I had to. I could see no other way to make up for the night before. See, we'd taken a room at Hotel Ocean, a boutique resort smack on Ocean Drive, to do some pretty hard, ahem, work: We needed an appropriate setting for blind taste tests of this year's releases of edible body paints, oils, creams, and rubs.
The hotel turned out to be ideal. Located over Les Deux Fontaines restaurant on Twelfth Street and Ocean Drive and somewhat less noticeable than its Casa Casuarina neighbor, Hotel Ocean is the definition of inner beauty: ocean-view suites furnished with pieces from the Thirties; Mediterranean-style bathrooms; the all-important wet bar; blackout curtains in varying shades of harbor blues shielding soundproof windows; valet laundry; 24-hour guest services (especially helpful for making reservations at particular restaurants and nightclubs); complimentary breakfast and newspapers. Who knew? The last time I stayed on Ocean Drive was in 1990 -- that's prerenovation, folks -- when I would fly in from California to visit my husband (then fiancé). We'd plunk down $40 for a room the size of a storage shed that had about as much soundproofing as a firing range. Not that it mattered. In those prekid days, we were far more likely to be on the street making the noise than cursing it from a bed that smelled like mildew.
As for the body paints, well, that's where the apology part comes in. Without getting too detailed -- I'm not Carrie Bradshaw for chrissakes -- let me just say I have never felt the need to venture beyond the standards set by 9 1/2 Weeks and poor medical-school students: whipped cream, Hershey's chocolate syrup, the occasional bathtub filled with Jell-O. Why spring for a $20 box of Kama Sutra "Honey Dust" when honey itself costs only a couple of bucks in the grocery store?
For the texture, of course. Most of these paints and oils have been specially formulated to give the skin certain benefits -- make it smoother, more slippery, hotter, colder, you name it. But because texture is so important for these lotions, taste becomes compromised. Edible? Yes, they are -- as in ingestible. They won't poison you. But some of them could make you spit up.
So for what it's worth, our tasting notes follow. My husband and I ranked the products on a scale of 100. You can see by most of the numbers why I needed to make it up to him. As for the pasta boobs, which I picked up at Compass Market down the street from Les Deux Fontaines (along with penis-shaped gummies and "nipple mints" for dessert), I overcooked 'em. And I'd apologize to dear hubby again, but hell, I've had two kids. Flabby pecs and Hershey's syrup are what he's used to. Why ruin a good thing?
Chocoholics Divine Desserts: Body Frosting, Original Sin Chocolate
Glorious inky-black hue with a mocha-colored rim. Alluring scents of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and leather. Mouth-filling and rich with concentrated chocolate flavors. A hint of cinnamon punctuates the long, seductive finish. A little too slow to dry, but the bristly pastry brush that comes with it is a nice touch -- literally.
Chocoholics Divine Desserts: Body Frosting, Wild Cherry Chocolate
Brooding purple-black hue. Jammy aromas of black cherry and bittersweet chocolate complemented by a breakfastlike whiff of ground coffee beans and toast. Luscious fruit flavors drive the chocolate home. A lingering, spicy close. Wild indeed.
Chocoholics Divine Desserts: Body Frosting, Spicy Cinnamon Chocolate
Saturated garnet hue with radiant brown highlights. Intense scents of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and cocoa beans. Lean, racy flavors of bitter and exotic spice belie a smooth entry. A silky finish, with echoes of cinnamon. Not your mom's apple pie.
Tom and Sally's Handmade Chocolates: Chocolate Body Paint
Full-bodied and dense, the color of brown suede. Rich, milky aromas with secondary scents of caramel and vanilla. Velvety texture and milk-chocolate flavors. A wet, slightly gloppy finish. Keep a washcloth handy.
Wet Fun Flavors: Tropical Fruit Lubricant
Sesame-oil hues with gold lowlights. A tremulous nose reveals itself only on skin with cloying hints of candle wax, suntan lotion, and coconut milk. Intense strawberry and melon flavors and a barely perceptible tendency to heat the skin. Like a stinky cheese, it's hard to get past the smell.
Doc Johnson Enterprises: Passion Fruit Body Butter
Light amethyst hue with a saturated rim. Shy wisps of rose, tropical fruit, and body lotion. Palate-coating texture and faint flavors of vanilla and paraffin. The cloying close goes on and on and on and on and on. About as appealing as the Donner party.
Cherry Body Lubricant: Sheet-staining hues of cough syrup and Kool-Aid. Syrupy cherry nose with Popsicle impressions. Deep, penetrating flavors of black cherry, wild cherry, Bing cherry, and Rainier cherry. Not the best year for Spanish Fly, even with bottle age.
Kama Sutra: Massage Cream, Cool Mint
Avocado tint the color of Sixties kitchen appliances. Strong presence of dentist-office mouthwash and mentholated cigarettes. Slight wintergreen taste and cooling effect on skin can't make up for a crisp, steely finish that doesn't come off even in the shower. Wash your sheets twice.
Kama Sutra: Bathing Gel, Wild Clove
Straw yellow in the bottle but mostly clear in the palm. Spicy scents of clove, patchouli, and old kitchen cabinets once infested with mice. Fluffy lather and wedding-shower sachet flavors that provoke a gag reflex. Mom always told you not to drink the bathwater.
Liquid Love: Piña Colada Body Lubricant
The color of burnished urine. Sticky-sweet overtones of coconut and pineapple with a hint of suntan oil and a lasting impression of grease. Strong tropical taste tingles on the tongue, but no ingredients listed on the package makes for a finish that gives pause. Don't try this at home.