It Happened To Me: I Was In A "Girls Gone Wild" Video

I was 18, it was Mardi Gras, and I'd never heard of Joe Francis, a man with the moral constitution of a bowel movement.

May 13, 2013 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

On Fat Tuesday in 1999, after traveling five or so hours from Tallahassee in the backseat of Chevy Cavalier stockpiled with enough booze and weed to keep us satiated until well after the rapture, I stepped out onto a side street of New Orleans ready to unleash my tits on the greasy, sticky partiers who flooded the city to attend its annual Mardi Gras celebration.

I had started drinking Red Bull and vodka (a prerequisite for any night where you are looking to get cray) somewhere around the Alabama state line, and as such, was lubed up for a night of flashing my jubblies with reckless abandon. I took particular care to dress appropriately for the occasion, sporting my favorite glittery red tube top -- so that I could easily dump the girls out -- and black dress pants that were a must-have for any sorority girl in the late '90s. 

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Not the same night, but the same Mardi Gras. I'm on the left, in the shiny pink pants. Serves to demonstrate that I have a history of making poor life choices and was obviously in a weird place.

Early on, I had decided that I had zero fucks to give about showing my tits; I was 18, it was Mardi Gras, and there was absolutely no way that this could ever come back to haunt me. Cell phones hadn’t quite been integrated into daily life the way they are now, and I had never heard of Joe Francis, a man with the moral constitution of a bowel movement the morning after an AUCE Taco Tuesday.

Although I had decided to flash, I gave myself a stringent set of rules and strictly adhered to them. There would be no flashing without beads (specifically the good kind that have some sort of ornament or figurine attached) and some sort of reciprocal act; no flashing for anyone who looked to be over 30; and ABSOLUTELY NO TOUCHING. 

The night was a whirlwind of ridiculous exchanges. Every time I saw a set of beads I admired, I’d screech, “GIMME THOSE BEADS MISTER,” and the bartering began. I always got a minimum of two sets of fancy beads and one act of reverse degradation that usually involved me vigorously slapping some gentleman’s bare ass for an extended period of time, a cock shot, etc.

I was flashing, but I was getting something out of it in return. And I was having a fucking awesome time doing it all under the glare of camera flashes and camcorder lights.

The presence of video cameras didn’t really concern me. Who cares if I end up on some frat guy’s home video that would be shown a few times in some remote part of the US? I thought. It’s not like it’s going to be put on some video sold to millions of losers all over the world, right?

The next morning, as my friends and I reviewed our beads and stories, I emerged the clear winner of the evening. I had the best beads, the most ass slaps, and a disposable camera full of dicks.

About six months later, I received a late-night phone call from my best friend.

“Hey. My brother saw you tonight. Like, on a video.”

This was the first in what would be a long line of similar conversations with other people over the next few months. Each time, I would ask what I was wearing in the video, and each time I was told a shiny red tube top. Most people said they recognized me immediately, although a few said they weren’t quite sure it was me until they heard me speak.

Apparently, in my film debut, I grin directly at the camera and pull down my shirt, chest puffed out, until a hand comes out of the corner and attempts to grab my breast. I scream, “DONTYOUFUCKINGTOUCHME!” at the off-screen creep, and then it’s on to the next set of tits.

It is a small consolation to me that at least I am captured attempting to defend my dignity.

It still amazes me that, for as many people who knew about this, the only slut-shaming I experienced as a result came from people who insisted I knew this was going to happen. To be clear, I never knew I was going to end up on Girls Gone Wild. I never signed any waiver, and there was never any indication that anyone I flashed was anything more than a pervy drunk. 

I have never seen the video myself. Initially, I didn’t want to because it was difficult enough wondering who else might have seen it. In the immediate aftermath, everyone I met was a suspect. I have a relative who was fired from a job for watching porn at work, and 14 years later, I still avoid him at family gatherings because I imagine Girls Gone Wild is right in his wheelhouse, and that he probably knows. 

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The night it happened. 

Only now do I have some small desire to see it, if only because I miss my 18-year-old boobs -- as now, at 32, they point directly at the floor and are what I call my “sad clowns.”

I am now finally at peace with being a “video ho” if you will. I am that cautionary tale, that friend of a friend you hear about, that reason you check yourself when you get a wild hair up your ass to do something outrageous. And I am OK with that.

I often use this story as my ace in the verbal competition among my friends of who has done the craziest shit in their youth. I win the competition and they feel better about themselves for losing, so we all win in a twisted sense. 

And if, after reading this, I can either get you to hate yourself less for doing something stupid because at least you didn’t make Joe “The Human Turd” Francis money, or prevent you from doing something in the future that would, we all continue to win.