By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
My guide, however, could not get a spare moment to sip her vino. Indeed, she would do well to acquire an ounce of the Boca-rite bitchiness and learn to say "no" when a man asks her to dance. A short stumpy chump completely lacking in personality, perhaps a mute, took her hand the moment she finished spinning around the floor with a thin leathery oldster who seemed to be wrestling with her. As she strutted to Michael Jackson's Thriller, she was careful not to touch him, and she looked off over his shoulders alternately, so as not to make eye contact. I studied him from afar and noticed, horror of horrors, that between the third unclasped button of his half-open shirt hung a gold charm that spelled his name vertically: L-L-O-Y-D.
After the song ended, I pulled my companion to the safety of the bar. As we were having our second drink, we observed the crowd. We noted a tall grizzled man with a finely trimmed mustache circling the bar like a shark in a business suit. Most likely, he had walked over from the hotel in the business park next door looking for a one-night stand. At this point, it seemed he was just trying to find something decent to salvage the night. My guide pointed out a woman and said: "Look, her mouth goes back to her ears. She's definitely had two face-lifts." The woman indeed had a snout-like boca raton. I could not tell exactly how old she was -- at least 65. Next to us at the bar was another tight-faced vixen of indeterminable age with long black hair; she was bouncing like a teenager on the lap of a man who could have been 40, could have been 60. Behind her, sitting at a high-top table, was a woman whose eyes had been pulled so tight that she looked like an extra from the musical Cats. The surgery did obscure age, but what it left in the place of well-earned laugh lines was preternaturally smooth.
Then disaster. L-L-O-Y-D showed up behind my guide's chair, rested a hand on it, but couldn't seem to muster the courage for a smirk or a grin, let alone a word of introduction. She slipped away to the bathroom and came back with a woman who was well over six feet tall with long, curly, blond hair -- Alice in Wonderland after eating the big pill. She works as an assistant in a plastic surgeon's office, she explained, and has had a face-lift herself.
"Why do people do it?" I asked. "Why did you do it?"
Her response was accompanied by no facial gestures: "Nobody wants to get old, and nobody wants to look older. So if you can do it, then why not? I went to my high school reunion last year, and everyone looked so old. I couldn't believe how old they looked."
She said she would turn 54 soon. "In fact," she said, "I've had Botox done too, on half of my face. It's very expensive, but when we have Botox parties [a phenomenon in which people gather to drink, socialize, and observe the radical effects of the botulinum toxin that a doctor injects into their faces], I get some if there's any left over. I'm still waiting to get the other half done." I looked closely at her face and tried to discern which side had been treated. I guessed wrong. "No, it's this side," she replied. Oopsy.
Moving on. The women in this place couldn't hide the work they'd had done, but what about the men? "Yes, we get a lot of men in. Mostly for liposuction around here," she said, moving her hand around her midsection. The men did indeed seem to be working that trim yet unexercised look. What about face-lifts? "Definitely," she replied. "But we pull the skin from the middle of their cheeks, so they start growing hair in their ears. It's true." Curious indeed.
Oh, the folly of youth regained. I asked her opinion of the scene at Pete's. "It's a place where older people get together to have fun," she answered. Interesting; I thought that such a place was called a bingo palace. I thought older people danced to Sinatra. Instead, tucked in tight clothing, the dancers -- grandparents, no doubt -- were grinding to a two-man band's rendition of Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out of My Head.When the band busted out a keyboard rendition of Nelly's Hot in Herre, and the dancers mouthed along "so take off all your clothes," I deemed it time to leave.
I wondered as I walked to the parking lot: If the silver generation is wearing the button-nosed mask of youth, who does my generation have to guide it through this fast-changing world?