The $preadsters arrived from New York on Saturday in shifts – editor-in-chief Rachel, myself and my fellow executive editor Eliyanna got a 9 am flight out of LaGuardia, big bags of magazines in tow (that shit is heavy, let me tell you). We were joined later by our art director Erin and our staff writer, Astrid. Its been a little bit of heat shock (“Girls! Its so goddamn hot! I hate the sun!” was whined more than once) but more than that, culture shock (“Girls! Look at them! This is America!”).

We are from New York, where people are soothingly oblivious to the existence of other human beings, and so we keep being suspicious of people and their kindnesses (“Why is she talking to me? Is she trying to rob me?”). Eliyanna was wearing our pink $pread tee, and she got a few different comments on it – and no one in New York ever comments on this shirt. Two were of the “your magazine will do great in this town!” variety, but one question at the Palace Station Hotel was extra good, and came as a result of Eliyanna asking for a light (mmm, indoor smoking): “Aren’t you a bit short to be a stripper?” Ever the persuant of the teachable moment, Eliyanna suggested to him that there were other kinds of sex workers than strippers, and that many different kinds of people with many different body shapes could be sex workers. The expression on his face said that he’d just had his brain rearranged.

After a few naps and a few gigantic meals, Erin, Eliyanna and I headed out to explore – we met up with my girl Bella Vendetta at the Sahara to have drinks, gossip and catch up. While sitting at the bar, a middle aged lady bartender sauntered over to us and started enquiring about our tattoos – three of us have visible ones (and Bella’s got bunches) and I have a less visible one on my back which our bartender, Sherry, promopted me to bare. This launched her into a really terrific story about her tattoo. She told us that on one of many nights she spent out drinking, she was hanging out with a bunch of her friends, who are hookers and happened to be all kinds of tattooed.

Here she made a dramatic pause, gesticulated broadly at the four of us and said, “Not that I’m saying that YOU are hookers!”

We laughed a little too hard and too long and exchanged looks with each other. And then her story got really awesome.

She said that after many drinks she told her friends that she’d always wanted a tattoo, and that maybe it was the perfect night to get inked. Her friends took her to the tattoo parlor of a friend of theirs – and the artist was not especially excited to tattoo a heavily inebriated woman, but her friends convinced him. She spent a long time looking at flash on the walls, until she found the perfect butterfly. In her drunken state, she couldn’t see the details on the butterfly she loved, so the artist made sure that she knew that the body of the butterfly was actually a penis spurting come.

This, she thought, was an even better idea than before – she got it tattooed on her right shoulder blade.

She sported the tattoo for a bunch of years, and her friends all thought it was a fantastic conversation piece (“Come on Sherry! Show us your cock!”), until her inlaws came to visit from Russia. In a bit of a panic about what they would think about her cock, she went back to the same tattoo artist and told him she needed a cock removal – and had it reworked so it just looked like a regular old butterfly.

Last night she said that she did regret getting her cock hidden, and that she was thinking about possibly getting a new tattoo, to bring out her inner cock.

Sometimes friendly people have amazing stories.