‘They did WHAT? They SAID that?’

Let’s face it: Dating in the Florida Keys just might be harder than catching your first swordfish or finding an actual place to live right about now. The notion of “plenty of fish in the sea” isn’t necessarily true when you live on small bits of land in an island chain.  And just when you think you found “the one” as you stare in awe across the table while eating swordfish and sipping a cocktail, the red flags go up over something you witness or hear. We’ve all been there a time or two. We’re left trying to keep our eyeballs from popping out. We’re left back pedaling, wanting to escape through a restroom window and retreat to the relative safety of our home and single life, eager to forget what just happened. In due time, it becomes a moment on which we look back, laugh and say “Whew! Dodged a bullet there.” Here are some tales told by Keys folks who wished to remain anonymous given the situations they went through (and we can’t blame them). 

“Date No. 3 ends at a beachside restaurant following great conversation and a seafood dinner under the nighttime sky. Everything’s going well as we are both leaving the restaurant laughing and smiling. Taking my date back to her house, we parted for the evening. Before we do, she asks, “Are we doing this or not? I’m 30 and not getting any younger.”

“Date No. 1 had a great back-and-forth conversation about what brought us each to the Keys, our jobs and island living. With amazing swordfish and service came wine and great views of the water. When the check gets delivered, he asks, “I know you’ve got a long drive back. Want to stay the night at my place?” 

“We’re enjoying a beautiful sunset, a cotton candy sky and water that looks like a mirror. I happened to look down at his feet when I noticed he was wearing tube socks with his sandals.”

“It’s time to order drinks. I ordered an espresso martini. What did he order? A hot toddy.”

“I can’t say I had introduced myself to her before our first date. But she was talking to me as if she knew me from high school. Yes, I checked my yearbook. And no, she wasn’t a classmate I had forgotten. But she was my Facebook friend. I guess I forgot about that.”

“Well, he said he didn’t like the water all too much. And that’s all I needed to hear.” 

“They said ‘I’m kind of a lone wolf.’ I ran like a deer.”

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Jim McCarthy is a northerner who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since his graduation from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3 years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. Behind every community is resiliency and resolve in difficult times. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim serves as President of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. “It’s a group that lives by the motto ‘Service Above Self,’” he says. “We’ve done service projects at the Tavernier nursing home, sitting down and socializing with residents. “We’ve also supplied cameras to young students exploring the Keys ecosystem.” Jim loves sports, family and time exploring underneath the water depths.