Jail Bait

There was a time when Coconut Grove was my hangout of choice. Back then, I worshipped Kurt Cobain, wore ripped corduroys, and shoplifted at every opportunity. I'd get dropped off in front of CocoWalk by my mom. The only parts of my anatomy that I used for sexual encounters were my tongue and my index finger. Baja Beach Club (where Margarita Mama's/Banana Joe's is now) hosted summer teen nights, and you could still catch a new band called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids performing at the now-defunct Kitchen Club. It was 1994 and I was a misguided fourteen-year-old.

Over the years, the Grove has done little to shed its teenybop status. It's mojón central. I must admit, though, that college night on Thursdays can be raucous fun. That's not what coaxed me out there, though. Instead I was lured by the superhero chicks many of us have come to know as the Party Girls. But I'll get to them later.

Anyway, there I was, standing in front of the new Life nightclub with an enigma named Luis, and we were wondering why we felt so old. The line outside Life was down the block, and the fake ID set were on their cell phones, pretending to talk to somebody. All the chest-out, cock-and-rock posturing by these late-adolescent males made Luis nervous since I dragged him out there in his Louis Vuitton slippers, which made him feel less than tough. Most of these kids seemed to be students from FIU and Miami-Dade. They had to be; the UM crowd never ventures beyond the safe domain set up around the strip where places such as the Tavern, Sand Bar, and Mr. Moe's sit.

The UM'ers portion of the Grove bar scene can be summed up quickly: elbow to elbow, spilled beer, natural blondes, plenty of hollerin', and the occasional fart. So let me focus on the Mayfair end, where the bustle is just as busy but the air is filled with much more teenage pretense and desperation.

Down the street from Life is Quench. I thought it had closed down long ago, but it has apparently turned into a hot spot for truancy. The huge crowd hovering outside had to have a curfew. This one group of girls had me feeling dirty. None of them looked older than sixteen. Their little booties were tucked in size four jeans and skirts, their flat tummies were exposed ... I'll stop there. Point is, I couldn't believe they were trying to get in with a straight, nubile face (to Quench's credit, I never actually saw any of these little girls get through). Quench is eighteen and over on Thursdays, and the doormen had never heard of New Times, so I bequeathed the honor of paying a fifteen-dollar cover charge to the kids and went to the only bar on the block where I could act immature with other adults.

Inside the Corner Bar, reggae rhythms soothed my soul and the smell of incense clogged my nostrils. I made my way to a pool table in the back, and there they were, those insatiable Party Girls I've come to love.

Kirsten Pardo and Marcy Hine are examples for us all because they have found the perfect balance between modern maturity and fun. Sure, they work and study and even clean up after themselves, but they also find time for making movies, skydiving from airplanes, and riding their skateboards to the bar (Marcy has the big board, Kirsten rides the little one). They weren't always so true to themselves. That's right, these chicks were once dreaded sorority girls. Then they realized that happiness doesn't come from being accepted by those you actually hate, but something as simple as an extra packet of honey mustard or just the right amount of head (on a beer). They are so cool. Just don't touch the little one or the tall one gets overprotective. I couldn't help but grab at Kirsten's thighs when she lifted them in the air and asked me if she had "skater" legs. After a few seconds of groping, Marcy took action and proceeded to beat on me. Afterward, the dynamics of their relationship kept catching my attention.

As I drove them back to the Corner Bar from a cigarette mission, I asked Marcy, "Are you and Kirsten involved, like, romantically?"

Now Marcy has the most classic expressions I've ever seen. She has one of those faces where the upper lip is mostly still, so the rest of the mouth and cheeks overcompensate with movement. She's endearing, and it's hard for me to take my eyes off her sometimes. Anyway, she didn't give me the cutesy face, just a nasty stare down. "Wouldn't you like to know? Just drop us off right here," she said.