A Boca Tale

Nipped, tucked, overdressed, and oversexed. Wanna dance?

You're baby boomer and beyond. A divorcée with a fat bank account 'cause you knew when to pull out of the market in the '90s. But when you pulled your old bell-bottoms from your college trunk a couple of months ago and the fit wasn't even close, you started doing the math. Lots of subtraction: a few grand, a few waist sizes, and plenty of years, to be sure. But hey, bell-bottoms are back in, after all. They're just called flair.

Welcome to my generation, ladies and gentlemen! Here, borrow my Nelly CD. No, nobody twists anymore. We'll have to teach you to bump and grind.

Actually, come to think of it, those crow's-feet around your eyes aren't exactly marching to today's tune either, now are they? Nip, nip, tuck. A couple drops of silicone and your daughter-in-law will look like a plain Jane sitting next to you at the bar. Time is the nemesis of humanity, but you can buy your way out. The solution is skin-deep, but in a superficial land like Boca Raton, where no one bats a well-mascaraed lash at the complexity of existence, you'll go far!

Or at least, this is what I told a baby-boomer friend before we ventured north from Fort Lauderdale on I-95. Around 8 p.m., we arrived at the bar of Maxwell's Chophouse (501 E. Palmetto Park Rd.). We were greeted by a genial dark-haired man in a suit. Protocol. All the stools were occupied so, while standing, we ordered two glasses of merlot and scanned the patrons. We analyzed a few blond women at the end of the bar: mid 40s, natural looking, scarfing a plate of fried calamari like they were at the Ale House. Not our target.

Then we realized we were overlooking our next-door neighbors. Just to our left were two more scalps sprouting blond radiance. These women were wrapped up in conversation that could not be deciphered on account of one's thick European accent and the other's raspy three-packs-a-day whisper. Clearly, they were in their 60s, as were their well-dressed dinner dates. When a white-coated waiter approached and informed them that their table was ready, the raspy voice of one blond helmet replied, "I guess I'm going to have to carry my own drink to the table." Sensing conflict, the waiter immediately whisked it away. She turned toward us as she stood to leave. "Here, ladies," she whispered, "grab these seats." For a moment, I thought Joan Rivers was lurking behind that trampoline-like epidermis.

And we did. Not long after, two more stools next to us opened up. They were filled by a heavy-set woman in her early 50s whose light-pink collagen-puffed lips contrasted starkly with her dark tan, creating the image of a real-life Miss Piggy. She was wearing a tight pink-and-white zebra dress. Her ample bosom, perhaps real, was nearly popping out of the top.

Hmm, how to ask her about those lips?

Suddenly, my guide became very excited. She directed my attention to the other end of the bar: "There they are: the Boca rites." Five women came in all full of themselves: two bleached blonds, a lustrous brunet, a dyed redhead, and their frumpy friend. I couldn't determine their age from my vantage point. My guide said they were in their 50s at least and added, "And you know they're all interior decorators."

The brunet and the redhead, who had long, straight, styled hair, were throwing back mixed nuts and wasabi peas with graceless swings of their arms, as if they were fans at a baseball game. Short well-dressed men started crowding around them as diners at nearby tables watched the spectacle. Maybe they would be my "it" girls. Their tight faces had clearly been in the hands of professionals. But they were so engrossed in conversation with Miss Piggy at that point that I was deterred.

So we left Maxwell's and breezed through the neighborhood, where the crowd was a little too young for our mission. While there, one Albanian man in his mid-30s latched onto me at the bar at Gigi's Tavern (346 Plaza Real), his hands groping as fast as mine were slapping them away. I asked him about the women in Boca and plastic surgery.

He replied that a lot had done it but that he preferred my natural enticements. "Boca," he said, "is about the way you look, the car you drive, and the house you live in."

I asked if the women were bitchy.

"Yes," he replied, "very." Understandably so.

We fled from the aggressive latch-on to the plastic-surgery promised land: Pete's (7940 Glades Rd.), a high-priced restaurant and bar notorious for its plus-age cruising crowd. Although it was mid-September, the place was already decked out in elaborate Halloween décor -- which was eerily appropriate. Packed wall to wall with patrons, the three bars were churning out drinks to people -- many of whom had undergone facial enhancements that left them with permanent expressions of cat-eyed boredom and high-cheeked disdain. A tall man, clearly in his 50s and clearly wearing hair plugs, asked me to dance while Billy Jeanplayed. I told him that I wanted to get a drink before I danced... and slipped away. I cupped my large glass of wine like an alcoholic getting her fix as I stood in the only open space in the bar: near the dance floor. I was relieved to see that the man who'd propositioned me had opted for a woman at least 25 years my elder.

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