A Loungy Kind of Love

A date with romance has us turning Far Eastward

"Have you been lucky in love?"

"Not in the last two weeks," she replied nonchalantly, more concerned with finding a spot at the bar that suited her.

Kaela scrutinized the Night Rider.

"Have you ever seen Grey's Anatomy?" she queried. It was a question I'd heard dozens of times. "You know who you look like?"

A chorus of omigods! ensued. In truth, I'd never seen the show, but apparently I'm a ringer for a character named Addison. Maybe hoping for a good omen, I wondered aloud if my impersonator was gifted in the love department. The answer was a resounding no. But according to the girls, it wasn't luck but rather infidelity and indecision that were the problem.

"Karma is a bitch," Lauren concluded.

I changed the subject by excusing myself to meet the couple across the bar. These two guys emitted a glow that rivaled the rosy concoction in the martini glass that sat on the cement bar top in front of them.

"Today I am lucky in love," Nick declared.

"We're still in the honeymoon phase," added Jason, explaining that they'd been together only four weeks.

The two finished each other's sentences as they told the story of their introduction at the Lounge in West Palm Beach. Jason had checked Nick out. Nick sent him a drink. Jason ignored it, too busy socializing with coworkers to pay attention. Up to this point, the Live Earth concert had gone virtually ignored on the flat-screen TV behind the Saki Lounge bar. That is, until a female performer and her entourage began crawling across the stage. Nick interrupted his story to interject, "Who's that doing the Little Miss Sunshine dance?"

Was there better proof that, even over 40, Madonna's still got it?

Nick, the acute social observer, got back to the basics of Material Boy romance. "Three months: You're seeing each other. Three more months: You're dating. Six months: You get a contract on your desk. After six more months, it's up for renewal."

Finite, romantic contractualism: It could appeal only to a jaded control freak. But there was more. Nick's description of love levitated away from his own workaday materialism: "You feel outside of your body. It's like a sigh, a weird breath — breathing in and out and knowing everything is going to be OK."

John, our bartender, brought me back to the South Florida way of the world. In three years, he hadn't had a girlfriend, he was saying, but he had had "slam pieces," a term he had invented.

Lauren made sure I understood the proper use of the term: "It's somewhere between a booty call and a girlfriend. Whenever I see him with someone, I'm like, 'So is that your new slam piece?' "

John had his own explanation, thank you. "You actually have a relationship, but for outside reasons — location, work, marriage, or whatever — you can't be together."

The Milky Way never seemed wider and more unnavigable.

As I finished off my drink and the girls invoked the wisdom of Dr. Phil ("Relationships aren't 50/50; they're 100 percent, 100 percent"), I thought that the clouds above Delray must have washed away any chance for the cowherd and the weaver's reunion. Then it occurred to me that, even if it did rain here, there would always be clear skies somewhere. Finding favorable conditions just takes a little effort.

A symbolic martini and a silent prayer at Saki Lounge couldn't hurt.

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