When I arrived at Hedonism II, the infamous Jamaican resort known for wild parties, sexy floorshows, and a decidedly ambivalent attitude about clothing, I was burnt. I’d just rolled in from a long series of flights to the Caribbean and a warm, dark bus ride from Montego Bay. My throat was parched and I only wanted to sleep. But no sooner had I set down my bags in the lobby when I was greeted with cold champagne.
Things were already looking up. And it didn’t stop there. Across the open-air lobby and dining room, a reggae band was wrapping up a cover of some sexy classic American rock song — the name passing out of my mind, so perfectly did it suit the background of the moment. But after stashing my bags in my room, I discovered that just on the other side of that dining room was a glow stick pool party, thumping with bass as dancers clad only in angels wings shimmied on a large concrete dais like a flock of dubstep caryatids.
An hour shy of midnight, things were just heating up. The reggae band has packed up and a very enthusiastic MC had turned on his mic — not to mention the audience. Metallic G-strings and glow-in-the-dark pasties gyrated against Day-Glo hot pants to the trill of Daddy Yankee singles. There was a waxed, glistening beefcake wearing a half mask like the Phantom of the Opera and a blonde strutting past in a light-up bikini powered by a battery pack hovering over her butt cleavage. At the far end of the pool, an older man waded into the shallows, his flaccid penis floating on top of the water — illuminated by the dim pool lights, like a strange tropical fish.
And I tell you: No one batted an eye. Not a single person. It was awesome.
This is all part of the nightly routine at Hedo, as it’s affectionately called. On a Thursday night, when I might ordinarily be reading a book or watching reruns, a Canadian model casually caressed me in cool, chlorinated water, murmuring about the taste of my skin even as he lustily appraised other women across the pool deck. Not long earlier, I’d found myself doing a little turn on a stripper pole at Hedonism’s nightclub, a plastic cup of Red Stripe beer in hand, watching the lace on my negligee glow in the black light. By the end of my trip, it was no surprise at all when I lost my toga in the pit at a foam party. I emerged like Botticelli’s Venus, clad only in bubbles and spilled Rum and Ting (the mixer of choice at the resort).
Lest I give you the wrong impression, let me emphasize this: Hedonism is what you make of it. For some, a few days at the resort, toying with boundaries, is the wildest, most daring thing they’ll ever do. Simply showing up is a shock to the system, the fulfillment of long-held fantasies. Others have graduated to Hedonism after years of low-key topless sunbathing in their backyards, a few titillating trips to the sex shop, or short jaunts to Florida nudie clubs.