By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Karen, a 24-year-old, mocha-skinned beauty spiced up with cinnamon-colored stilettos and a Cindy Crawford mole, strokes the thin black straw floating in her clear cocktail. "Sometimes I dream about directing my own high-art porn," she says with a Jamaican accent. "And I'd name it Latex."
Sexy — for a rubber fetishist. But if the smell of a racquetball doesn't get you going, there's always Bardot (3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-576-5570), a provocative new lounge with a Kate Moss-ear/Calvin Klein-ad-approved crowd. Everything here suggests hedonism, overindulgence, and flights of fancy (copiloted by a monkey) that'll have you zipping (with a rocket pack) around castles (made of diamonds and ice cream) in the sky. There are cans of Guinness served in frosted glass mini-steins, crystal ashtrays, and a frivolous wooden cabinet packed with antique silver goblets, decorative collages, and paintings of naked women. Then there's the DJ's penchant for playing Led Zeppelin and the Police.
"My fantasy is that I'm so cool that everyone wants to give me free stuff no matter what it is," says Alex, a tall, dark, and lanky fellow who's leaning against a Playboy pinball machine.
"What if someone wants to give you nothing but free tampons?" I ask, noting his T-shirt that pictures a stripper with a caption that reads, "I Support Single Moms."
"Just so long as it's free tampons and batteries, that's cool."
Next I shift my attention to Alex's buddy Rob, a 30-year-old with a Brian Krakow white-boy 'fro and the gall to wear sunglasses in a dimly lit bar.
"I'd like to have sex with some endangered species," he says, "you know, just to say I did it before they're extinct."
Realizing Rob might be a bigger threat to polar bears than carbon gas emissions, I head to the bar, which is embellished with hanging metallic orbs. I order a stiff one.
"I always wanted to have sex in public places," says Courtney, a gangly 29-year-old with a koi inked on the inside of her left wrist. "So when I started dating a guy who was down with that, I went crazy. I had sex in my back yard, in the ocean when it was packed at the beach — we even did it in a church parking lot!" she says as a smirk of pride parts her thin, heavily painted red lips. "But one day, it backfired on me. We were passing Tropical Park, and for some reason, I had this sudden urge."
It must've been the carnival rides at Santa's Enchanted Forest.
"So I told my boyfriend at the time to pull over into this random complex. And in the middle of doing it in his car, in the parking lot, in broad daylight, I noticed this guy staring at us from some apartment window. And I don't know, it used to be the thrill of getting caught that excited me, but once it happened, it just creeped me out."
Dave, a 38-year-old with wavy silver tresses and a small frame draped nicely in a clean white button-down, has been nursing a whiskey for so long it's gone from being on the rocks to having a splash of water.
"I may look pretty normal," he says with the same charisma Ted Bundy sprinkled on his victims, "but I can have a pretty fucked-up imagination. So I think I'd like to be alone in a roomful of those real dolls, you know, the ones that look almost like real women? That way I can do whatever disgusting thing that pops into my head without any kind of judgment."
He smiles. "Did I mention that I would also love to be a professional zombie hunter?"
Hold up. I might regret asking this, but what do the living dead have to do with kink?
"Nothing, but having that as a profession is another one of my fantasies. And that's what you're looking for, isn't it? Peoples' fantasies?"
OK, fair enough.
"And my zombie fantasy, like others that I've had, may or may not involve things like... duct tape."
As Dave gets up from his barstool to partake in a game of pool in the far left corner, he adds, "And punching."
Sitting pretty in a short purple skirt on a small, secluded suede couch near the bar is Marissa. She's 25, has short bleach-blond hair and charcoal-black eyes, and is pretending to read a book the lounge uses as one of its many arbitrary, sophisticated props.
"I would like to transform into Medusa," she says, revealing two very pointy eye teeth. "I'd use the snakes to steal from one-night-stands' pockets while we're having sex and then use my eyes afterward to turn them to stone before they try to cuddle with me. That way, I wouldn't have to get all emotional and I would never have to speak with them ever again."
Plus your bedroom would look like that Greek/Roman statue room at the Louvre.
"Right," Marissa responds sarcastically, and before she can say anything else, a management type with an almighty clipboard gets all up in our grills.
"Hi, ladies," she says with a Bill Lumbergh drawl. "I'm going to have to ask you to leave. This table's been reserved." An emaciated couple decked out in frilly Arab scarves, ankle boots, and black-lace leggings struts over and takes our spot. As they smugly side-eye us as if we're vermin, I live out a fantasy by cleaning all the discarded gum wrappers, receipts, and empty cigarette packs out of my purse. Then I dump everything, including my empty glass of gin, on their ever-so-precious tabletop. Marissa laughs, but right before the inevitable confrontation, Punch, a busser with a ponytail of thin braids and the face of Snoop Dogg, swoops in and cleans up the mess with ninja-like speed.