Sunday Tea is a venerable tradition in the gay community: fresh from their post-Saturday-night-partying naps, hordes of good-looking people, mostly men -- but usually some women as well -- consume cocktails, live it up on the dance floor, and loll poolside with come-hither looks. Where the boys are, indeed. Most of the legendary South Florida venues for such frolicking (Tacky´s, the Marlin Beach Hotel, Club Caribbean) are long gone, but the tradition lives on in several incarnations, including the Sea Monster´s Tea at Sea Cruise. What better subtropical twist than to turn Sunday Tea into a cruise to nowhere? Beginning again in June, on the third Sunday of the month, the Monster primes cruisers with a free buffet and two-for-one drinks before dispatching them onto a yacht at 6 p.m. Next comes a two-hour Intracoastal excursion, complete with one free drink onboard, several cash bars, DJ music booming from a state-of-the-art sound system, and occasional contests (¨Best Tanline¨ was a recent category). All of this is hosted by dragster-about-town Rickie Lee. And it costs a mere $20. A bonus is that you get to make catty remarks about the estates of the rich and famous along the way, as well as a chance to look down upon all the little people in their little boats.
Whether you´re stuck in southbound I-95 gridlock or whizzing by on a Tri-Rail train, these twin neon beacons prove that racial harmony is attainable for South Florida; it just takes a large FPL bill.
You can take that ill-mannered wench from down the street raiding the fridge while watching the kids for only so long. Eventually, you have to break down and call the professionals. Sitters in a Second employs more than 100 baby sitters in Palm Beach County to keep track of the brats while you´re out on the town. The company screens potential sitters and checks references before it dispatches the people who will help you enjoy your first night on the town since God knows when. Sure, you´ll pay more for the pros: Sitters in a Second charges a membership fee of up to $200 per family and then as much as $16 an hour. The baby-sitter conglomerate, in its ninth year in business, mostly employs folks more than 18 years old and lays down some Ward Cleaver-style rules. Among them: Sitters are forbidden to bring over sweethearts, meaning you won´t have to worry about her (or him) locking braces with a boy/girlfriend on your couch.
Cheesy, cheap, sleazy, slutty, whorish. It would take a linguistic surgeon to discern the fine line among the terms. Still, you know cheap when you see it. At the Budget Inn on Federal Highway, they have two rooms of Austin Powers-like, circa ´70s, dirty, disco-queen fantasy. Slip into a pair of platform heels, slide into a vinyl mini, and don giant, tinted, rimless sunglasses, then rendezvous with your inner bad girl. For $99 a night on weeknights or around $125 on weekends, you can rent a room with a heart-shaped bed that has sides upholstered in red vinyl. There´s a red, heart-shaped Jacuzzi for two nearby and XXX movies on the television 24 hours a day. The whole room is lighted with warm, red, slut-seeking spotlights. It´ll make you feel cheap, guaranteed.
One of the best things about living in South Florida, if you can afford it, is having your own boat. Another of the best things is, well, having a good friend who owns a boat. But what about the in-betweeners, those with a few bucks -- if not enough for their own yachts, enough for some self-indulgence? That´s where the Anticipation IV (110 feet long) and Anticipation V (80 feet long) come in. Day trips run from noon to 4 p.m., and four-hour evening cruises can begin anytime after 6 p.m. There´s a dizzying array of combination packages to choose from: young adult and bar/bat mitzvah, corporate, and wedding packages, not to mention silver, gold, and platinum upgrades. All include an open bar, hors d´oeuvres, and dinner. For entertainment, there´s a DJ and an MC. Floral arrangements are included on all tables, and the pilot house is open for tours. Of course, you´ll pay dearly for such lavishness, but isn´t that the point? Top-of-the-line corporate and wedding packages start as low as $5,687 (a silver upgrade for 50 guests) and go as high as $13,249.50 (a platinum upgrade for 100 guests), while young adult and bar/bat mitzvah packages with upgrades range anywhere from $5,989.50 to $10,829.50, also depending upon the number of guests and the kind of upgrade. And what, you may well ask, does all this include? A $200 fuel charge, $250 dockage charge, 6 percent sales tax, and 20 percent service charge. If you want extra time on the water, it´s prorated by the hour, and you can throw in a second DJ for $200. Oh, and did we mention the $2,500 deposit required to reserve the charter, plus $2,000 as a damage deposit on some charters? Kinda makes the $3-per-car parking fee seem insignificant, doesn´t it?
The burgers are beef, but the hogs are beefier. On any given Friday night, this Fuddruckers´ parking lot swells with dozens of Harley-Davidsons, Triumphs, Indians, and just about every other chrome-plated two-wheeler you can imagine. For the boys and girls astride these growling, porcine behemoths, it´s a chance to show off and shoot the breeze. For the rest of us, the Friday-evening spectacle is a spicy condiment to a half-pounder.
Ye gods! Who designed this clusterfuck? Whoever it was, they should be dragged out into the street and shot as an example to other fast-food-chain architects. Anyone who approaches this benighted Wendy´s from the opposite side of the street will find he must drive around the building to order, somehow slipping past the cars picking up food at the window. But you can´t! A line begins forming out in the streets. Another line at the ordering area. Another at the pickup window. Cars circling the whole mess to try and find a way in! Aiiieeeee! It´s enough to make a fellow reach for his .357. I just... want... a burger!
Ask how this eye-catching joint along a particularly butt-ugly stretch of Route 441 got its name. Go ahead. You´ll probably be compensated for your time with a withering stare and a stern reply: ¨Through marriage, OK? Next!¨ If that´s the truth, fine, but ETF Co. must attract customers hoping it´s really a wedding chapel, makeup warehouse, or place for Michael Jackson to unload stolen goods (on consignment).
Recession, reschmession -- it´s still not easy to find good pool cleaners. How else to explain Guardian Pools´ motto -- ¨We Show Up!¨ -- which is proudly displayed on the company´s trailers. Is this how they stand out from the crowd?
The Breakers Palm Beach
Courtesy of the Breakers Palm Beach
The 1,900 employees who pamper the rich and famous at the Breakers receive some royal treatment themselves at noon-time. Florida´s fanciest hotel serves a first-class lunch to its workers at the below-ground Breakaway Cafe. The price: just $2. Those who fluff pillows for celebrities can have chefs prepare specially ordered pizzas and stir fry. There´s also a salad bar, pasta station, carved meat to order, and make-your-own sundaes. Then there are the main entres, which include a much-loved angel-hair pasta with Hawaiian chicken. Often, employees dine in the basement cafeteria on the same grub being served in the ballrooms overhead. Breakers Public Relations Manager Margee Adelsperger declined to say how much the hotel shells out to feed its employees. ¨It´s the Breakers,¨ she says, ¨so the quality filters all the way down.¨ A gourmet meal that´s cheaper than an extra-value meal can´t be beat.

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