By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
By Michele Eve Sandberg
By Abel Folgar
By Ashley Zimmerman
By New Times Staff
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
Clad in a black bra that barely concealed her astonishing rack, the woman carried drinks over to her husband, a lanky gent with graying hair who was seated on a couch in the VIP section. She was beautiful. Probably in her late 50s, she appeared much younger: bleached-blond hair; tanned, tight skin; a few surgical enhancements. A black thong accentuated her assets.
"Um," I asked Marisa, the marketing lady here at Trapeze swingers' club, "what is that woman wearing?"
Or rather, not wearing. Soon the top came off.
"Oh, it's her birthday," Marisa said.
"She's always the first to get naked," a bartender remarked lovingly.
On the front door of Trapeze is a warning: "IF NUDITY OR SEXUAL ACTIVITY OFFENDS YOU DO NOT ENTER."
I had pulled two close friends through the door, past the shimmering dance floor (complete with stripper pole), past a TV showcasing porn, past photos depicting naked women posed on trapeze swings, and past the mingling crowds. It was around 9 p.m., and the club was beginning to fill up.
My friends (Barbie, a beautiful blond, and Beard, who's furry-faced and broad-shouldered) and I must have looked like wide-eyed newbies. I was glad when the lovely Marisa snatched us up under her wing. She gave us a quick tour of the club, including a walk around the temporarily empty back area. "It gets wild in here," Marisa warned.
Here's how it works: Trapeze is divided into two sections, with a coed locker room in between. The front part of the club looks like most swanky nightclubs in South Florida (except for the TVs showing porn). Patrons generally eat and drink and dance for a while before retiring to the back area.
The backroom is spectacularly laid out with vinyl-covered mattresses, private rooms, and curtained alcoves that are meant to be peeked into. Marisa explained that there is a singles side and a couples side. Each had four mattresses pushed together and several couches. There's a bar in the middle, with a beautiful bartender catering to anyone who may build up a thirst. You can't go to the backroom in your clothes; you have to first get a locker and dress down to a crisp white towel. "And no high heels," Marisa warned. "They can damage the furniture." Condoms are available for the taking. Some people use them; some don't.
According to Marisa, it "takes a bit of finesse" to join in a sex act in the backroom. As for etiquette, she says, "An interested participant usually will move in slowly, trying to lock eyes with one or both of the participants. They will then either pull that person in or ignore them. Ignoring means they are either too enthralled with what they are doing or not interested." The women generally call the shots.
For a couple to join Trapeze (singles can also join, but single men are excluded on certain nights) requires a $50 membership that lasts three months. They must also fill out some basic paperwork. On top of that, each night has a user fee that covers all the in-club amenities. It ranges from $35 on Wednesday to $75 on Saturday. Because members are not expected to carry wallets or purses around when naked, they tip the bartenders on the way out. Marisa says that the club has about 10,000 members and that 150 to 200 couples attend on an average night.
After we'd seen the place in its pregame state, Marisa escorted us to the decadent buffet, replete with pecan-crusted salmon, spinach-stuffed chicken, orzo pasta, multiple salads, and a chocolate fountain. We ate at an L-shaped dining table surrounded by taupe curtains, mirrored walls, and white chandeliers.
A few seconds later, a buxom blond in a barely there, blue-and-orange cheerleader getup and cowboy hat sauntered by with a stubble-faced male companion. They sat intimately at a nearby table.
"Why's she dressed like a cheerleader?"
"We have themed nights," explained Marisa. "Tonight's 'jock romp.' Recently we had a leather and lace party. Around Thanksgiving is Pornucopia, where we give out free porn DVDs. Around Christmas, we'll have our 'Merry Sexmas' party. Oh, and we have about five Halloween parties, including the Black Widow's Ball and Ghouls Gone Wild."
"Ghouls Gone Wild?"
"I originally wanted to call it 'Scared Stiff,' " said Marisa.
By then, we were deep into the bottle of Crown we'd brought along. See, because it's a private club, Trapeze is Bring Your Own Booze, which works out marvelously. You give your bottle to the corset-clad bartenders, and they mix drinks for you all night long. I looked at the bottom of my glass, which was all too visible, and decided to mosey over for a second round.
Little Al, one of the managers, who happens to be buddies with Ron Jeremy, introduced us to Tony on our way to the bar. Tony was a dark-haired, middle-aged gentleman with a delectable, petite wife.
"First thing you need to know about swinging," Tony said. "Don't judge. This is a lifestyle, and your teacher, lawyer, doctor, or whomever could be one of us.
"And as couples, we're all very loving and happy," he continued. "Look around. You'll see more affection between husbands and wives here than anywhere else. I can be completely honest and open with my wife. I'm not going to ever cheat on her. Besides, seeing my wife with another woman is a great takeaway."