This very long Buzzfeed article (no, really!) is such an entertaining read I simply had to share it with GT. It's about a massive, sprawling retirement home for wealthy, white (97%) Republicans who want to be on a permanent vacation. Many engage in casual sex. The hook-up culture has been heavily reported on, but this article moves beyond that. The whole thing is bonkers and a fascinating read.
The gist of it:
Boasting 100,000 residents over the age of 55, The Villages may be the fastest growing city in America. It's a notorious boomtown for boomers who want to spend their golden years with access to 11 a.m. happy hours, thousands of activities, and no-strings-attached sex, all lorded over by one elusive billionaire.
Bob drives us to Spanish Springs. Schwartz wanted to create a town square, a sort of community gathering place, [...]. We walk the square, passing a movie theater, a hulking church, and all manners of age-appropriate retail ("All About Hearing Aids, Inc."). Music from The Villages radio station is piped out over speakers — we're served up a helping of some oldies — and then a current events update from Fox News.
We approach a restaurant called Katie Belle's [...] they host a Mamma Mia brunch: At 7 a.m. a bunch of ladies file into the restaurant and watch Mamma Mia. The cost of admission includes bottomless mimosas. "Whenever a musical number comes on we all get up to sing and dance. People here have no inhibitions. We don't have to worry about our kids feeling embarrassed by us," she tells me. [...]
One myth surrounding Spanish Springs is this is where Ponce de Leon's long-searched-for Fountain of Youth is located. That's less believable than the narrative surrounding Spanish Springs: that it was established sometime in the 19th century. Historical society-type plaques tell the story of a wealthy deb named Katie Bell Van Patten. Faded advertisements for Charlie Chaplin's The Pilgrim and Ben Turpin's Pitfalls of a Big City are painted on the wall of the Rialto movie theater. Elsewhere on the square there are aged-looking signs for a gunsmith and a telegraph office.
You can do -everything- here:
Self-discovery is made easy at The Villages. At last count there were 2,233 "Resident Lifestyle Groups," the social glue that holds this place together. There are dozens of art-related clubs (everything from watercolor painting to wearable art to something called glass fusion). There's a cheerleading club — the waiting list is two years long — and they perform at parades and on special occasions on the town square. [...]
The CIA Retirees group meets on the second Thursday of every month at 2 p.m. in the Lake Minoa rec center. I count 19 weekly opportunities for working with clay and 15 clogging groups.
And one of my favorite anecdotes from a long list of
Over the course of my stay I become an enthusiastic and skilled pickleball player. Pickleball is a delightful hybrid of tennis and Ping-Pong. The rackets are similar to paddle ball rackets and the ball is plastic and Wiffle ball-ish. The court is half the size of a tennis court and you play with a partner.
And yes, the reporter talks about the hook-up culture:
The sexual habits of The Villages' inhabitants have become the primary lens for the way that just about every media outlet covers The Villages. Maybe it's the only sane and easy way to deal with our most potent of our fears — aging, decline, impotency, death. [...] This place is inhabited by people who feel strongly that they're not beholden to anybody.
[...] I'm told about a prostitution ring that has recently been broken up. Orgies are said to be a regular occurrence. I am warned about women prowling around bars indiscriminately offering oral sex. There is reportedly a black market for Viagra. [...] I'm told that sticking a loofah on your cart antenna signifies you're into swinging. So does wearing a crimson button. According to multiple people, wearing gold shoes or letting your shirt tag stick out in the back signals you're on the prowl. I hear a story about a scorned woman painting "YOU FUCKING PRICK YOU GAVE ME HERPES!" in red letters on her lover's garage door. Recently, a married 68-year-old woman became a folk hero after getting arrested with a 49-year-old man for having sex in the square at Lake Sumter Landing. The cops brought her to jail and a Villages restaurant named a drink after her — Sex on the Square. It involves whipped cream and a cherry.
Of course, it isn't all fun, games, and laughing at and with retirees. There are some problematic issues at play concerning racism, corruption, tax evasion, militant partisanship, STDs, etc. The article delves into those issues as well, particularly LGBTQ issues and sinister investment and exploitation committed by The Developer - the guy banking in the billions off this place. Warning: There is one sentence where the author calls the residents "the olds." >.> /judgeeeeee