Wednesday, April 17, 2013

About Joseph, Jesus and Then A Guy Whose Name I Can’t Even Pronounce Because It Has a Silent T


I was with someone for eight months named Joseph. I loved him dearly. It ended.  Well, he ended it. But that’s not what this story is about.

This is about lifting yourself up from the ground no sooner than you fall.  I used to ice skate, remember? You fall. So what? Get up and continue gliding on ice with your entire body -- which in my case involves a large, luscious Cuban ass and some nice tatas – yeah, all of that good womanhood hoisted upon on a tiny sliver of metal.

See? It’s a metaphor for life. I put my entire weight on it. I put my entire faith in this relationship. But it didn’t work out.

 We’re all skating on thin ice sometimes but if you’ve got strong ankles and a strong spirit, nothing is going to stop you.

Not even falling out of love when you want to fall in love.

When you want to be in love.

When you are love.

When you simply already are love -- a love that is not waiting to happen, because it’s already there.

 It’s a love that’s waiting to be acknowledged and appreciated by the right guy.

And there’s the rub. Finding love in Miami is not like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s like finding that one special bacteria on that heroin dealer’s needle that you almost accidentally stepped on while doing the Wynwood art walk some second Saturday in a rainy August afternoon.

Yeah, it’s that rare. That precious.

So after some coaxing from friends, I did it.

I joined an online dating site, something I swore I would never do again.

My past experiences with online dating yielded an amazing friendship with Creepy Guy from Spain, who turned out to be not so creepy, although he did try groping my thighs during lunch in Madrid, but I forgave him for that, because he taught me how to drink sherry the right way, with the sweet liquid lingering halfway between your palate and throat.

And who could blame him for wanting a piece of me?

But alas, romance never evolved. He ended up marrying a Russian bride and they had a baby while we developed a long-lasting friendship. What’s more, he ended up hiring me for a writing project.

Yes, my online date across the Atlantic, who never got past the scrimmage line of my quadriceps, became a client.

But it’s called online dating, folks. Not networking. It’s not like you use Linkedin for romance. Good grief!

So, you can imagine how scary it was to click on on my browser this time around.

Did I really want to go back there? Was I going to meet another creepy thigh groper who would hire me for my mad wordsmithing skills?

Or, if I really put all my faith into this journey, if I became open-minded, threw out the checklist and “interviewed” every pinga in Miami, would I meet someone new who would be worthy of my love and affection?

Well, that wasn’t going to happen with my old online profile. I changed my name, photos and proudly boasted I was “big and beautiful.” Too bad there isn’t a physical description category that says “fucking normal, sometimes I buy shirts at Lane Bryant."

First of all, my profile name used to be churrocaliente, which means “hot fried dough pastry covered with sugar” but I figured that now, at age 45, I should choose a moniker that is more appropriate in describing the classy, elegant and wise woman I’ve become.

Now the thing is, for the sake of privacy, I can’t tell you my current online profile name, but I assure you, it’s as cool, clean, crisp and colorful as a Lilly Pulitzer dress.

Navigating the current online dating scene challenged me. It’s different now then when I met my dear Creepy Guy.

These days, you can wink at people “for free,” send emails and even create a fake phone number before you take the step of giving him your real number.  You know, just in case he’s the booty call you never wanted to meet.

But here’s what I don’t get.

See, when a woman first joins an online dating site, she’s like a piece of rotting chicken in a pool of ravenous piranhas, quite the tasty morsel in a feeding frenzy. Sure, there’s plenty of fish out there, but it’s a fish eat fish world, and really, why tease me with your winks when you don’t follow through?

Good grief, if you’re going to eat this juicy pollo, eat me right, for pete’s sake.

If a guy can’t lift a “finger” after you wink back at him, he shows no promise of rising to the occasion.

But it’s not just about this new-fangled online courtship technology.

I think I have a literacy problem here in Miami.

The first guy I talked to -- via the fake phone number, of course -- I couldn’t even understand him. He was from the Caribbean and very sad, a poor soul looking for a green card. Sorry, not for me.

The second guy I talked to was from the Midwest and sounded like an automated voice call. I thought he had a tracheotomy at first and when prompted to speak he gave rote answers that made me think of the proverbial teacher in Peanuts, wa wa wa wa wa.

And then, salvation.

Jesus came along. Oh my God! He was actually literate. He spoke English. He spoke Spanish. And we talked. We talked for hours on end.

But, as a born Catholic and believer in God, I pondered long and hard about the idea of dating a man named Jesus when my love had been Joseph and my name is Maria.

You see, Maria was put in an awful predicament. She had a baby daddy named God, gave birth to Jesus and still had to put up with husband Joseph. And this was back in the day before Real Housewives of Bethlehem on BRAVO.

Good lord! What if I were to call out his name during sex? I mean isn't that redundant? Would I have to say "oh Jesus, Jesus?" And if I say "oh my God" would I be offending his father? If we bathed together, would that be baptism? And would I have to buy specialty salt scrubs from the Dead Sea?

If we had bread and wine would that be the last supper? How terribly depressing! I would be worried that I would never break bread with him again after every Sabbath!

And can you imagine the wedding invite: "Jesus and Maria cordially invite you to their holy union."

Holy mother of God you can't marry your mother!

Christ Almighty, what if I were an atheist? How would I then feel about his name popping on my caller ID?

But I gave Jesus a chance. After all, if we went out on a date, he could turn my Pellegrino water into a Chardonnay.

And it’s Miami, after all. I figured that if I did end up having a relationship with Jesus, I could just call him “papi” -- you know, just to avoid the awkwardness of it -- never mind that if I had to yell at him in a public space, every guy’s head in the room would turn around and all eyes would land on me.

In fact, I would love to walk into Casola’s Pizza one night and holler “papi.”  I bet every mouth in the dining hall would stop chomping. And every wife in the room would think that I was having an affair with her husband.

Jesus and I did eventually meet in person. Nice guy, but I’m not sure if I’m going to see him again. You see, he’s a hunter and can shoot and skin a wild boar without hesitation, but he’s also afraid of anthropods.

So, while we chatted and had our first and only drink together so far, I imagined that scene from Annie Hall, with Diane Keaton calling Woody Allen about a spider the size of a Buick.

“Oh hi mamasita, here’s a half ton tasty pig I just roasted after shooting him with packed heat in Ocala, but can you please spray some Raid on this tiny spider?”

To be fair though, Jesus seems like the kind of guy who could catch a fish and build a house.  He’s got beautiful hazel eyes, backbone and chutzpah -- not a bad thing to have around during hurricane season in South Florida. See? Jesus. Fisherman. Carpenter.

The next guy on my list to meet is from a now undisclosed country in Europe. He speaks English beautifully, with a slightly lilting accent that transports me to the moment when decades ago, I had strawberry ice cream in a German village. His name is in no way related to any major spiritual historical being but it does have a silent T. In fact, I might even have to practice pronouncing it.

I told you I had a literacy problem.

I am grateful for Joseph and Jesus though and thankful for all the men on my quest to find the one who will put up with me in that so-called forever, long-lasting crazy thing called love.

I don’t believe in fairy tales, but I do believe in love.  Some day, the shoe will fit and I will wear it. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll enjoy saying his name during sex without cracking up.

Keep the faith, ladies.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Romancing the Keys: Escape From Miami at Hilton Key Largo Resort

No, it's not the Caribbean. But pretty damn close. Thank heaven for that.

In my never-ending search for Miami getaways -- folks, that means I want to get away from Miami, not tourists coming to Miami -- I discovered the Hilton Key Largo Resort.  It all happened while I was organizing the annual unconference SxSe, aka South by Southeast. Mind you, that was a social media tweetup with a bunch of local geeks, yet I couldn’t help but notice how darn romantic this property was, nestled on the west side of a very narrow strip of key.

And because I was so impressed, I'm including it in my Romancing the Keys series -- so jot it down for possible quick, one-hour escapes from Miami to the north Florida Keys.

Talk about getting away. For me, Florida Bay views outdo the Atlantic. Yes, the ocean is to be revered, but it gets washed out in certain lighting conditions and has no structure. There’s something about the turquoise and teal waters of the bay, outlined by green mangrove islands, that provides relief for eyes tired of so much urban concrete congestion.

Having fished and explored most of Miami's coastline, I can absolutely assure you there is no place in Miami-Dade with the same, expansive view.

A Florida hammock surrounds the resort, which was, again, so easy on the eyes. The manicured wilderness brought me closer to nature while enjoying creature comforts and I never had to worry about my ass being chased by an alligator. (Yes, I've actually had to worry about that in the past.) If you're squeamish about hardcore Florida backcountry experiences, this locale provides just the right 101 introductory and most elegant course for you.

The 12.5 acre forest features a trail with a ScoutAbout activity that's mainly designed for kids, but it's also a hoot (please excuse the pun) if you are a tree hugger nerd like me. And it's just plain pretty.

The resort’s beach is shallow, but very calm since it’s not highly affected by the pounding waves of the Atlantic on the other side of the key. One word: relaxing. Actually, two words: absolutely relaxing.  Pull up a lounge chair, plunk it in the water and laze to your heart’s content while sipping a cocktail from the tiki bar. If you're sun-phobic like me, there's still plenty of shade under the old-growth trees to enjoy the outdoors without risk of sunburn. (Sunburn doesn't make for good sexual intimacy. Trust me.)

I won’t be the one to tell you to frolic in the private saltwater beach at night (and if you do go for a moonlight dip, keep it to yourselves), but for insatiable water babies there’s also two pools and a giant jacuzzi on the south side of the resort.

The potential for a snooze is high here. Be forewarned.

The resort is family-friendly, but it all shuts down early enough at night for those who prefer quiet romance. My room faced the small beach, which had easy access to the water and a long dock where I sat under the stars conversing with my sweetheart in comfortable lounge chairs. Our plush king-size bed was just a stroll away.  I won't tell you what happened next.

If “sex with a view” is on your list, then do book a room a couple of stories higher – it’s absolutely breathtaking and peaceful.

Room with a view. Of course, when I see this, I think about what fish I could catch, not necessarily nooky.

The upstairs restaurant also boasts the same sweeping view of Florida Bay, a body of water that is important to the state’s natural ecosystem. Paraglide from above, paddleboard on the flats or take a nature tour with the hotel’s outdoor activity concessionaire, Caribbean Watersports, and see it with your own eyes.

On Friday nights, enjoy live acoustic music making your own s’mores over a bonfire on the beach. If you think s’mores are the camping treats of young scouts, try kissing your beloved while chomping on a yummy graham cracker laden with gooey chocolate and marshmallow. Just make sure the kids aren’t looking if the kisses are naughty.  Tip: there’s plenty of room in the nature path for a quick smooching escapade.

My sweetheart actually won a trophy for most creative s'more.  Go ahead, try it.  Be goofy and have fun.

Local bar and dining options outside the property include the laid-back Pilot House, which serves fresh seafood daily, with a rockin' spicy conch chowder -- seriously, I still salivate thinking about it and I'm a huge stickler about conch, it's an aphrodisiac, after all!  Also, their reasonable happy hour food and drink specials bring shame to any price-gouging waterfront Miami Beach establishment.

Hilton Key Largo Resort is definitely on my list of “wish I was there and not in Miami” Florida Keys spots. We traveled there in late September and the weather was absolutely perfect, but I hope I don’t have to wait until then to return.


I paid for all my expenses but I did get a media rate for my room and free wi-fi. All opinions, as always, are my own.