I'm in a reminiscing mood tonight, so indulge me.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
In New Orleans, Labor Day Weekend is the gayest of gay old times, Southern Decadence
aka "Gay Mardi Gras." This is not a time for the faint of heart or the sober.
Approaching Southern Decadence 1998, my good friend Monica became a bit concerned about my drinking and wrung from me a promise no gay person should make on the eve of the party of the year, that I wouldn't drink. I think we see where this is going. Now, usually, I'm HUGE on keeping my word and have what can only be called an overdeveloped sense of honor. But sometimes, life throws you a curve.
Theresa was a living Goddess and the bartender at my old hangout, The Checkmate. Imagine the Italian version of Lucy Lawless, identical but with a deeper tan and brown eyes. Everybody had a crush on Theresa, myself included. I think my jaw bounced off the floor a gazillion times more or less when I first saw her. It didn't help that she dressed in outfits that hugged every curve and revealed every inch of her long, long, long, long legs. Lots of friends kept telling me that she was into me, but there was no way I was believing that despite the fact that she'd slipped me her number the first night we met.
Micah is the queen of all drag queens and is too damned pretty for anyone's own good. Despite my long-standing rule that tall, thin, leggy blondes who don't sleep with me are just bitches, Micah and I were really good friends and woke up hungover together more times than I care to count. There just aren't words to do Micah justice, but wild, crazy and dramatic are a start.
BACK TO THE STORY
So Monica had made me promise not to drink but Micah was bringing me to MRB's for Decadence in the most alcohol-soaked city on earth. Saturday morning, I took a stool at the bar while Micah flitted around putting in appearances with the growing crowd of scantily clad gay boys. Micah would disappear quite a bit that day. I would discover later that she'd spent at least part of the day flat on her back on the pool table, the filthy whore. (Trust me. With Micah and I, "filthy whore" was a term of endearment.)
Being true to my word, I ordered a Diet Coke and regaled the bartender with my commitment to Decadence sobriety. Moments later, the bartender stands in front of me pouring a few shots of some sort of clear liqueur. I didn't think anything about it. It wouldn't be unusual for a bartender in a gay men's bar to make the lesbian wait while he hooked up the shirtless hottie on the other side of the bar. I probably would have been better off if that was the case. Instead, he handed me a shot and toasted to "breaking my promise." "Okay," I thought. "One shot and I'm on to Diet Coke." Shortly thereafter, the bartender brought me what he insisted was a new "yellow coke" but tasted a lot like beer. I didn't buy a single drink after that but I ended up really damned drunk. Sorry, Monica.
By the end of the night, I was truly wasted in a way only someone with Native American genes can get, my desire for alcohol whetted quite nicely by the appearance of the Hebrew Goddess aka the great unrequited love of my life (long story) showing up to get change for the bar where she worked. Anyway, Micah, our friend Glenn and I stumbled over to the bus stop, drunk and happy and gay. (Never drink and drive!) Anyway, there at the bus stop was the cutest African-American lesbian named Roz. (Sorry, MacKenzie. You're much cuter but you don't precisely fit the definition of lesbian.)
Roz, also a few sheets to the wind, informs us that she's lost her wife...as in she misplaced her. As Roz is describing her gorgeous, tall, very Swedish wife, I realize that I've met Roz before. Years earlier, while I was drunkenly celebrating Gay Pride on the balcony of one of New Orleans' hottest gay nightclubs and trying to get some girl named Hope to stop saying my nickname 50 bilion times in every sentence, I met Roz and her future wife, Caroline. This just happened to be the night they met. Roz was hard to forget. Caroline was impossible to forget.
While we're all trying to figure out how you lose a 6' tall Swedish woman and I'm reminiscing with Roz, Micah decides to invite her to the Checkmate for some post-Decadence drinking. Since she was going that way anyway, Roz actually agreed, completely giving up on the search for her wife. She had to be really damned drunk.
Soon enough, we're all crowded around a booth in the Checkmate, which gives all new meaning to "neighborhood bar," and surrounded by University of New Orleans students out for a Saturday Night. Somehow, we'd picked up super-gay drama queen Kent along the way. Theresa calls out from the bar, asking us if we're ready for that shot we ordered that we never actually ordered. (Yours truly would later find out that Theresa had promised the crew free drinks any time they brought me in. Yep, I'd been pimped.)
While pouring our Purple Nipples, Theresa spilled one in my lap. In my best drunken impersonation of Kent, I slur, "Damn! You got me all wet in public. My thighs are all moist." Yeah, it was bad. Or good. Who knows? All I know is Theresa kissed me on the cheek before heading back behind the bar. Woo flurking hoo!
Later, Theresa came around to chat, leaning against the small wall behind our booth, directly across from me. I couldn't help myself. I had to know. "Theresa, when you look at yourself in the mirror, are you as amazed by your own gorgeousness as the rest of us or are you just used to it by now?" Not the best line, sure, but I ended up with a tongue in my mouth that wasn't mine. So there!
I'm in heaven when I hear a guy behind me whining, "This isn't happening. This is just not happening." The first of many Theresa fans learns the power of Melinda. (Evil laugh here.) Suddenly, Micah pipes up with "It's all good, pussycat. It's all good." After the kiss, Theresa just walks off. In complete shock, I look at Micah and proclaim, "Micah, that woman put her tongue in my mouth! Really." Micah, realizing I'm completely blitzed, says in the tone you'd use to speak to child who's told you that cows make milk as if it's a revelation, "I know, sweetie. I saw. We were all still sitting here."
Many more Theresa fans would learn the power of Melinda over the years as Theresa and I took every possible opportunity to flirt, make out, and feel each other up in pretty much every inch of the Checkmate. It never went beyond that, but for a brief time, I had my own living Xena doll.
Decadence 1998: Melinda became a G-d!
NOTE: That is also the night I picked up the "G-d's gift to the world" moniker and met the first members of what would become known as the "Cult of Melinda," an ever-growing, ever-shifting group of gorgeous coeds who knew just who was their lesbian and wasn't afraid to tell everyone within earshot. But that's another story.