THE BACCHANAL

I didn’t really want to go, but was so starved for fun that I agreed.

Someone said that off-campus parties were much more interesting than the dull frat and dorm varieties.  After sampling both, I reasoned that anything was better than what I had witnessed, so when my bff and partner-in-crime Sara suggested that we attend a rugby party, I threw on my party clothes and met her on the quad.

I didn’t know anything about the game, other than it was played by jocks.  I had a rather low opinion of sporty types then; the athletes in my high school were more prone to bullying than to winning, usually targeting as victim the artsy geek set with whom I ran.   At most, I expected a few loudmouths and a keg.  What I got was a lesson in the dangers of presumption.

We made our way to a rundown Victorian house on Fell Street.  The music and the crowd was staggering.  I couldn’t believe so many people were crammed into one space.  We squeezed past the mob clustered at the front door and threaded through the heat and noise to the back of the house.  There was hardly room to breathe.  We stopped in the kitchen, near said keg, and spied the only space free of human occupancy:  the greasy stove.

Ever the practical Virgo, Sara swept away the dirty pans, covered the burners with paper plates and parked herself on one, inviting me to join her.  Not only did our makeshift perch offer easy access to beer refills, but it afforded us a lofty view of the proceedings, which were becoming crazier by the minute.

More than a few drunken fellows threatened us with a hotseat and tried to switch on the knobs.  We discovered high heels made an excellent deterrent when our warnings weren’t sharp enough.  After fending off another such attack, Sara’s attention was suddenly caught by the whiff of a pungent odor. 

“Do you smell that?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow.  I turned around in alarm, fully expecting to find the pilot light extinguished and a cloud of gas at my back.  “Girl, it smells like SEX in here!”

I laughed, relieved and wondered if her imagination had run wild.  Or I least I did until the Elephant Train waddled through the kitchen.

“Hah, there’s your explanation,” I said, nodding to the line of naked men.  A dozen of them were bent over, holding onto each other’s wands, snaking their way through the crowd.  This clearly was a departure from the homophobic behavior I had usually associated with sportsmen. 

Sara shook her head.  “I said sex, not butt crack!” she shouted, the words nearly lost in the din.  The kitchen swelled with more people, eager to gawk at and tease the nude oddities.  A few beers were hurled at them, along with friendly insults as to their rookie status.   These were team players apparently, participating in some strange rite of passage.  I felt that strange prickly feeling along my spine, the one that warns me of danger and I wished I was elsewhere.

I plastered on a smile, but inside I began to question what I was viewing.  Why didn’t I find it funny?  Was I just a closet conservative?

The sound of singing ended my reverie.  Loud voices.  Mens’ voices singing an off-key version of Alouette, the French nursery song.  We peeked around the corner and saw a choir of men singing to a girl who was hoisted onto the shoulders of a particularly brawny player. 

Alouette, gentille Alouette
Alouette, je te plumerai
Do we love her saggy tits?
Yes, we love her saggy tits!
Cardboard box?
Cardboard box!
O-o-o-oh…

We laughed.  That girl must have been hammered, or a hard-core rugby groupie, to voluntarily endure the unflattering attention paid her.  We snickered some more, safe on our stove aerie, until we saw the girl summarily dumped from his shoulders and replaced by another Alouette girl plucked unwillingly from the crowd.

After a few choruses, she, too, was replaced by another. And another.  And another.  A loud voice from the kitchen alerted the singers to our presence.  “Hey, there’s a couple back here on the stove!”

Sara and I looked at each other in alarm.  Neither of us desired the dubious honor so we ditched our seats and gave our would-be captors the slip, making for the door by way of a side room.  As we neared the exit, Sara stopped short and tapped me on the shoulder.

“I told you it smelled like sex in here,” she said triumphantly, nodding toward a small knot of people.  They stood in a circle,  casually drinking beer and staring at the naked couples fornicating on the worn hardwood floor.  “The nose knows.”

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2 Responses to “THE BACCHANAL”

  1. sister sara Says:

    Who says you don’t learn anything at school?!? 🙂
    I love your use of the word, “wands.”
    And it just goes to show ya, you have to “go with your gut” when it comes to survival! Hahahaha!

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