How to Bag a Big Daddy in the Big Easy

Month: May, 2012

What is a Big Daddy?

The original Big Daddy, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

A lot of people have been asking me, “What is a Big Daddy?” In its simplest definition, a Big Daddy is a man who pays. Sometimes he pays for drinks. Sometimes he pays for plane tickets. Sometimes he pays with an American Express Black Card. Sometimes he pays with his dignity (for example, when Miss Alexis lambasts him in public for being stupid). Sometimes he pays with his life. Ok, that’s too dramatic, but if you’ll remember the case of Mr. Ashley, he did come close.

But there’s more nuance to the name than that. Being a Big Daddy is a way of life. Like being a born-again Christian or a gutterpunk.  It is a southern way of life, and more specifically, a New Orleanian way of life. Miss Alexis will be annoyed with me for saying so, because she does enjoy her out-of-towners, but being Deep South is integral to the Big Daddy lifestyle. You must also dress the part. Bespoke suits, fedoras, seersucker,  pocket squares, ascots, canes, cuff-links.

A Big Daddy doesn’t have to be a geezer, but often that’s how it goes. Like a fine scotch, Big Daddies must age in the barrel before they’re palatable. Big Daddies typically require five or six decades to establish their manners, not to mention, their empires.

A Big Daddy doesn’t always have manners. Some, in fact, are downright cads. These are the Bad Big Daddies that you take to the cleaners and leave with a nice, shiny set of blue balls.

Another question people frequently ask: I’m having trouble finding Big Daddies. How can I bag one if there aren’t any? Answer: Make one!

Here’s a fun experiment you can try at home. Throw out all of your self-help books about getting a man’s attention. Especially “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  That is the Satanic Bible to my religion.

Once you’ve gotten rid of all that garbage, all you need do is employ this one, fail-safe secret that has been used by women in the hood for centuries:

Call him “Big Daddy”.

You’ll visibly see the guy puff up with pride and flash a smile as big as a self-satisfied, fat pussy cat. And then look out girl, because Big Daddy is not going to be able to stop paying for things. It’s as potent as a voodoo spell, so please be careful when calling men “Big Daddy”, especially in the bedroom. Unless, of course, you want a husband on your hands in 2 weeks. And remember, only reward him with the “Big Daddy” dirty talk when he deserves it. That is, when he’s been acting like a gentleman to begin with.

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Seersucker Sexy: Fork Over Your Rolodex

This Spring Daddy knows all the Big Daddies. Well, at least the ones who care about their appearance. He’s been fitting all the Daddies at Saks for the past 22 years. Can’t wait to get this gentleman drunk and find out what he knows.

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Seersucker Sexy: Here Comes Trouble

Meet Mr. Chet, a sartorial wizard and brilliant interior designer. I can tell by the devil-may-care way he stuffs a pocket square that he’s more trouble than me.

Seersucker Sexy

Excuse me, Big Daddy, Do you have the time? 1901? Perfect.

Friday night I went to Sippin’ in Seersucker, a benefit for the Ogden Museum. So many sexy, dapper gents concentrated in one area! And an open bar. A big thank you to the Canal Shops Security for letting me off with just a warning. All in all, it was a productive evening. These Spring Daddies are anything but camera shy and I made the acquaintance of a few tailors and suit outfitters who have rolodexes bursting with Big Daddies. Posting up a few choice Spring Daddies for your viewing pleasure.

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What's Wrong With This Picture?

So many things here are right. Big Daddy is driving me home in his Jaguar. He’s clearing up the papers in the passenger seat so I can sit down. Can you figure out what’s wrong with this picture? Give up? I’m standing outside the car taking this picture and he’s already inside it. Someone forgot to open my door.

How to Get an Old Fart to Buy you a Hat

My latest project: I’m trying to get a $1000 custom hat out of an old codger. The boutique is called Fleur de Paris. I want the Fifi style, and thinking I’ll have it dressed with some striped ribbon and a few plumes from endangered parrots, but I’ll need to go look around before I make any final decisions.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Packaging, who likes to be called Jack Darling, came in as usual for lunch. You might remember this character from Miss Alexis’ story a couple months ago. Miss Alexis warned me that he was cheap and that he’d probably try to rape my ear just as he’d done to her, but there’s since been a new development…

Miss Alexis recently met Jack Darling’s arch nemesis, Mr. Crazy Eyes. Back in the 1940s, Mr. Crazy Eyes used to steal all of Jack Darling’s women. A perfect foundation for a double date with me and Miss Alexis. Jack Darling has not only agreed to this, but has offered to buy us both dresses.

“Good morning, Jack Darling.” I said sweetly.

“Miss April May June. How are you this fine day?” Jack Darling stood up at my arrival like a good boy.

“Miss Alexis and I would like you to buy some hats for us for our double date.”

“Oh that is charmin’. That is just charmin’. I would be delighted to buy hats for you girls. There are plenty of shops on Magazine Street that I’m sure sell hats.”

“Actually, our favorite place is just across the street!” I said.

“Oh. I’ve never heard of that place.”

“They have very cute hats, Jack Darling.”

And they’re very hush-hush about costs until it’s credit card time. Can’t wait to see the look on Jack Darling’s face after Miss Alexis and I have picked out all of our jewels and feathers.

“Miss Alexis and I will stop by tomorrow – it’s our day off, but we’ll collect you when you’re done with your lunch and take you to Fleur.”

“Well now, I don’t know if I’ll be around tomorrow. I have to pick up some friends at the airport at one.” Jack Darling’s delivery was so clean and expertly off-the-cuff, I nearly believed him. This guy is a pro-liar, but he’s in for a fierce game of chess, and he’s going to come out of it $2000 lighter…if he’s lucky.

Today I’m going to give Jack Darling a call before I meet Miss Alexis for lunch.

I thought of calling him crying. “Jaaaaaaaaaaaack! Mr. Crazy Eyes bought Miss Alexis a hat from Fleur de Paaaaaaaaris and now she’s making fun of me because I don’t have one.”

No, better to come from a place of strength. I’m thinking of taking this tack:

“Jack Darling, don’t worry about the hats. Mr. Crazy Eyes is  buying them for us. You know, he’s a total sweetheart. They just don’t make them like that anymore. If only he were 5 years younger, like you. “

I’ll keep you posted, dear readers.

Mr. Ashley the Oil Tycoon Takes Us to Galatoire’s

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death”Auntie Mame

Miss Alexis thinks she looks fat in this photo. I’m sorry to throw you under the bus, darling. Readers, see photos below that prove she isn’t fat.

Out of all the Big Daddies in the land, Mr. Ashley is the Biggest Daddy of All. He is a Black Gold Daddy. An Oil Titan. A Recession-Proof Daddy. The White Whale of the Mississippi. And here’s one very serious, important detail: he has a heart condition and totes around a defibrillator machine that keeps him alive and gives him a 15 minute warning every 8 hours when he needs to change the battery, or else die.

In person, Mr. Ashley is ever polite, the quintessential Southern gentleman, with modest but crisp attire, and never without his signature Stetson. He arrives at the bar never too early and stays never too late – between the hours of five and eight – and has at minimum two, and no more than four drinks. He makes no show of money, and never draws attention to economic class. Mr. Ashley’s conversation is full of Southern reserve, grace, and respect. He discusses the thunderstorms rolling in, or the lovely sunshine, and inquires how your parents are doing even though he’s never met them.

One day, Ashley and I were sharing such courteous talk, when a gutterpunk strolled past us to use the bathroom. Mr. Ashley paused mid-sentence – apologized for doing so – and crinkled his nose. Gutterpunks, if you’re unfamiliar, are nomadic young persons who panhandle, live communally, and are shy of baths.

“Now, Miss April,” Mr. Ashley began. “I could nevah imaaaygine havin’ sex with someone who smells like thayat.”

I was startled, but delighted by the lewd turn of conversation. “Well, Mr. Ashley,” I replied. “I suppose they have sex with each other. Wouldn’t you agree?”

That didn’t satisfy his curiosity. “Now, I like eatin’ pussay, but I would nevah eat someone’s pussay who smellayed like thayat.”

From that point on, Mr. Ashley began to talk about more than the weather. The next night, in fact, he asked about my afternoon.

“Do you want the PG-13 version?” I asked.

“Oh, hell, Miss April, I want the full version.”

So I regaled Mr. Ashley with that afternoon’s events before I started my shift. Mr. Ashley leaned in with keen interest when I came to the part about my afternoon delight with an attorney who had a Prince Albert piercing. “Now, Miss April,” he said with genuine concern, “Is he takin’ care of you first? You know what I mean.”

I did know. And he didn’t mean paying for dinner.

A week later Mr. Ashley invited Miss Alexis and myself to lunch at Galatoire’s – an old-line New Orleans restaurant full of see-and-be-seen Southern glamour.  We were to meet Sunday at 11 am at Ashley’s apartment. I had to call out sick in order to go, and with my irascible boss working at the bar across the street, we planned that I would take a cab to the corner and slink past the bar to Ashley’s apartment where he’d be waiting in the vestibule to let me in quickly. Miss Alexis, Mr. Ashley, and myself would have champagne and then take a cab to Galatoires.

The Morning of Galatoire’s…

Her Mischievousness and Mr. Ashley just after the bathroom tour.

I was running late with a terrible hangover, perhaps still a little drunk from the night before. There was a text from Miss Alexis who was already there.  “Mr. Ashley is already downstairs waiting to open the door for you. Looks like I’m the chaperone on this one.”

I slipped past my place of employment and sure enough there was Mr. Ashley behind the door, looking out in both directions to check if I’d been seen. He escorted me inside, his hand on the small of my back. On the way in we were nearly steamrolled over by Mr. Shoen who is frightening to look at and has a walker but owns most of the French Quarter. Big Daddy H.Q., I noted.

I checked my phone in the elevator. Another text from Alexis: “Get here NOW. I’m in Mr. Ashley’s bathroom and there are naked women everywhere.”

Once upstairs, Ashley poured the champagne in the kitchen while Miss Alexis gave me a tour of the nudity. Almost the entire wall space was covered with large, black-and-white portraits of women’s naked asses pictured with musical instruments. One in particular stood out: a woman’s ass turned upward to such an angle as to make visible her pudgy, outer lips. “It’s clear what Mr. Ashley likes.” Miss Alexis said just as Ashley came into the bathroom and handed us each a champagne.  Nothing like a little hair of the dog…

The Night Before…

I had been out until 5 in the morning playing patty cake at a dank service-industry bar with a 58 year old psychotic satyr with a French accent. For the past few months, he’d been growing on me like a fungus. Maybe because he reminds me of an ex – a man I still hate and adore. Or maybe it’s his scent, which is so intoxicating, I could live in his neck. Maybe a certain je ne sais quoi. Maybe the several months of heavy drinking.  Maybe untreated psychological issues.

Patty Cake knows Mr. Ashley – the two are rivals. Petty rivals. They aren’t about to do pistols at dawn or anything, just talk about each other behind their backs. It is suspected that several years ago Patty Cake kicked Mr. Ashley out of his carnival krewe and in retaliation Mr. Ashley tells everyone that Patty Cake is gay.

That night at the bar, Patty Cake kept pestering me to “keees” him.

“Dinner first. We’ll evaluate from there.” I said for the eighteenth time.

“Zat ees bullsheet, baby! I tooooold you, you’re ouver-qualífied for dinére.”

“Mr. Ashley doesn’t think so. He’s taking me to Galatoires tomorrow.” I said.

That shut him up. “Mr. Ashley. Weally? Weally. I’m zpeechlíss.”

When I told him that I bought a new dress for it, he nearly fell off his chair. How could I go out and buy a dress for stupid Ashley?

“It’s not for Ashley,” I said. “All I own fits in one suitcase. I only have one dress and it isn’t appropriate for Galatoire’s.”

“When I take you to dinére, I want you to wear your one dress!” he shouted, tipping Lisa another hundred on the bar, signaling her to pour a seventh snifter of Mandarin Napoleon. Lisa pushed the hundred dollar bill back. “No. This is getting absurd. You’ve tipped me enough of these tonight.”

“This is what we have in common, Patty Cake.” I said. “We both came here at 31, broke. And we’re both gold diggers.”

More on that later, in posts to come…

At Galatoire’s

Determination.

Miss Alexis and I ordered whatever we wanted off the menu. We ordered wine by the glass, wine by the bottle, and lots of champagne.

“Let’s get a bottle of this champagne” Ashley told the waiter.

“Excellent choice, monsieur. In fact, I so deeply believe in this bottle, that if you do not think it’s the best champagne to have ever passed your lips in your very long life, I shall kill myself. I shall slay myself, right here, with a very sharp sword!”

“Now that won’t be necessary, son,” Mr. Ashley said. “I’m sure it’s just fine. Thank you.”

After our main course, I felt it was time to stir the pot. “Patty Cake wants us to stop by his bar to show him our outfits.” I said.

Mr. Ashley’s eyes were ablaze with mischief. “Oh we must go to see Patty Cake! I want to show up with you two beautiful ladies on my arm.”

“Yes,” I said. “Let’s go and treat him like a servant. Whenever he tries to talk to us, I’ll hand him a waded up napkin and tell him to throw it away.”

The waiter interjected. “Would madame care for dessert? Tell me, madame. Tell me whatever it is you so desire”

I took a glance at the dessert menu, then set it down. “I would like you on a little plate with some whip cream on top.” I said.

Moments later he delivered a plate of whip cream to the table. “What about you?” I inquired.

“I come later madame.”

At Patty Cake’s…

We were quite drunk by the time we rolled into Patty Cake’s. Mr. Ashley owns a wine locker there and we drank two more bottles of wine out of it and another bottle of champagne. Someone who was amused by our antics, sent us a cheese plate. We had many laughs at Patty Cake’s expense. The more I drank, the more I flirted with Ashley and rubbed his shoulders, and the more comfortable he became rubbing my backside. So comfortable in fact, that his fingers found their way to the thing he loves best.

At some point during the night I spoke to Fran, who owns a fine jewelry store in the Quarter. I admired her diamond fleur-de-lis necklace. “Just FYI,” she said. “Patty Cake has bought a couple from me. But not as many as Mr. Ashley.  So when you’re ready to get yours, just let me know.”

Then the inevitable happened. The 15 minute buzzer. It was time to change the defibrillator battery. Mr. Ashley was three-sheets by then. So were we all.

“Shall I come over later once you recharge?” I asked.

“Oh sure, Miss April. It looks like you’ve got your hands full here, but please do. Text me.”

I suppose I should feel ashamed for letting a rich, elderly invalid pet me sexually in a wine bar. Somewhere back home in Indiana, one of my old crushes is having taco night with his wife and watching High School Musical 3 with his kids. But I don’t care.  I care too much about adventure. To live intensely, excitingly. Ashley’s money doesn’t even really matter that much when it comes down to it – it’s atmospheric, like confetti.

“Go do it.” Miss Alexis and our friend B encouraged. “I just opened another bottle of wine. By the time you get back we’ll be ready to move on somewhere else and I want to hear all about it.”

I texted Mr. Ashley but did not get a response the rest of the night. Miss Alexis, B, and I invited younger men along to French 75 Bar and The Carousel Bar. I told anyone who would listen about how Mr. Ashley had felt me up. My friend Charlie from New York joined us, and was enamored by New Orleans, our whole scene.  He rightly called our shenanigans, “the glamor of not giving a fuck.”

And Afterward…

For a few days after Galatoire’s, I got no response from Mr. Ashley, and I was worried that we’d killed him. “I’m about to call the hospitals to look for you.” I texted him. “Please just send me a text to say you’re okay and I’ll leave you alone.” Moments later, Ashley called and said he was fine and insisted he’d texted me before that he was okay. “We need to take a look at your phone together and work on your texting skills,” I said.

During Lent we hardly saw Mr. Ashley at all. When he did come back to the bar, he looked worse and worse, and he kept to himself, returning to the polite, boring conversations we had before the day when the gutter punk had walked past us.

One day Ashley came in and pulled out a silver dog tag from his shirt. “Miss April, have you seen my necklace?” It was medical information jewelry. It read, No Pulse. No CPR.

“I don’t have a pulse.” he said, but it didn’t register.

Here was a 76 year old man with heart condition, whom I would have gone to bed with had his defibrillator battery and cell phone not died. What a way to tell someone you’re unavailable.

“Do you know what a pulse is?” he ventured, noting my dumbfounded expression. Of course I know what a pulse is, I wanted to say, but what I couldn’t make sense of is how someone who was sitting in a bar staring back at me and talking, didn’t have one. It seemed the foundation of life – a pulse. Blood pumping through veins. Amazing how someone can be walking around without one. Here, but not really alive.

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Hide and Seerseeker

Jason is a seersucker-sweetheart after my own heart. I caught up with him earlier this week at his exhibition opening called “Hide and Seek”. I let it be known that he could only play hide and seek from my camera for so long, looking like the dashing Spring Daddy he is. Please note how at home he is in perfectly tailored seersucker pants, prosecco in hand.

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Three Daddies in a Row!

I just realized that I have only been lauding the sartorial skills of African-American Daddies. To be fair and not racist, here are some vest- and bow-tie-wearing Caucasians for you. I do so admire their fleur-de-lis pins. Mr. Three-Piece-Suit in the middle there comes into the bar sometimes and likes his Manhattans stirred – not shaken – and strained into a wineglass. Also, one day, he asked me what went wrong in my life that I am now working in a bar. I suppose I should have asked him what went wrong with his shoes, but I won’t sink to that level.