"That's one way to draw attention to your crotch," I remarked as we both headed clubward down Hibiscus Street.
"Yeah," he laughed, evidently not expecting such brazenness. "I don't like to blend in. I like to stand out. Know what I'm saying?"
I was curious: "Where you going with that thing?"
He was keeping things loose: "I don't really know yet." He shrugged me off and popped up the lapels of his white blazer.
I took a hint and crossed the street. Obsessed with the possibilities of these new belt buckles, I nearly lost my life in the crosswalk. I mean, these fashion plates have the potential to be a real asset on the dating scene.
For instance, just a couple of weeks ago, I went out with a guy I'd known years ago in school. We reconnected during some sotted revelry at the all-day, beat-saturated, aural orgy that was the Global Gathering. A few days later, he called to say that he'd had fun.
"Now the ball's in your court," he told me before adding the addendum that I should call only if I was willing to have sex with him. See how much trouble a belt buckle with the straightforward message "Put Out or Get Out!" could potentially save? Truth in advertising, man.
On the way to my second-story destination, I went it alone, dodging the hordes of adolescent thuglets and budding shorties who poured from the Muvico theater across from Blue Martini where things were hopping hiply.
"Get your hands up!"
The night's band, Evolution, was hyping the crowd as if they were hostages at a bank robbery. On the stage behind the front bar, the five-piece band busted out a body-rocking version of Kanye West's "Gold Digger" to a captivated, roof-raising crowd with their backs to the door.
There went the best part of what I hoped would be an evening at a dignified watering hole the grand entrance when all heads turn, of course!
The ambient, blue-lit, recessed ceilings, dark wood details, and translucent marble-topped bars were lost to the throngs bossed around by the band. Evolution had pulled in fans more than ten deep, and the whole room was groovin' to the vibe. If I wanted a drink, I was going to have to follow the public schools' lead and abandon Evolution for intelligent design in this case, a strategy for getting to a bartender.
I hit the slightly less crowded patio bar, where I met Kim. We opted for mixed drinks rather than martinis blue or otherwise which would have just ended up slopped into our sandals.
All the umbrellaed tables were full. We jostled for position trying to claim a few inches of bar when Kim emitted an "Ewwwww." Her tone suggested it was something other than the drink she was objecting to. I followed her gaze to a pale pentagenarian who was getting the sort of head that's legal.
A young, chocolate-skinned woman was running her pretty fingers through his still-thick salt-and-pepper hair. Little pink bows dangled innocently from the elbow-length sleeves of her sweater as she stroked.
"What bothers you?" I asked, concerned that my friend's objection to the couple was a bigoted one. "The age difference or the racial one?"
"The inappropriate affection," Kim said, allaying my fears but piquing my interest.
I looked a little more closely. The pretty young thing had an equally attractive friend standing beside her, but she wasn't really engaged in the social interaction. Something was off.
"Professionals?" I asked, uncertain.
"Clearly," Kim said with nothing but her New Yorker's intuition to substantiate her claim. Once again, a sartorial LED would have taken the guesswork out of things.
At midnight, Evolution played 50 Cent's "In Da Club," and then the band went the way of the dodo. With the extinction of live music, there was a lull, and many went "out da club."
Others, however, were waiting to ride the next wave of fun. At the bar, Justin looked like he could use some stimulation. When I approached, however, the 25-year-old waggled his wedding ring at me as if it were a cross and I, a vampire. Obviously, he hadn't seen enough movies: Neither sex-starved singles nor the blood-hungry undead are that easily diverted from their prey.
Global Gathering Boy could teach Justin a thing or two about more effective repelling techniques.
As the crowd thinned, we not only found a table but we had our pick of several complete with leftover drinks to choose from. Our table still held two full glasses of wine left by the previous occupants. A few tables over, a triad of mostly full martinis in an array of colors that would inspire Dennis Rodman to try a new hair color had been orphaned. Yum, sloppy seconds!
As Martini's sound system began supplying the beats, we finally found a little bit of what we'd originally anticipated from our martini bar experience: a boomerish, attractive blond who had "Palm Beach wannabe" written all over her she didn't even need a scrolling belt buckle.
"Normally I hang out at Tabú or Amici," Jillian said, explaining her descent from island privilege to mainland peasantry, "but I thought, 'Why not try something different?'"
In her bejeweled gold top, she'd tottered our way and slid into one of our table's empty chairs, blaming her condition on a head rush from a cigarette. She claimed to be from Scotland yet had no accent. Then she unloaded a work history that began with flight attendant, flew to Playboy bunny, and landed on event planner aboard a yacht. I was surprised "master storyteller" was not on the list.
Then she hit us with a description of the guy her friend had met that night: "He's so hot. He looks like Mick Jagger," she started. "No, he is so hot, he looks like George Clooney. Oh, you know who he looks like? He looks like Nick Lachey."
Or maybe he was a morph of all three. (Shudder.)
Inside, the crowd was getting its dance on to Usher's "Yeah." Two young women danced suggestively together on a platform as a scraggly haired, goggly eyed Uncle Pervy leered at them from the floor below. Amy, the corset-clad brunet, could really work it.
Later, Amy shared that she'd been a competitive dancer for eight years. That explained the moves, but the girl-on-girl dance? Well, despite the ironic chuckle I had when she revealed her occupation, I doubt it had anything to do with the fact that the 24-year-old works in quality control on a Palm Beach County dike-building project.
Before we left, we found the "Yay Mamma" dude breakdancing with some friends. Oddly, though he was an attention-seeker, Super Fly seemed oblivious to the tube-top-and-gaucho-clad woman at his feet. She'd shaken her ba-donka-donk all the way to the floor and worked it in a deep, knee-spreading squat.
Maybe her outfit needed more flash? I doubt the addition of an LED anything to her ensemble would've sparked the guy's attention. Something with mirrors, however, would've done the trick.