Rorschach testing at Seven Seas
Lucas is a ponytailed 34-year-old wearing a black T-shirt and a red bandanna around his head. He takes a long look at a jet-black inkblot that's skinny on top and fans out at the bottom and then proclaims, "It's a crab holding pompoms."
As he swirls a plastic cup containing tiny slivers of ice, whiskey, and a whole lot of water, I show him another Rorschach card. He slams his drink in one long gulp.
"That one is definitely a cello," he says. "Do you like Jell-O? I've always wanted to have sex in a bathtub full of Jell-O."
Seven Seas bar
Without missing a beat, he walks over to a front area that's decorated with a stop sign and an American flag. He grabs a mike and howls the lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird."
Ick. I hate karaoke. And this loon you cannot change.
Nevertheless, I've come to Seven Seas (2200 Red Rd., Miami; 305-266-6071) with a psychological inkblot test of about ten drawings that I downloaded from a site called deltabravo.net.
This is the perfect place to test for crazy clientele. The kitschy, Hemingway-inspired dive is covered in buoys, mounted fish, stuffed parrots, and mermaid busts. A random part of the ceiling is plastered with about 40 unmatched shoes and sandals ranging in color from pink to green to sky blue.
I don't have a fancy PhD, but I've watched a couple of episodes of Frasier, so I'm more than qualified to interpret a tall blonde named Renee's response to a card with two identical shapes that face each other.
"It looks like what the Coneheads did to have sex," says the 24-year-old, who's wearing loud, dangling, heavily beaded earrings. "All they're missing is that weird Christmas tassel-looking crown thing they wore around their heads. And maybe a Subway sub they can eat in two seconds... or was that foreplay?"
Has she ever witnessed sex and then regretted taking in the show?
"Yeah," she says solemnly as a blond corkscrew curl goes limp. "I once accidentally watched a porn starring my parents. I used to like to snoop around my dad's closet when he wasn't home and once found this unlabeled videotape and decided to watch it... I wish I hadn't."
It was interesting, then, that no more than a half-hour later, Renee was up front drunkenly singing the lyrics to the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself."
OK, so maybe she just has an everyday Electra complex. So I move on to a good-looking but lanky hipster type who has just finished off a monotone rendition of Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face."
Andy is sporting a gray fedora. A handful of tattoos peek out from beneath his rolled-up long-sleeve red plaid shirt. He ponders a black splatter similar to the one I showed Renee.
"It's two naked women, in love, putting their hands in pots and making guacamole for the tribe. It's all very primitive."
I ask him about the most primitive thing he's ever done. "Breaking a foosball table, in Prague when I was drunk, with a chair because it wouldn't give me the ball after I paid two bucks."
On the lush back patio, parasols shade tables, and broken toilets serve as chairs. Before I can pop a squat, I'm greeted by Carlos, a tan Cuban with deep-set eyes and close-cropped silver hair. We exchange a few words, he in broken English, me in broken Spanish. Maybe there was something lost in translation, because instead of telling me what he sees in an inkblot, he offers a key bump with enough snow to blanket Aspen.
Before I can partake, Holly approaches. The boobalicious 24-year-old, with big lips, blue eyes, and a body that looks great in skinny jeans, pinches a nostril and clears the key without uttering a word.
Does she know Carlos?
"Never met him before," Holly says, sniffling.
Sanity? Try Brian and Jen, a couple of regulars. Brian, a husky blond rocker in his mid-20s whom I watched sing Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me," eyes a Rorschach and responds, "That looks like a guy with a giant..." Then he points out both heads, "and see, right there are his feet."
Another inkblot card, says Brian's cute brunet girlfriend Jen, "looks like the Eiffel Tower." She's rocking a denim miniskirt, boots, a long tube top, lots of eye makeup, and a studded belt. "I mean, like the sex position. See, there's the girl on all fours and two guys on either side of her, giving each other a high-five."
I like these two, so I fess up. I'm testing the sanity of karaoke lovers.
"It's fun!" Jen says. "You should sing something yourself."
"Don't knock it till you've tried it," Brian adds.
OK, OK. I walk back inside the bar and spot Janelle, a petite, sweet-looking 22-year-old with a short, fem pixie haircut. She's piping out her third song of the night, "Zombie" by the Cranberries.
This time I decide to administer an oral test: "Have you ever done anything you thought you should be committed for doing?"
"I dated this guy for a month and we had a very intense relationship. While we were dating, he came over to my house and asked me to start writing him a book. I did what he asked and wrote or drew him something every day until his birthday... in my own blood."
Janelle then shows me her fingertips and points to a few faint scars where it looks like she sliced her flesh.
"Did he ask you to write the book in your own blood?"
"No, that was my idea. I thought it was more personal that way. And although we broke up only a few weeks after he asked me to start writing the book, I still continued writing it. Months later, I gave it to him on his birthday. And I don't think he even opened it. What a jerk."
Yeah. That does it. No karaoke for me.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.