Bed-azzled in South Beach 


A beautiful girl flops down in bed next to me. Let me re-phrase: another beautiful girl. The one I was in bed with already is propped up on pillows, grinning and glowing like a pageant winner. She flings her arms in the air and says, "I am so happy right now!" Who wouldn't be? The two guys are happy, too. One is spirited enough to get up and dance, which isn't easy to do in bed with four people. Another girl crawls into the bed and asks what we'd like. We ask for the check.

Thank Heaven for Miami.

B.E.D. (Beverages, Entertainment and Dining) is a jewel that has found its perfect setting in South Beach. What city could be more suited to a concept restaurant where the tables are all beds, nicer than the one you have at home in which you seldom get to lay around ordering lobster from attractive people? Because there are only 12 beds in the spacious, airy club, we were asked (when making reservations) if we wouldn't mind sharing, since we were only two and the beds can seat -- or lay -- about six. One may be surprised by whom one wakes up with in a bed, but seldom by whom one gets in with. So we said yes to this adventure and spent a moment in silent prayer that we wouldn't find ourselves laying next to anything too spectacular, objectionable, shy, ill-shaped or fragrant.

Breaking the ice

We found, on arrival, a bed that was large, creamy and yielding. And empty. It was, as they all were, separated from the others by classic Miami two-story, white gossamer curtains. Our bed was lined with about two dozen white pillows, and it looked out at two beds in the center of the room, one of which contained a Tarot reader who laid there in a gold turban like Cleopatra on her litter. The dim lights rose, fell and changed color lazily to ambient house music, ironically giving the room a dreamlike quality, which was furthered by a musclebound waiter crawling into our bed and leaving us martinis and finger foods on a huge silver tray. Rome in its heyday couldn't have enjoyed more excessive decadence. Neither could we. I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven if I had any delusions of having been good in life.

Between forkfuls of Chilean sea bass our prayers were answered. Our bedmates arrived, three New Yorkers who were in Miami on a celebratory whim and who cleared all our hurdles like gazelles. They were friendly, funny and outgoing. They were chatty and made us laugh. Sometimes that's all you want from someone in bed.

This wasn't true of everyone. We could see, in an unobscured bed across the way, a couple making out like slobbering high schoolers who'd finally found some privacy in the borrowed parental car. The people in the beds on either side of us cast suggestive shadows on those gossamer curtains. While they probably were behaving as innocently as we were (we were, I swear), the whole atmosphere was so charged and charmed we had to wonder if sometimes couples (or maybe even trios) need ice water thrown on them to remind them they're in public.

Hard as it can be to shake yourself out of bed, we did when invited by our new friends to go to Opium, a dance club with at least 100 people milling around outside. Somehow we got in and found yet another oasis of escapism, a multitiered bar built around an open courtyard with huge Chinese lanterns that seemed to hang from the stars in the sky. Getting past a few couples who were dancing like they were auditioning for a new genre -- the porn musical -- we ended up in a lavish Asian motif bar sipping quiet cups of warm sake.

Hair today ...

This peace was shattered when my friend Viv (beautiful girl No. 1) grabbed me and screamed, "Look out!," in a way that usually only happens to you when you're five and your mother jerks your oblivious ass out of the path of a speeding car. Then I smelled it. Fire.

"She just burst into flames!" Viv said, describing the girl who was standing behind me. She had long, large, possibly heavily sprayed hair which she evidently dangled too close to a candle. Her layered locks went up in a puff of smoke. Well, not all of them, since the people around her put her out, after which she did something that was truly miraculous. She stayed.

There are some things worth getting out of B.E.D. for. That was one of them.

So, while it's not the kind of place you might think of during the home-and-hearth days of the holiday season, once it's all over, we recommend a weekend of decompression down South. Miami is the only place in the world where you can safely say, "When you get tired of doing Opium you can always go back to B.E.D.," and mean it.

E-mail lizlangley@aol.com

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