So there I was, easing my shoes off and leaning back in my writer’s chair, ready to sink into MMC and maybe write a blog post or two, make a cuppa tea (as opposed to a mugga coffee) and then my phone vibrates and it’s my friend, Allan. He’s a gynecologist who works the South Beach scene (professionally speaking) and is so damn charming he could talk a column into hysterics. He calls me up and tells me to get my butt down to this Irish bar. It’s 10pm, I’m tired, I’ve not written in days, I have to be up early the next morning to deal with kids and I’ve not yet had dinner. But it’s Allan, you can’t say no to the guy, you don’t want to say no to the guy, so I put on a shirt and head out.
South Beach. For once parking is ideal; I slide into a spot while singing Prince lyrics on the phone with a buddy only half a block from the pub. Then I jump out of the car, straighten my shirt, and head on over. South Beach, which means that there are beautiful people standing around looking nervous about not getting noticed. Girls with glorious hair, legs that stretch from here to the Amazon, all kinds of flimsy excuses for clothing in varying shades of green, and dudes built like dancers, like gorillas, like wannabe Brooklyn hipsters looking desperately out of place. The crush of the music, it’s live, the thick snarl of bodies by the entrance, spilling out onto the curb, around the outside tables.
There’s no bouncer, thank god, so I’m in so quick I surprise myself. South Beach means interminable waits. But inside it’s good, the crowd’s dense but not so that you can’t move, and every few seconds a drop dead gorgeous girl covered in glitter wearing chrome green mardi gras beads knocks into you and laughs cacophonously and clatters off. I love it. And there’s Allan. Whenever you meet up with Allan you have to go through a five minute process of his laughing and hugging you in sheer delight. It’s like you’re his long lost cousin, the dude who shows up at the helm of the boat that’s rescuing him from a desert island, the man who introduced him to the woman of his dreams. So we hug and laugh and hi five and hug some more, and then he introduces me to his friends.
A bevy of girls, all glittery and buxom and gorgeous and texting their boyfriends in DC and Maryland. We retreat to the back pool table, and I grab a stool by the window and watch the game in progress. Then we’re all back up, on our feet, herd instinct as we migrate to the bar. Grab drinks, new drinks, me waiting twenty minutes as everybody goes back after five. Why? Why I hear you cry? Because the minimum tab, I found out upon being served my drink, was $30. I wanted one drink, so asked the bartender to hold my rum and coke while I hit up the ATM. Came back, and then only realized ten fruitless minutes later that the bartender had forgotten I hadn’t paid. Which was why she kept passing me by and shooting me weird looks as I waved money at her. Skabosh it!
Anyway. Back to the pool table. Live band belting out U2, Rolling Stones, etc. Hear from three different girls as to how they plan to get their boyfriends to marry them. Most of them have been dating for less than a year, but I get the impression that it’s simply time for them to get married. Allan is laughing and hugging this girl, having the time of his life. He always does. I join them, tell them what the Rodeo move is. The girl shares with us the Angry Pirate, causing me of course to retaliate with the Angry Dragon. Allan laughs and laughs and laughs, absolutely delights.
A large man looms out from the crowd. He’s wearing a shirt that says ‘IRAN’ in small letters over his heart like it’s a trade mark. Shoulders of a wrestler, curled coif of a Romance novel cover model, thuggish face made gentle by his smile. Envelopes Allan in a hug, who cries out in delight and laughs in pleasure at the arrival of his new friend. I’ve met the guy before, but he doesn’t recognize me; he owns one of the premier clubs on South Beach. Allan delivered his baby six months ago, and now they’re as thick as thieves.
But it’s getting late. Despite it’s being St. Paddy’s day. So I bow out, head home, glad that I live close enough to SoBe that I can dip my toe in but then head out without becoming stuck in the mire of silicone flesh, glazed smiles, loud music and endless booze.
Not that I won’t be back this weekend, mind. Especially if Allan calls. Happy St. Paddy’s day, all!