I’ve never been a big party person. I don’t know if it’s because I felt like I fit in anywhere, if I just don’t like large crowds, or possibly because I really hate people. It also helps that I don’t drink and parties just seemed to be me making sure friends don’t do stupid things.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind keeping friends safe. I actually like seeing people happy, unless they’re happy for the wrong reasons, then they can go fuck themselves. But that could be one of the reasons I don’t like parties. I spend too much time making sure other people are happy and don’t take enough time making me happy.
Late in college I decided I would change this. I needed to attend a party that would be absolutely epic. This had to be a party that I would never tire telling people about, and people would always want to hear the story told. This had to be the ultimate Bard’s Tale. I’m a boring person, how do I find a party like this?
|… I really hate people.
Research. Lots and lots of research is apparently the answer the the question. Several things need to happen in order for this to work out. First thing, I can’t know anyone at the party. If I do, I’ll just fall into my old habits. I’ll be there making sure they’re safe, no one’s taking advantage of them, or they’re not doing stupid shit. So step one, despite all common sense, go to this party alone.
So now that I have the first building block of enjoying myself at a party out of the way, what’s the next block? Well, if I can’t know anyone at the party, the party has to be in an unfamiliar place. If I go anywhere local, I run the risk of breaking step one. So step two, leave the area.
The Forbidden party
Now I have two pieces to the puzzle. I have to travel alone to this party. I had just got my passport. What better way to meet the first two criteria than to go to another country! I’m on a budget, after all I am still in college. So where do I go? Do I hit up tourist traps in Europe? Do I live dangerously and head to Southeast Asia? I decided I was going to get the biggest bang for my buck. I was going to head to Baghdad.
I know what you’re saying. This is irresponsible. This is stupid. This is more dangerous than an opium den in Vietnam. You’re right, it was. It was also really, REALLY cheap. So this was the best part for me. My trip to Iraq with hotel was cheaper than just the plane tickets for every other destination. So I booked two weeks in Baghdad and took off for Iraq in late October.
Cheap for a reason
The trip didn’t start off fun. The first thing that happened was that luggage was lost, so I get to Baghdad and I only have the clothes on my back and my carry on. The second downside was that my hotel was pretty shady, which I had actually anticipated given how much I paid. But I didn’t think it would be this shady. Prostitutes openly worked in the lobby of this hotel. Drug dealers lined the streets.
But I’m wasn’t going to let this get me down. After my first night there I went to a local market to get some clothes. It was surprising the amount of people who understood English in the area. I tried to see if I could find any local clubs to head to, but I couldn’t find anything near my hotel and I didn’t want to take a taxi anywhere since I was by myself. So far this trip was a bust.
Every morning I’d head out to the market and get some breakfast. When I’d come back I’d talk with the prostitutes in the lobby, see if they knew of anything going on in the area. Still the same answers. So I would just sit and talk with them. Most of these girls were really nice girls. They all spoke pretty good English. All of them just seemed to be in a bad place in life.
Now or never
It was getting to the end of my trip and I still haven’t found the epic party I flew halfway across the world for. I was starting to think I should have just spent a hell of a lot more and flew to a tourist trap. But then I realized something. I picked this trip because of how much more spending money I would have. I hadn’t spent a whole lot because there wasn’t a lot of touristy things to do nearby. So I hatched a plan. What would make the most epic party?
So I had come to the realization. In the lobby of my hotel there were a lot of nice, lovely ladies. If I can’t find the party, why don’t I bring the party to me? So on my last night at the hotel, I paid for every hooker in the lobby to come up to my hotel room. I even got a few of the day time girls to come out. In all, there were about 15 hookers in my room. I had food and drinks delivered up to my room and the party had started.
Over the course of the night, I learned a lot from the girls. Most of them had the same story, they’re just doing this to get by. Some of them are content to stay here, others are working to get out. All of them enjoyed what basically was a paid night off, since I paid for them for the entire night. I basically proved how boring of a person I was. I was fully clothed in a room full of fully clothed prostitutes as we talked, had fun, and just had no expectations of sex.
And that’s when it hit me. I’m still the same person. I’m not boring, I’m a caregiver. This several thousand mile trip has shown me that it’s not that I’m not a party person. It’s that I always have this expectation of trying to protect people. For some of these women, I saved them from a brutal rape tonight. Others I saved from getting a disease. Others I may have saved their life.
As I sit there telling stories and listening to even more, I realize I’m still that same guy from Ohio who’s trying to protect his friends. Only this time my friends are a bunch of ladies I’ve just met over the course of two weeks in a bad part of town on the other side of the world. I barely know them and I’m still willing to make sure they stay safe under my watch. I have to say this is the best Halloween party I’ve ever been to where no one was dressed up.