DATING IN THE KEYS: POPULAR SPOTS LOCALS MEET THEIR SPECIAL SOMEONE

Jordan Budnik met her boyfriend of four months, Tony, at Sharkey’s in Key Largo. “He’s the most awesome person I’ve ever met,” she said. CONTRIBUTED

Booed up. Per that esteemed reference source, UrbanDictionary.com, the term “booed up” means the following: “In a relationship, esp. in the manner that the two involved seem joined at the hip and don’t do anything that doesn’t involve each other. This can potentially irritate friends.”

Are you among the irritated in the Keys and not “booed up”? Especially as Valentine’s Day is coming on fast? Relax. Keys Weekly has got you covered. We conducted research on Facebook (we know, we know) on a local community page and asked the following question: Where can you meet your special someone in the Keys?

Surprisingly, we got some solid advice. At least 80 commenters left 278 comments on this post, and we’d like to share what they had to say.

First of all, we did have quite a few naysayers: “There is no hope here! Everyone is booed up or just looking to hook up! The Keys has to be the worst place to be single. Just being real,” said one female.

Then we had a lot of jokers, such as Key West’s David Sloan: “The water at the Green Parrot will get you pregnant.” And three females wrote in to agree with him.

Savanna Edwards just celebrated her one year wedding anniversary in October with her husband, whom she met at Sharkey’s in Key Largo — and she had a T-shirt made celebrating that fact. CONTRIBUTED

Another commenter suggested this particular Keys online source: “Keysso.net … the most popular gated community in the Keys.”

However, many posters did actually have useful advice. Quite a few wrote that they met their boo in a Keys bar. For example, in our research, we discovered not just one but five couples met at Sharkey’s Sharkbite Grill in Key Largo. 

Savanna Edwards just celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary in October with her husband, whom she met at Sharkey’s — and she had a T-shirt made celebrating that fact. 

And Jordan Budnik met her boyfriend of four months at Sharkey’s. 

“He’s the most awesome person I’ve ever met. He’s phenomenal,” Budnik said.

So, why is Sharkey’s such a great place to meet people? we asked her.

“It attracts locals,” said Budnik. “You’re always going to meet someone interesting.”

She did have one caveat about meeting people in bars: Don’t hang out too late. 

“We’re both not bar hoppers,” she said. “We were there for dinner. The Keys Kritters tend to come out of the mangroves at 3 a.m.”

Shayne Messina met her husband of 17 years, Armand, at Havana Jack’s in Key Colony Beach. CONTRIBUTED

Quite a few commenters met their significant others at a Keys bar. Shayne Messina met her husband of 17 years at Havana Jack’s in Key Colony Beach. And here are other bars where Keys locals met their boos: Key West’s Half Shell Raw Bar, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon and Cowboy Bills Honky Tonk Saloon; Stock Island’s Hogfish Bar; and Islamorada’s Hog Heaven.

Writers commended the following sage advice about meet-up places from John Seckinger: “It depends if you are a guy or a girl and your age… if you are a girl… dive school, work on a fishing boat, gym, Home Depot…if you are a guy… Home Depot, dance class, cooking class, church groups, yoga class, etc.”

Barbara Whitesell wrote in to second that advice — she actually married her scuba dive instructor.

Also, posters approved the following tips from Leah Benner: “The bocce court? The gym, the golf course, at Key West local events like Santa con, full moon party, zombie bike ride, if you like boating, a bar where boaters hang out? Volunteer groups that have a lot of social events for fundraisers.”

Indeed, Keys special events and parties got the thumbs up from Amy Soto. She met her husband of 24 years at Key West’s Mallory Square sunset celebration — he is a tightrope walker. And Islamorada’s Jennifer Oughton met her husband of 13 years at the full moon party at Morada Bay.

Amy Soto met her husband of 24 years, Will Soto, at Key West’s Mallory Square sunset celebration. CONTRIBUTED

And let’s not forget that tried-and-true way of definitely running into someone: crashing your cart into theirs at the grocery store. Yes, this did really happen to Key West’s Anne L. Rice at Publix. She literally ran her grocery cart into another (male) customer’s in the produce aisle … and he later became her boyfriend. But not right then and there.

“I was so embarrassed,” she recalled. “I was looking the other way and crashed into him. Then I ran into him again at a restaurant. It’s a small town. And he said, ‘You’re the one who crashed into me.’”

He gave her his card, they became friends on Facebook … and they started dating two years ago.

But perhaps it’s always best to keep in mind what our mothers told us: Use your judgment wisely. 

As Becca “Keys Chick” Lundy wrote, “Met my husband when I moved here. Set your standards and expectations and don’t waver from that list. It’s hard to find a partner here, though, honestly. If they match up to you, grab them!”

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Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines; Elle.com; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.