A True Story—Sort Of
South Florida’s only public nude beach is at Haulover Inlet, at the northern edge of Miami. The two legged scenery is sometimes breath-taking. At other times, the scenery is less than inspiring. But the beach itself is a glorious, wide, clean, tan band of sand that gradually tapers into the clear blue-green of the ocean. By unstated custom, gays and lesbians usually lounge at the north end of the beach and straight men and women at the south end. There’s a lot of mixing between the denizens of both groups and frequently gays and straights, men and women, play intense games of volleyball with all flappable parts flapping.
But I digress. In late April I was at Haulover spread out on a low beach chair in all my pristine glory. However, in keeping with my personal policy of Truth in Advertising, I must admit, at my age, my glory is hardly pristine. It would take more than plastic surgery to restore me to pristine. Exceedingly dark glasses and failing eyesight would improve the view.
I was visiting with two friends on adjacent chairs when a nice looking, well-built, middle-aged chap strolled up and began talking with my friends. I thought they knew each other. To my surprise, after a few minutes my friends abandoned their conversation and left for a walk down the beach. Mr. Nilowebumac (nice looking, well-built, middle-aged chap) began a conversation with me. Twenty minutes later, when my friends returned, Mr. Nilowebumac and I were still talking.
Before he returned to his patch of sand, I retrieved my wallet from my shorts pocket and gave him my card. He was planning to meet a guy he’d met in France years ago for dinner that evening. In the morning he’d fly back to his home in California. The Frenchman had moved to New Jersey, married, had two sons and recently purchased a condo in Fort Lauderdale—a block from the gay beach. A coincidence? Maybe. But to my grizzled gray gay brain it hardly seemed a coincidence. I asked him to e-mail me the details of his date. My e-mail address was on the card.
“Is your French friend gay, or isn’t he?” I questioned.
Mr. Nilowebmac, who’s first name it turned out was Randy (how appropriate!) said, “I really don’t know. I’m not sure he knows. I’ve never had sex with him—and he’s married.”
“Look, I was married too. And you’ve never had sex with me, but I’d wager you’ve figured out I’m gay.”
“Oh, you’re gay?” Randy laughed. “Haulover does kind of give you away.”
“You’ve got my e-mail address, so I want a blow-by-blow account, so to speak, of your evening with Frenchie when you get back to California. Don’t leave any of the details out.”
Saluting smartly as he left, Randy’s final comment was, “Yes, Sir.”
A week went by and I dismissed the meeting with Randy as an interesting beach interlude. Then, ten days after our meeting, this e-mail arrived.
We met last Wednesday at Haulover, chatted briefly and before we knew it we had friends in common. Anyway, you gave me your card and I think I mentioned it looked familiar. How about February 2004? I remember the conversation. You’d been married, had three children, ex-wife living in the Caribbean. You’re a pediatrician who worked in Washington with the pharmaceutical industry. Your partner’s some twenty years younger. That be u? The phone # and e-mail are different on your current card. I can’t believe I was staying just a block away from your condo. Maybe next time we can car pool to Haulover and save all that gas money—go green or something. Hope to see you next time in S. FL. Take care,
I responded the same day.
Randy—The fact that I’m hearing from you must mean you made it back to Palm Springs, or Palm Desert, or Hearts of Palm, or wherever you hole up for most of the year. I’m intrigued by the February 2004 encounter, which sadly, I don’t recall. Please tell me we never had sex. If we did, all I can say is it wasn’t memorable. I should recall that. To answer your question, all the data fits, “Yes. It be me.”
It was good to hear from you but you didn’t tell me about your date of Wednesday evening with Frenchie. You were trying to figure out whether or not he was gay. And you thought he might be trying to figure out the same thing. I have every confidence, if you spent the evening with him, he’s more enlightened now than he was before your date. I’m waiting to hear. Stay well,
P.S. Of course I remember you from last Wednesday at Haulover. It’s not every day I get cruised by a charmer. You don’t give yourself credit. Definitely, you’re memorable. Just don’t ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday. It wasn’t memorable.
P.P.S. I’ll be happy to car pool to Haulover on your next visit. But please, green is not my color. When I wear it, the resemblance to E.T. is striking.
The following day, another e-mail.
So, you do remember me, but not our first meeting. You must have winked at me or something because I surely would not have walked up to a complete stranger at a nude beach and started a conversation. On that occasion we talked and talked while I discreetly admired you—just like last Wednesday.
Yes, the guy is from Paris originally, and that’s where I met him the first time. He used to live in New Jersey with his wife and now is living in Fort Lauderdale in a condo near the gay beach and in the middle of the gay guest houses. He says it was strictly an accident. I say, SURE. We met at his condo and had a glass or two of champagne. Then, off to dinner. I took him to High Life Café and afterward asked if he’d like to check out a gay resort hotel. Of course, the answer was YES. We get to the one I was staying at and, wouldn’t you know, there were two guys making out in the pool—naked I might add. It didn’t seem to faze him. Then to the room. Now that’s the next chapter, or e-mail. Every good story has a cliff-hanger.
Take care and I’ll send Chapter Two, upon your response. Not sure how much detail you want.
Of course I responded immediately. Well, almost immediately. Like a first date, I didn’t want to seem too anxious.
Randy—You have me hanging on tenter-hooks waiting for the next installment. I’m drooling in anticipation. Are you sure you’re not a novelist or short story writer? The evening’s off to a good start, you make it into your bedroom, then what? I can’t stand the suspense. Do send me the next installment, and stay well.
P.S. You forced me to look up “tenter-hooks.” I wasn’t sure there was such a word or that I was using it correctly. According to my old friend Daniel Webster, the definition is “any of the hooked nails that hold cloth on a tenter.” Guess that figures. Now all I have to do is find out what a tenter is.
To be continued...
John Siegfried, a former Rehoboth resident, lives in Ft. Lauderdale. He can be reached at email@example.com.