I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seemed like the second I had lugged my 14th box out of Silliman storage (right as my hernia ruptured), the sky went from bright, summery blue to typical, New Haven gray. A dark cloud descended over the Elm City, and I was immediately flung back into school year depression.

Of course, the only thing more depressing than realizing that your weather is terrible is the painful realization that someone else has it better, or — worse yet — that lots of people have it better. Way better. As we speak, innumerable sausage jockeys are descending, like leather-clad locusts, on the Big Easy: Southern Decadence, the homosexual version of Mardi Gras.

For those of you who don’t know, lean closer and let Auntie Bradley shoot a little bit of his hot, hot wisdom in your face. After we’re done, make sure you stuff a couple of singles in my belt. It’s only polite.

Southern Decadence is a place for “the gays” to rally, wave around rainbow flags and raise awareness for greater social issues. In other words, a completely apolitical street orgy for aging queens full of crystal meth and Viagra! It’s like an epic porno with countless costume changes and a cast of thousands that would put “Cleopatra” to shame! Liz Taylor, eat your heart out.

Also, unlike Mardi Gras, it doesn’t have a French name. Of course, we sea-faring butt pirates love our fake French (“Oh la la! Moi loves it! Don’t vous?”) but a French name, even a French-sounding name, under this administration would just be politically dangerous (especially with the recent reports of weapons of ass destruction). After all, public fellatio and bukkake are one thing, but, as we all know, the French are the enemies of the United States and the Jews! Yay freedom! Throw on your rainbow jock strap and grab some beads! Shalom — in your face!

This, of course, is not to say that the festival is without its detractors. Anti-nudity and public urination laws have plagued Southern Decadence. Also, each year, scores of Bible-beaters hold protests, attempting to discourage all the hot alleyway bottoming through the cunning use of antiquated Bible verses and eye-catching cardboard signs. I can name many good reasons not to engage in anonymous sex on top of a pool table — reasons like carpet burn or genital warts — but I guess eternal damnation in the sulfur lakes of hell might scare a few people away. But not me, I’m a soulja!

After checking out pictures from last year’s Decadence, I gotta say, the South still knows how to party. I suppose once you’ve rid yourself of such unpleasant burdens as gun control and the theory of evolution, you’re free to wear a hoopskirt and fix yourself a glass of sweet tea (I’ll tell you later what to do with that tea bag). But what am I, trapped north of the Mason Dixon, supposed to do?

Where is Northern Decadence? What is so decadent about New Haven? Then it hit me: a fanciful world of sinfully rich aspartame, sweet sweet carcinogens and painfully creative spelling:

Tasti D-Lite.

Now, I know at first glance, soft-serve Milky Weigh (ziiiing! Love the puns!) doesn’t compare to a raucous nipple-tweaking night of Caligula-style partying, but believe me, in Tasti D-Lite I have found Northern Decadence. Who needs The French Quarter, dizzying neon lights and over-the-hill drag queen hostess Chi Chi La Rue, when you’ve got High Street, bare off-white walls and that Asian lady who will swirl you as you’ve ne’er been swirled before?! People, I’m not gon’ lie. I like go-go boys, but I love the swirl. And besides, only gay guys and Theta girls go there anyway.

I am dubious, however, that Tasti D-Lite only contains 10 calories an ounce, or something ridiculous like that, but the simple fact of the matter is that whatever I’d be consuming down in the delta would probably be at least that many calories and much harder to swallow.

Everyone remembers that famous “Seinfeld” episode where everyone started gaining weight due to the “fat-free” fro-yo, but these little corporate lies are not all that harmful, are they? I mean, they reassure you that it’s okay to eat a medium cone instead of a small and that’s not so bad; you could probably just run it off at the House of Payne. At Southern Decadence, a couple of extra pounds are the least of your worries. If someone lies to you down there, well, it might start to burn when you pee and that’s a little harder to fix than your spare tire.

Imagine trying to “elliptical” away your herpes! Feel the burn! It hurts so good!

Unfortunately, unlike at the original Decadence, where a quick flash of your Hallowed Harry will get you a handful of beads and tons of new friends, whipping out your sour cream rifle at Tasti D-Lite probably won’t even you free sprinkles. On the bright side, though, it will probably get you at least one night in a place where you can meet lots of new friends and play cards for cigarettes (and bitchdom!). See? There is scandalous fun to be had up North!

In all honesty, I do wish that my description of Northern Decadence were a little racier. Metaphysical transcendence in a waffle cone is great and all, but you need a little sexual innuendo to get the kids excited, right?

The one thing Southern Decadence will always have on Tasti D-Lite is the copious amount of gay men wandering around down there. If only there were somewhere up here where several thousand gay men could get together and– Wait! What the hell am I saying!?

Ahh, yes. It appears as though Northern Decadence has it all, except the weather, but I guess you can’t have everything. So, for now, a sweet, milky mouthful of Tasti D will have to do.

With God as my witness, I shall never go hungry again.

Bradley Bailey — you’d never think he was in a serious relationship. Slut.