All the while, as I move from one spot to another, Naomi is tossing out descriptions and explanations that would make 75-year-women in other cities blush. But hey, this is South Beach, where there's a wild nightclub and a sex shop on the same block. It's all natural.
After watching a few Ferraris and Porches go by, driven by people who don't look like they need to compensate for anything, I drive my far less glamorous car out to Dezer Collection. This car museum, just opened in 2011, is billed as "the greatest classic car showroom on Earth," a claim I thought might be pure bluster until I walked inside. And walked. And walked some more. The place holds more than 1,200 vehicles packed in tightly, from the dawn of the Model T to a DeLorean from Back to the Future.
It's obvious from the cars, the innuendos in the movie posters, and even the costumed mannequins inside the vehicles that it didn't take long for car designs to go from automobile to autoerotic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the James Bond collection room. The world's best-known spy has traveled to more than 50 countries in his pursuit of evil maniacs and when on the move, usually drives a very sexy car. The Dezer Collection has a whole series of them, including six gadget-equipped Aston Martins (one valued at $1.25 million), a Lotus with a ski rack from For Your Eyes Only, and the "Wet Nellie" Lotus that transformed into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me.
The movie posters and other memorabilia draw the formula clearly: drive a cool car, drink martinis, and look suave. You'll get the girl all right. Just to bring the point home, there's a naked golden mannequin on a bed above one of Bond's cars.
After just two days of seeing men who spend half their days pumping iron and women who only look at the salads section of the menu, I start to understand why the beautiful people have trouble standing out. Perhaps that explains the flashy string bikinis with a thong adorned in fake diamonds for sale at one boutique or the running shorts that only come halfway down the perfect asses of women jogging down the boardwalk. It does catch my eye when a naturally busty woman appears on the beach walkway with a black string bikini that is little more than strings. As I watch for a few seconds through my dark sunglasses, her mother suddenly appears, scolding her for not putting her cover-up on after leaving the sand.
A man could get in trouble in a place like this.
I head back to my South Beach hotel, pack up my things, and drive downtown to the Viceroy Hotel, a place I'm reviewing for a lodging website. There are some beautiful people there too, but they're no longer the majority. They wear clothing covering more than ten percent of their body. They spend less than ten percent of their waking hours sculpting their bodies.
We're still in Miami, but the beauty looks like it requires more effort. I walk across a balcony looking down on the co-ed hot tubs in the Philippe Starck spa and see a Left Coast looking couple that's my age, but is doing their best to look younger. His dyed hair is expensively cut, her boob job done by the finest surgeon. Their lack of laugh lines when they talk is telling.
Here in the downtown district, they've still got one eye on South Beach though. The peer pressure from days of seeing perfect bodies drives me to work out in the hotel gym my last morning, where a sign advertising their personal training program says, "Get a permanent beach body!"
Thanks, but no thanks. I'm happy drinking my craft beer, ordering what I really want on the restaurant menu, and making exercise one thing on the to-do list instead of the thing that dominates my day. I'm one of the imperfect, which in every other place is the majority.
It's been fun South Beach, but I've gotta go back to somewhere I belong. I'm not too sexy and I know it.
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