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Washington City Paper

Oct. 7–13, 2005

For Those Who Dare

by Constantine Caloudas

Thanks to an iPod, a birthday party gets crazy.

Liza Schubert says her parties “are always out of control,” often featuring plenty of debauchery. So for her birthday party’s dare contest, she wanted a prize that would make her party guests reconsider their bounds of personal decency. The 23-year-old Glover Park resident originally thought about purchasing a bottle of pricey vodka. But, she says, “Alcohol this year wasn’t enough.”

Party host Will Gordon, 22, suggested something more coveted. The get-together fell just after the release of Apple’s hot new iPod Nano, and Gordon knew the tiny gizmo would excite his guests.

“I liked the hype, so I decided on the Nano,” Schubert says. The day before the shindig, she purchased a brand-new MP3 player at Best Buy in Crystal City, for $211, including tax.

On Sept. 17, 16 contestants, many of whom are fellow students at American University, met at Gordon’s Cathedral Heights apartment. The company was exclusive—each guest had been sent an invitation that included two condoms, a stick of gum, and an admonition that no other guests were allowed.

Schubert welcomed the group at around 8:30 p.m., and everyone proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Shortly after the singing, the game began. Contestants could advance to the next round of competition by completing dared challenges. If a player was unwilling to execute a dare, he or she was required to leave the room.

The game got off to a slow start, reports Ahmed Nzibo, 23. “For the first half-hour of the game, it wasn’t about the contest,” he says. “There was a lot of mingling.” Contestants started with preliminary, safe dares, such as kissing and squawking like a chicken.

But then Nzibo got the ball rolling, when he dared a heterosexual male contender to give one of his gay peers a lap dance. The man refused. He was out, banished to the losers’ lounge.

The dares escalated. Straight men made out with each other. Feet were licked. Toes were sucked. Someone got a penis in the nose. One gay contestant stuck his face in a woman’s vulva.

“People weren’t really drunk, either,” recalls Nzibo, who was banished after only one round, when he refused to lick a testicle. “The fact that it was a Nano was so key. Even if you knew you had no chance [of winning], you kind of wanted one anyway,” he says.

The losers’ lounge became a party of its own, where the majority of the contestants speculated as to what was going on in the adjacent room.

Four hours later, the 16 contestants had been whittled to the final four. The remaining competitors all stripped naked and streaked across Wisconsin Avenue NW at around 1 a.m. Gordon says one “might have even streaked onto [National] Cathedral property.”

The victor, 21-year-old Glover Park resident Jeff Schneidman, shaved his head and endured one most-humiliating act: a golden shower.

After the contest ended, Schneidman opened the iPod package and passed it around to the other contestants. The choice of prize, Schubert says, was a success: “People were pretty desperate. There were things I didn’t expect.”

Contacted after the party, Schneidman says he doesn’t like talking about the contest. But he adds, “It was worth it.”

“Jeff was a champ,” says Daniel Lubrano, 22, the contestant who urinated on Schneidman’s chest and face. “He really earned it.” CP

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