So did any of you read last week’s literary magazine? Nothing but earwax, sex toys and pickle men. Some of this stuff made me blush, and this is coming from someone who did a few tours with the French Foreign Legion. The lit mag was particularly upsetting to me because I wasn’t able to tell you about my spring break, and how sweet it was. Believe it or not, two weeks ago I was part of the shooting crew for “Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break 2002.” I learned a lot over break, and if you don’t mind I’d like to share it with you.

Paul Wong

It broke down like this. My friend Danny is somehow tight with one of the guys who works for GGW, and was going down to Negril, Jamaica, all expenses paid, to be one of their cameramen. I flew into a jealous rage upon hearing this and demanded to go with him. Since I had just received my tri-monthly royalty check from mp3.com (1108 what!) I could easily afford airfare and hotel accommodations to/from/in Negril. Danny was happy to have a friend come along, so after my shift at the Maynard Street parking lot ended on Friday, we hopped the red-eye out of Detroit Metro and took that big-ass metal bird to the land of reggae and Rastafarians. When the no-smoking sign went off, me and Danny sparked a fat-ass blunt. One love.

But other than the mellowness that the illicit marijuana afforded us, the plane trip was a nightmare. What is with that food they give you? It’s not a good sign when the airsickness bags say “for motion discomfort and/or stroganoff.” And that in-flight movie? Could someone explain this to me? This is where films end up when they’re too awful to go straight to video. And don’t even think about calling the movie a “bomb,” or suddenly you’re treated like a criminal and have to go shoeless for the remainder of the flight. (You know what, observational humor was never my strong suit, let’s just get back to the story.)

Right after we got off the plane I robbed Danny of his cash and video equipment and left him in the slums just outside of the resort strip. I haven’t heard from him since, but that’s probably just because he’s steamed that I ditched him. Anyway, I knew from our conversations where he was supposed to meet his fellow GGW crewmembers, so I met up with them that afternoon, easily passing myself off as “Danny.” And that’s when the week of unparalleled debauchery began. Women, you might want to put down the newspaper and leave the room. Men…it’s on now, baby! Hellz Yeah!!!

Here’s the first thing you should know. “Real girls” and “college cuties on spring break” are much more likely to pull their tops off/up and reveal those luscious, just-a-stone’s-throw-from-legal breasts when 1) the only people around who know them is a handful of close friends at most, and 2) they know they are being videotaped. Liquor helps, but it isn’t necessary. And you can always tell right off who’s gonna show the goods for daddy. It isn’t always the girls who you might categorize as “filthy whores.” A better generalization would be that the girls who bare it all for the cameras are the ones that come off as performers of some sort. So guys, if you ever get a chance to participate in something like this, direct your camera to the girl doing the Cha-Cha Slide alone on the deserted dance floor, reveling in the bemused interest of those around her, or the girl who just completed a rousing karaoke version of “Baby Got Back.” These girls are to camera as sunflowers are to sun. Play it smart and it’ll pay off.

And of course there are other rules to follow as well. The words “bitch” and “tits” should never cross your lips unless you want cups of beer hurled at your stolen camera, and of course “bitchtits” should only be used when describing Meat Loaf’s character in “Fight Club.” Women trust a nice smile, so before they show their bods, you gotta show those pearlies. And I can’t stress this enough, always keep rolling. A colleague of mine was filming at a beach for two hours before quitting because there was no action. Just after he packed up and got into his car, an impromptu wet T-shirt contest erupted right where he had been standing. A classic rookie mistake.

The best part for me was that I began to gain serious respect in the amateur flasher film community. It had been going around that of all the GGW cameramen, I was the one who pulled the best performances from the “sexy sorority sweethearts,” and this brought with it a great deal of attention from those who wanted a chance to have my camera in their face. As they say, some of the best relationships only last an hour. Truer words were never spoken. I’ll always remember you, Sheila. And you, Stephanie. And the two Jennys. And the third Jenny and her friend Tawnee, the cheerleaders from Texas. All of them real, real classy girls.

And now I’m back to the drudgery and ugliness of springtime in Ann Arbor, with its garbage-strewn streets and generally low-level of exposed nipples. But since being offered a 10-year contract to shoot with GGW, my spirits have been much higher. As Orson Welles once said, “A movie camera is the best toy a boy could ever have.” Man, was he ever right. Now turn around, honey. Let me see your ass.

– Ben Goldstein can be reached at ben@girlsgonewild.com. Just kidding, it’s really bjgoldst@umich.edu.

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