What better place to start with my tour of Gay Fort Lauderdale than the Number One Reason why gays, straights and Martians come here in the winter? For the sun, stupid, and us gay boys are really treated something special with gay beaches like Lauderdale’s Sebastian, right in the heart of the beach strip, and just outside Miami, Haulover, So Flo’s celebrated nude beach with its own gay nude section.
Ah Sebastian! Named for the street it butts against (appropriate choice of words, wouldn’t you say?), Sebastian Beach is sandwiched between two long strips of Ft. Lauderdale’s straight beachfront. In fact, it’s only a block or so long but remains, reputation wise, as one of America’s quintessential gay beaches, next to Will Rogers Park in L.A., Rehoboth in Delaware or Riss Park in Queens. Ironically, it is at its busiest October through May when other beaches are deserted, and America’s sun-hungry, straight and gay, flock to that alien planet known as south Florida, the warmest spot in the continental U.S. in the winter. Period.
Sure, it’s filled with male eye candy, though I often get a bunch of shriveled old fucks standing up near me half the afternoon, blocking my views of those luscious hunks when they decide to stroll, nonchalantly of course, down the shoreline.
Gay advocates will wax on how we are discriminated against by straight society, but take a gander at Sebastian on a typical Saturday afternoon and you will see segregation alive and at work, gay style.
Most obvious is the fact the beach is 97% male (at least anatomically). Do gay girls have a higher rate of skin cancer than gay guys or something? Or are women in American society far more mature than men and may have more productive things to do with their time than lay virtually naked on a beach and get fried.
Most of the interior of the strip spreading to the shoreline is usually populated by tourists glued to their fellow buddies from Boston or L.A. or Omaha (how ya gonna meet anybody, guys, if you stay together?), or by 20 inch waist twinks and, in a few cases, their girl friends.
Towards the back under the palms by the wall adjoining the sidewalk and AIA are the May/December couples, you know the old retired guys who can hardly stand up (rich retired dentists from Chicago or doctors from Butte, Montana) with their 35 year old power paramours. True love. Sure. Or maybe they’re their private duty male nurses. Hope I got the dough if and when I get to their age.
Lastly, on the left hand fringe (if you were facing the ocean) jammed against the lifeguard station are the juiced up muscle men and the bears, fur optional. Maybe that section of the beach just looks more dense because they’re all so BIG.
I also think Sebastian has the honor of being the beach smartphone capital of the world. Who the fuck are all these guys chatting with and about what?? Are they all real estate agents trying to sell that overvalued condo? Male escorts or one of those “deep tissue” masseurs lining up their next appointment? Or are they just horny fucks checking Growl’r fot the fourteen time today?
Hey, guys, drop the cells and look around. You just might meet somebody!
Which brings to me to my last point, the thread that binds us all. Ego and the thirst for attention. I think my best take on Sebastian was the one I used in the short story in my Basic Butch collection called “Bike Stop.” It’s about an aging, closeted antique dealer from Chicago who learns he has cancer and decides to take one last fling in Fort Lauderdale. There he meets and buys a cocky hustler for the weekend, and in one scene, Vic, the hustler, takes Win, my main character, to Sebastian for the first time:
“It was another sunny breezy July day in May, and Sebastian was littered with men. The best looking ones made sure to instinctively stand up like erect dicks and swagger and stroke their abs or lather lotion over their chests as they chatted with their buddies, or on their cell-phones or bobbed in the waves, all just to be desperately noticed among the sea of attractive clones, desired, lusted after, even ridiculed.
Anything but be ignored.”
One troubling development of late has been the small but growing influx of str8’s to OUR beach. Seems the luxury hotels across the street may be the culprit. People staying at these places for three hundred bucks a night and up see a beach and make a beeline to the sand. I truly wonder how many of them pick up on the fact that the beach is unstr8 when they see it littered almost totally with men. Or is it when their little 8 year old Sally asks them, “Daddy, where are all the mommies?”
A word about the 12th Beach just a mile or so down the road right off A1A, which was hit bad by Sandy, but is being restored: a fraction of Sebastian’s size, it’s populated more by locals than vacationers.But if you like Fire Island or P-town, you’ll feel right at home. Quiet and removed and just a touch nasty.
Thursday: Haulover: SoFLo’s Nude Beach