By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
In our seats by the ¨lake,¨ which true to the town´s artifice was actually just a retention pond with a fountain, Madeline repeated what she had understood: ¨Those women she was pointing out actually have jobs. She said they just love to dress, and they love to dance.¨
¨It´s a Russian thing,¨ a voice interrupted. ¨One of them is my wife -- the one in the red dress.¨
If the unaccented English hadn´t first given his American status away, the orange Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts would have. The Tequesta business owner explained that he´d met his Ukrainian wife on an international dating Internet site, LoveMe.com.
¨Are Russian women better?¨ I asked, wondering why he´d opted to import.
¨They are until they´re Americanized,¨ he said, wielding his seven years of marital insight. ¨These are RAPs Russian American Princesses.¨
His wife and the ice-skating Paris Hilton, whom Hawaiian Shirt Guy told us was married to ¨a very rich man,¨ were promoters of the event.
¨A lot of it´s a show,¨ he concluded before he went back inside. ¨My wife is actually pretty prudish.¨
I started to extend my sympathies for his bad luck, but I figured I´d already exceeded my offending quotient here, so I kept it zipped.
Madeline had begun to warm to the event: ¨It´s kind of cool this place is in Palm Beach Gardens,¨ she said, proud of her town´s cultural progress. ¨It´s so bizarre.¨
Back inside, the American interlopers, Jimmy and Denise, were dirty-dancing in their casual duds, impervious to the fact that denim and khaki stood out like scuffs on new shoes against the glitter and glam.
¨I wouldn´t have dressed any different if I knew I was coming here,¨ Denise insisted. ¨You need to live life and love it. It´s all up here.¨ She tapped her temple with her finger.
I assumed she wasn´t just talking about the vodka, though the dancing suggested that, yes, Russia´s best was starting to go to her head. Back at the bar for more vodka, I met Jim, an American day trader who had met ice-skating Paris Hilton at the polo matches. He pointed out the Russian restaurant owner.
When I commented on the women´s slutty clothing, Jim gave me a once-over. ¨You could be hot too if you got some streaks in your hair and put on a designer dress,¨ he said.
I took my schlubby American self across the room to get the real story from the owner, Edward Kogan, who told me he´d been in the United States for 30 years.
¨Longer than I was in Russia,¨ he added.
Though he´d just moved from Manhattan three months earlier and opened Java Moon a month later, he attributed his place in the local Russian community to MeetUp.com. Up-to-date networking, retro fashion: It was a jarring combination.
Two gorgeous and elegantly dressed young women thought so too.
¨I feel like I´m at the skating rink,¨ remarked Remy, a Bradley´s bartender.
¨It´s so ´80s,¨ agreed her friend Jordan, a Nordstrom´s sales associate.
Remy dug into her knowledge of party fashion niches. ¨Some of it´s South Beach house.¨
¨I thought everyone was on drugs when I saw how they were dancing,¨ Jordan said. She stomped her foot and extended a disco finger heavenward, like Tony Manero.
¨That´s how they dance in South Beach when they actually are on drugs,¨ Remy said.
Now I was perplexed: Were these Soviet ex-pats still clinging to outdated fashions? Or was I just reluctant to acknowledge that the garish ´80s were back?
¨We´re going to Noche,¨ the young lovelies said enticingly. ¨Come with us!¨
Noche? That was one way to call it a night.