It was my first assignment as a Carnival Sherlock. I was working undercover, agent Fergie and my able assistant, photographer, Micheal Bruce. Our location was C'est La Vie Carnival fete; an event reputed as the best all-inclusive fete to ever hit Trini Carnival. Event coordinating maestro, Matthew Dasent's brainchild two years ago, was indeed a Carnival breakthrough. The venue nestled not too far from Maracas beach with its liberating aura of sea, sand and surf interspersed with revelry, synergised for a great ambience for Venus and Mars to meet on a relaxing turf. The women were beautifully attired, dressed to impress…the outfits, the stilettos…amidst a backdrop of sweet infectious soca blasted by a superb in-house DJ. The men were dressed to kill — patterned shirts, slacks, and straight-out-of-a-magazine bodies. Indeed the setting was excellent for mixing and mingling of the genders, the Carnival courting ritual, and we were on hand to capture the action.
I saw my girlfriends walking into the fete laughing enthusiastically and we exchanged knowing glances. They had planned extensively for this event — stocking up on outfits three weeks before the party, and practising jumps and waves that didn't cause wardrobe malfunctions (two of my friends had to use body tape to attach their daring outfits!)
They were the inspiration behind my research, my key assistants. They comprised women of mixed status — married, single and "searching". Two in the group, Samantha and Tiffany, fell under the umbrella of searching; they were over 30 and seeking a longstanding committed relationship with a respectable, engaging bachelor before their biological clock stopped ticking. Based on Samantha's experience at C'est La Vie last year, she had a bright idea for this year's fete — Why not use C'est La Vie 2013 to search for Mr Right for herself and Tiffany. After much giggles we decided that it was a done deal. I was to steer the investigating committee because of my objectivity with Bruce for photos. Injecting some flavour to the crazy idea I made the selection process a categorical one. We would interview other single women in the party who also had the same modus operandi and develop man-clusters from which they can select the perfect mate! Tiffany thought the plan sounded too scientific but she agreed to participate as she was frustrated with the whole "husband-to-be" search.
And so, with that consensus, between great music, mouth-watering barbecue pigtail, chocolate steak and divine daiquiris, my girls and I began the census. Surprisingly, there were many women who thought the idea a good one as they too were casually looking for Mr Right. With a few questions served to the ladies: "How will you categorise the guys in the fete? On sight and with brief conversation will you consider them at least preliminary boyfriend material? Can you find Mr Right at a fete?" A wealth of information was revealed. What was even more intriguing was the responses from some of the men at the fete, entertaining but introspective, they didn't disappoint and were real sports in the process.
At the end of the mission, in addition to fun, a barrel of laughs and reality checks, four categories of men were identified at the party and only one category was chosen as the one with greatest potential to satisfy the needs of the single woman and guess what? Tiffany and Samantha got a prospect each! Here are the findings:
In tune with the C'est la Vie theme, the categories were matched to a beach scenario.
Category One: The Surfers: These guys were casual chic and charming. Their purpose at the party was just to have a good time. They didn't come with their girlfriends, though some of them did admit to being in a relationship. The surfers were in and about the fete; taking a wine with every deserving woman but not staying around one woman for too long. They were more or less hovering, opting for little or no conversation while dancing and they moved in droves of five to eight.
Category Two: The Divers: These guys were handsome specimens, adventurous, gutsy and rico suave confident. They came to the fete to score (whatever their interpretation of scoring was). Drinks and food aside if they caught a good vibe from a lady they encountered they went with the tide, engaging in light conversation such as "Who you playing mas with? I want to play with your section!" The divers also gave compliments, they were engaging and friendly, diving in for the kill asking for contact numbers and future dates with feline prospects!
Category Three: The Sun-bathers: This category of guys was very attractively attired but they were the observers of the fete. They came with their better halves so wining and romancing of pretty passers-by was not on the cards for them. But, nevertheless they weren't as passive as the portrait they painted for their girlfriends. They gave sneaky smiles, approving glances and winks at women that satisfied their gaping stares, the daring ones even tried to give a little flex to a woman or two when their companions went to the bathroom or the bar. However, the stamp on their faces was bold: "Taken".
Category Four: The Fishes: The fishes were the guys who came to the fete to have a good time…but with their special lady and no one else! Meeting new women bore no interest to them. They were already captured and their captors kept their attention for the entire night. No gapes, no distractions, they had eyes only for their girls who never left their arms throughout the night.
In the final synopsis, the women interviewed saw the divers as the best pool for Mr Right. However, while Tiffany reeled in a diver, Samantha got a surfer; I guess he was an exception to the group because he eventually jumped into the flirting wave with my dear friend. Say what, C'est la Vie!
By the time the DJ played the final soca tune, a great time was had by all thanks to the expert hosting of Dasent and his committee and the excellent work of my team who made my Carnival Sherlock experience a memorable one!