Wednesday, October 07, 2015

When Baristas Talk About Sex at Starbucks

Will Work for Sex miami beach
Classic Sex and the Beach. Cartoon by Yours Truly, circa 2007.

"She does everything but vaginal when she has her period," said one Starbucks barista to his coffee colleague.

And so begins my tame evening in Miami Beach this Wednesday night with a creamy decaf to keep me company. After a few years of living on the mainland, I've returned to the scene of the crime. The heart of South Beach is my home for a spell.

I've come to the coffee shop to write and I overhear a conversation about sex during menstruation. So when baristas talk about sex, you have mundane epiphanies.

Ten years ago, I was amused by the fact that hunky Argentinians -- blessed with legs molded by soccer, limbs thicker than a juicy churrasco that would make any girl chimi her churri -- populated SoBe like so many cigarette butts in the sand. They were all named Alejandro. Seriously, all of them. Just ask the U.S. census. A massive cloud of chéromones clung to the atmosphere and blew our miniskirts like a warm, breezy douche spray on our stuffed empanadas.

Sex was in the air. Sex was everywhere. Sex and the Beach was born.

I worshipped at the altar of wanton.

Ten years later, it seems like the blog went from Lolita to Luddite over night. Where did the sex go? Did it really get 86'd at Lost Weekend? Did it end up in the bathroom stall at Club Deuce? Where is my futbol Adonis of yore? Having coffee at Manolo's with his wife and rug rats?

Ouch. Lights on, last call. Walk of shame toward this adulting thing. So very dull.

Maybe the sex got wiped out after a hurricane. Maybe it oozes out with the floodwaters in the storm drains. I told you South Beach was shallow. Literally. A barrier island afloat under the weight of luxury condos, silicon boobs and gold digger's pockets.

Cartoonist Hugh Macleod said it, too.

Ten years later, I write at Starbucks with a warm Americano instead of a sizzling Argentino. I worship at the altar of vagrant buddhas. I attend Town Hall meetings about the homeless and hang out with environmental activists who, like me, are witnesses to a paradise trashed. It's everything but shallow. Damn. People who live like they live here. People who care.

Don't let the hookah bars on Lincoln Road, the fishbowl drinks on Ocean Drive and the used condoms strewn on the beach fool you. Toss that glossy tourism brochure in the recycle bin. This is a real city --gritty and grimy, gaudy and glamorous -- all at once.

But yawn. How unbearably prosaic.

And then tonight, a glimmer of hope. The fucking barista is shouting in Spanish about the sexual proclivities of his girlfriend. A young woman walks in for a latte with boy shorts riding so far up her curvy butt cheeks, I'm reminded of the great South Beach sanitation crisis of 2006.

Thank God you didn't get all Kendall on me, South Beach, you crazy-ass island full of contradictions. Oh Beachhattan, I love you in all your decadent glory. Like me, you tell it like it is. You really do.

Except for one thing.

I lied. I know where the sex went ... I'm just not going to tell you.

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