“SHOW US YOUR TITS! SHOW US YOUR TITS! SHOW US YOUR TITS!”
That’s what I heard Mardi Gras attendees sing at the top of their lungs.
I may or may not have had the privilege of missing a few classes and heading down to Tulane University in New Orleans for the once-in-a-lifetime Fat Tuesday experience. I’d like to take this time to clear up the theory that girls run wild and free, with their bare breasts exposed, through all the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
My apologies; I did not see any nonchalantly exposed girls, but I did get the fortunate opportunity to be in the midst of a mob of a few risky flashers. I’ll spare my parents, who are reading this, the answer to the question they’re most certainly wondering.
The authentic and historically based Mardi Gras experience includes dressing up in costume, or in green, purple and gold attire, and attending the multitude of parades which span across a few weeks. At every parade, unique, colorful and meticulously crafted floats travel along the parade route. Those atop the float throw out beads, cups, stuffed animals, coconuts and many other small gifts to the sea of waving hands below them.
The goal is to catch as much as you can, and it is considered unlucky if you pick up anything off the ground.
To college students, Mardi Gras has become THE party of the year. To them, it’s what makes going to school in New Orleans the absolute best. While attending the parades and dressing up is still a main concern, the whole carnival season has become an entirely drunk affair.
Parties begin at sunrise and last until sunrise, just to start all over again. And some students find themselves too exhausted to even make it to the parades.
At a few of the parties I attended, I introduced myself to people and included that I was not actually from Tulane, but from Binghamton. The general attitude of the responses I received was unanimous: “My school is better than yours.”
I got the occasional “Oh, cool” and the “Really, is that fun?” And of course, the “Don’t you just love Mardi Gras? Only in New Orleans.” At the time, I gave in to their bias and played up the novelty of going to college in New Orleans and having Mardi Gras. But truthfully, I could only think about how much I loved good ole’ shitty Binghamton.
Binghamton’s equivalent event is Parade Day, and I’ll be the first one to admit it’s really no Mardi Gras. We don’t have multiple parades spanning weeks, we don’t have crazy costumes or showy colors and we certainly don’t have girls flashing for beads, even rarely.
But that is exactly why I love going to school in Binghamton and everything it doesn’t have to offer. We, Binghamton students, proudly enjoy ourselves without all the show and without all the glam. While I definitely enjoyed my Mardi Gras experience, I can undoubtedly say I have never been so excited for Parade Day. Only in Binghamton.