Seaside Pick-Me-Up

Ah, to be single, crass, and in heat

For some, Sunday is a day of rest, prayer, and reflection; for others, it's the best night of the week to pick up, thanks to JB's on the Beach. On a recent blustery Sunday eve, the wind whipped foliage and hairdos westward, and updrafts lifted fabrics heavenward — but this didn't thwart the party.

As the ocean roiled beneath the Deerfield Beach pier, the bodies at JB's churned on the dance floor. Perhaps, in fact, the weather helped. Charles Gomes, a 24-year-old Brazilian who had had to forego his usual game of beach volleyball, was spending his energies trying to score here instead.

My friend Christine and I usually dished about our lives and relationships as we lounged on beach towels and Day-Glo dirigibles, but since we didn't want to be sand-blasted or washed out to sea by a rogue wave, JB's was the closest we'd get to a beach-and-bitch session this stormy weekend. The porch was no place for girl talk, however. The band Gypsy Lane was pumping out music so loud that it drowned out all but shouted conversation, so we headed indoors, away from the seaside ambience.

Inside, the scene was comparatively quiet, though the danceable Top 40 cover songs from outside still rattled through the place. Most of the crowd here were small groups of same-gender friends, clearly looking for some company. The crowd was diverse, spanning generations, races, and fashion trends. Twenty-something hotties in tank tops and flip-flops, biological-clock watchers in animal prints, and Baby Boomers in thigh-high boots and dog collars worked the scene with pretty boys with liberal amounts of hair product, businessmen kicking back in Hawaiian prints and khakis, and balding men with untamed side fringe. The singles smorgasbord was something for nearly every taste, including those with none at all.

Take the good-looking brunet in the red tank and jeans, for example. Nothing too wrong with the pot-bellied guy in the polo shirt that she held hands with. More questionable was the other middle-aged guy in the Hawaiian shirt who sucked her neck like he was swallowing a raw oyster. Christine and I watched while the two simultaneously worked her — rubbing her shoulders, stroking her skin, kissing her in various places. When Polo-shirt guy starting lovingly smoothing back his buddy's hair, I had to interject.

"It looks like a threesome!"

"Doesn't it?" Hawaiian-shirt guy said, dallying for a moment with his own observation about Christine: "You look like that actress, the young pretty one from One Day at a Time." While my friend chewed on the fact that Valerie Bertinelli had recently gotten as big as a Jenny Craig spokesperson, Hawaiian-shirt guy sucked the brunet's fingers.

On the other side of us, a singleton was finishing her dinner. Q. Morton, a nurse, had come out in a knee-length skirt and conservative top. This was her second time in three years at this "regular Sunday night thing." At 32, she was still single.

"But I'm hoping," she said. "All my friends are married or have boyfriends, so I have to get out there."

Online dating wasn't for "a people person" like her, she said, so she'd designated her hunting grounds as anywhere she could drive in 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, a guy with a wildly hopeful look must have also considered himself a people person. "Let's see if we take a good picture together — we'll see if we're compatible," he said, extending his camera so Christine could take our photo.

After squeezing the lime into my beer, I humored him. "Peter from Florida" liked how the photo came out, so he made lots of small talk — he's a CPA, his business is first in the phone book, he likes smart girls, and he likes JB's because "it has a good island atmosphere... like Magnum P.I. meets Don Johnson."

I indulged him until he began calling himself "Mr. Right." Then I excused myself to escape him, though he stalked me the rest of the evening.

Leaving Christine with Q. — since the two were now making friends with two guys with shaved heads who'd tried to pass themselves off as two-thirds of the Blue Man Group — I insinuated myself into a small posse at the railing overlooking the dining room. Looking out at a rainbow-sailed Hobie Cat, which served as the focal point in the airy space of the otherwise white room, the festive crew were regulars, including Kim Ross, who was celebrating her 45th birthday.

"I got spanked!" she told me when I asked how she'd celebrated so far. She'd participated in some of the wild JB's happenings, including bar-top dancing.

"Last week, there was a spanking party right over there — eight of us," she said.

When I asked what she liked about the place, her pint-sized friend Mona interjected: "They've got the hottest guys — they come from all around."

When I asked for some proof, she entered 26-year-old Paul Montone as her exhibit A. He was reasonably attractive — well-built with what seemed to be a thick head of hair under his backward Corona ball cap — but I wondered about the "I heart Capt. Jack Sparrow" wristband.

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