"I know a girl everyone calls Firecrotch," drawls Alex, a blond, 21-year-old surfer chick wearing flip-flops and a loosely braided side ponytail. "And it's not because she's a redhead."
"She was at a house party, was really tanked, and about to piss her pants. The line for the bathroom was superlong, so she went to a dark corner in the yard and started to pee. Midstream, she, like, suddenly stopped and ran out of the bushes with her pants down. Ends up she squatted over a huge red-ant pile and they crawled up and... bit her."
Alex downs a specialty beer called a Triple Screw while sitting at the L-shaped auburn bar of Titanic Restaurant & Brewery (5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables; 305-668-1742). Across the way, a picture window displays large vats fermenting amber suds. Nearby is a vast array of liquor bottles that would look more appropriate scattered throughout a frat boy's dorm room among puka shell necklaces, puke stains, and empty roofie bottles.
University of Miami party school
The bar and restaurant are decked out in an olive/burnt-sienna color scheme, streamers of University of Miami miniflags, and green crushed-velvet curtains. Titanic sits on the fringes of the school, which last Thursday kicked off the biggest party time of the year by beating the crap out of Florida A&M's football team 45-0. UM's beer-pong-and-bong set is still stinging, however, from a slip on Playboy's Top 10 Party Schools list from number one in 2009 to number four in 2010.
So which is it? Animal house or sober house?
"I was once at a party where someone randomly decided to spray Mace in the middle of a big crowd," says Jake, a moppy-haired 23-year-old who has attempted to tame his mane by squeezing it into a tight Canes baseball cap. "Right after he sprayed it, like, 25 people started freaking out and began screaming. They all ran into the bathroom at once and were desperately trying to wash the Mace out of their eyes. Some people were even dunking their heads in the toilet."
Then his buddy Ryan — a sandy-haired 22-year-old with a toothy smile and cheeks reddened by rum — joins the conversation. "I was once at a small get-together where someone actually set off a firework in the middle of the living room," he says. "It was one of those big, illegal bottle-rocket-looking ones too. This guy stuck the stick of the firework in a half-full bottle of vodka and then lit it. Luckily, as soon as I saw him light the wick, I jumped over a couch and ducked for dear life, but there was glass everywhere when it exploded, and the curtains set on fire. Surprisingly, though, no one got hurt... except for the vodka."
Which is the biggest tragedy of all. At any self-respecting party school, ambivalent alcohol assignation would be grounds for expulsion! Just ask Jessica, a lanky, 22-year-old brunette with bloodshot eyes and a short, spiky ponytail that flares out from behind her head like pineapple leaves. As evidenced by the fact that she's dancing in front of a small stage even though the classic rock band has been on break for ten minutes, girlfriend seems like Grey Goose is surging through her veins.
"I was once at a party and was pretty bored," she says. "It was another standard kegger with the same standard people I see all the time. So I decided to snort two Xani bars."
Sounds like a great idea!
"Things get kind of blurry after that, but I remember telling a friend of mine I wanted to kiss a girl and never had, so the next thing I know, there was this really big crowd around me yelling, 'Kiss, kiss, kiss!' and this kind of ugly, dirty girl standing in front of me, wanting to make out. So I kissed her for, like, a second and was kind of grossed-out."
So what did Jessica do next? Join the Traditional Values Coalition?
"I spent the rest of the night sitting on a couch, getting into an argument with someone's cat. He was giving me major attitude, I think."
As the band walks back onstage and sound-tests its instruments, I head outside. Kelly, a tan 21-year-old with large green eyes and hair the color of a mouse's coat, sits slouched on the sidewalk.
"My older sister used to throw these parties with the same people every week. They were a pretty close-knit clique, so one day they decided to throw a themed party where everyone would dress up as someone else in the group. They'd act like that person for the entire night. My sister decided to dress up as this guy with messy long hair who always drank Jack Daniel's from the bottle. So she found an old, ratty wig; put it on; and downed Jack straight all night. She ended up on the roof of her house, howling at the moon."
Kelly flashes a Cheshire Cat smile.
"And there was this other guy in the group who'd always get so wasted within the first 20 minutes of every party that he'd get naked and jump in the pool. So one girl showed up in nothing but a beach towel."
"Speaking of naked people and pools," says Jillian, Kelly's innocent-looking, lithe-bodied friend with jagged teeth and long, dark wavy hair, "I went to this toga party where everyone was, well, pretty much revealing everything. Or if they weren't, the guys who were throwing the party would eventually disrobe everyone. It was pretty epic. At the end of the night, everyone went skinny-dipping in the pool."
Back inside, while chilling with a Bombay Sapphire and tonic, I spot Alex again and take the seat next to her. As she polishes off yet another pint of Triple Screw, she shares another Firecrotch tale.
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"We were at this other party — after she had earned the nickname, mind you — where someone had lit a bunch of tea candles and placed them all over a coffee table. Sloshed, Firecrotch walked by it and tripped over the table, literally setting her crotch on fire. We couldn't stop laughing for hours, and later that night, her boyfriend, so embarrassed by her stupid drunken ways, broke up with her."
Wow. Red ants, burning loins, and getting dumped? Now that's a triple screw.