, I mean.
Because even though MY naked body is a precious gift I give only to my husband…it's kind of hilarious to see someone else's, just the same.