A man walks into a bar. He’s carrying a carpet under his arm. He wraps himself in the carpet, lies on the floor, covers his face and waits for people to step on him. A sign taped to the bar reads: “Step on carpet.”
People step on the carpet — dozens, in fact. The more people who step on the carpet, particularly if they are women in heels, the happier the man is. Some are timid, others are audacious. Some dance on the man. Some step on him while ordering their drinks, completely unaware that a live body is underfoot. Some just stand there, frozen, looking totally freaked out.
Four hours later, the man slips out from beneath his carpet, folds it up, tucks it under his arm and heads home. “It was a nice party,” he says cheerily, as if he were talking about something far more ordinary, like, say, a backyard barbecue.
That man (and none of this is a joke) is Georgio T., a 48-year-old immigrant from Malta, who calls himself the Human Carpet. He has become an occasional sight around New York’s bar and club scene and a fixture at sexual fetish parties.
Georgio discovered his predilection when he was a young child, he said. “I loved to have weights on me,” he recalled during a recent interview, his gentle voice flavored with a Maltese accent. “I liked having my cats walk over me.” He worked his penchant into childhood role-playing games. “Somebody wanted to be the doctor,” he said, “somebody wanted to be the carpenter, and I would want to be the carpet.”
He took his act professional a few years ago and now mostly appears for a fee — his standard rate is about $200 a session, plus tips. Human carpeting is still a fairly wide-open market: Georgio knows of only one other person in New York doing a similar thing, a guy who calls himself Kevin Carpet.