Mardi Gras

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Ashley had ridden a float in the Mardi Gras parade, every year for as long as she can remember. But this was the first time she got to dress like this. The first documented parade was in 1837, but Ashley had only been in the last seventeen. Her father was the head of one of the oldest krewes (organizations), and he was awfully proud of his only daughter. He did not approve of her choice of a costume this year, and demanded she wear a body suit under her skimpy bikini. She would have fought harder against it, but the weather was cold enough that she was actually glad she had it.

This was Ashley's senior year in high school. Because she was born in September, she got to start school earlier than most kids and would graduate when she was seventeen instead of eighteen. Growing up and going to school in New Orleans meant that she was introduced to a looser sexual mores than most areas of the country and in a city with some of the most notoriously corrupt police departments. Two years prior to this parade, Katrina had laid waste to this beautiful party town. It was an environment that was rife with stress and strangeness.

Her family was pretty well off, and lived very near the French Quarter, which didn't have to face the worst of Katrina's wrath. Some of the bars actually stayed open through the whole debacle. Through this tangled mess, Ashley came into the discovery of the sexual side of her existence. Even in the best of circumstances, that is a trying time for most teenage girls. In this environment, it was chaos.

As with most teenage girls, and I guess girls from any age, she had been inundated with what was considered beautiful. The right shape of the breast, the curve of the ass, the lack of love handles, the smile, the color of the eyes, the cut of the hair and a multitude of other rulers to measure herself by. The thing she hated most about herself was her overbite. Her father offered to pay for surgery to fix it, but the process itself was daunting. They would have to break her jaw, then reset it a little bit forward, and finally wire her mouth shut for several months while it healed. Even then it might have to be broken again and reset if it didn't line up just right. She decided the cure was worse than the overbite itself.

As she measured herself against other girls, actresses, singers, models, and the plethora of what it is to be beautiful women, she gained an appreciation of the female form. She felt she measured up pretty well in most areas other than her smile and overbite. She wondered if her recognition of feminine beauty was an indicator that she was a lesbian. She knew that the young boys at her school didn't make her heart beat fast. She knew that some of the older, sweaty, hairy, and usually stinky men didn't do it for her. The younger men's bumbling ineptitude at lovemaking left her wanting. The touch and smell of the older hairy male specimens and their desperation, kept them from rounding third base with her so far. So maybe she was a homosexual.

At the beginning of her senior year, she cut her hair mannishly short. She was looking for attention and she got it. Her father and mother bemoaned the loss of her waist length curls, and most of the guys at school kidded her about being a lesbian. The school counselor sought her out and scheduled weekly sessions with her. The school staff had been trained to look for warning signs of all sorts in children as the aftermath of Katrina faded into the distance. With teen suicide and the overall difficulty in expressing sexual preferences different than what the church proscribed, she was a poster child for extra special attention in school.

Frankly she liked the attention. She could care less about the boys at school teasing her, while they still tried to look up her dress every chance they got. She even had experimented with some sensual kissing with another girl, she thought was beautiful. That did make her heart race, but she wasn't sure if it was the taboo she was breaking that caused the excitement, or the actual feeling of the other girl in her arms. She did know one bartender at a famous bar that we won't mention the name of, who just by looking at her, sent chills up her spine. This bartender was strictly male. He wasn't too hairy. He wasn't too desperate. He usually smelled nice, and he had eyes that she just felt like she could drown in.

Ashley decided she didn't have to carve her sexual preference in stone right this moment. She would see what life brought her way. Who knows she thought, I might be bisexual. At least that would double my chances of getting a date on Friday night.



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