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Sexy at any age

My walk on the beach night before last reminded me of all that I love about Sarasota …

Sarasota is a little like a woman on the other side of thirty-eight: still gorgeous enough to beguile on looks alone; but with an alluring maturity that captivates all who see her. We all know Sarasota’s got the looks. But as with any woman really worth knowing – and loving — you’ve got to look beyond the superficial if you want to know her heart and soul.

Sarasota’s heart isn’t found in the fabulous restaurants or the world-class shops, no matter how much they satisfy our lust for luxe. Her soul isn’t found in the halls of the Van Wezel or Asolo Theatre, no matter how much they do for our “cultural coast” bona fides.

Sarasota may knock socks off with her postcard-perfect views: the sexy, blue light that underscores the Ringling Bridge at night; the old-world glamour of the Cà d’Zan mansion; the stunning waterfront bay that is the city’s backyard.

But just like you don’t know a woman until she takes her clothes off, wipes away the mascara and combs the tease out of her hair … you don’t know Sarasota until you strip away the glitter and look at her in all her natural beauty.

Sarasota’s heart beats in the terra firma of the mainland, the keys, the beaches. Her soul stirs in the sunshine, the blue skies, the diamond-sparkle waters and shimmering sunsets.

Her less high-profile charms inspire not just lust, but love. Who hasn’t smiled at the whimsical fairy statue that imparts magic to the intersection of Palm and Cocoanut Avenues, or felt the romantic pull of a bygone era when passing the Carleton Arms Apartments? Who doesn’t appreciate the street-scarred but still regal lion heads that dignify some downtown meridians?

Who isn’t moved by the early-evening sight of waterfowl winging their way home to nestle into some quiet little nook for a good night’s sleep. Squawking inelegantly, scrawny legs trailing inertly behind; is there anything more graceful – and kind of goofy at the same time?

Who isn’t reminded of Sarasota’s humble beginnings whenever they see fisherman, old and young, casting lines off the bridges, catching dinner — evoking an image of Sarasota in her younger days … just a sleepy, little fishing village.

Sarasota is at that delicious age where there’s still enough of her youthful past shining through to make her present very intoxicating and the potential for her future equally thrilling.

If we can resist the urge to inject her with any more of what I call “Botox buildings” — the kind that put a façade to a community but don’t do much for the foundation of it; if we can curb our compulsion toward over-building and over-taxing; and if we can curtail our nearly-licentious obsession with all things bigger, brighter, newer, costlier … Sarasota will never grow “old” — she’ll grow gracefully older.

If we treat her right, her beauty, her vitality, her effortless qualities of seduction will continue to attract residents and visitors from all over the world: people who are looking for substance over style; people who are looking for Sarasota –not Miami Beach or Naples.

If we allow her to age well, perhaps as the Europeans allow their cities — and women – to age, Sarasota will remain irresistibly lust — and love – worthy for generations to come.

And that’s sexy at any age.

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Posted on December 18th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
8 Responses to Sexy at any age
  1. […] MC Coolidge’s love letter to Sarasota. Best turn of phrase comes when she describes new construction as “Botox […]

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  2. I really appreciated it the first time around, too.

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  3. You have to forgive my ignorance as I just stumbled upon your site about a month ago and don’t know your history .
    Are u a Sarasota native- born , raised , and schooled in Sarasota?
    U know sooooo much our town and appear to care just as much , have u ever run for political office in town ?Are u part of Advisory boards?
    Who are the people on this site?
    Are they just people that stumble onto it or people who know u from ur real life offline.
    I need one of those refresher columns to figure out exactly who u are
    thx

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  4. Well, i put out a book in 2008 that sort of ties everything all together — a lot of my readers at the time had the same questions as you. it’s called sideways in sarasota — available at circle books and/or on this website at the top of the page.

    but even without the book — here’s the skinny: born in florida (srq-girl), schooled in ohio, lived in new england mostly, paris briefly. no public office (can’t believe i’d be elected). people on this site range from ceo’s of prominent organizations/firms in sarasota to unemployed folks, mostly sarasotans, but a growing contingent from all points across the country and even in europe (have regular readers from germany and luxembourg it seems). the about page at top right gives some background too.
    thanks for being interested — for finding the site — and for sticking around to read more.
    merci bien!

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  5. p.s., Scott — i’m not pushing my book (it’s a collection of newspaper columns and i think almost all are on this site for free) — was just letting you know i’d done that kind of “this is me” thing …..

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  6. I like the fact ur this writer that is so articulate
    u seem to be able to put all these thoughts quickly pen to paper( old school) without any hesitation
    I could never write- so I went into medicine.only have trouble with presciptions:)
    Did u work in Paris?is that why ur fluent in French or were u a French minor in college

    this column reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw
    Sex in the City circa 1980’s
    I’m glad u keep it up!
    It’s fun !

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  7. Ps
    I had reserved your book at a store in St Armonds circle
    then I read about this deal in ur column on your anniversary
    13 dollars and signed
    that’s the one I want!

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  8. thanks for the compliments — yes, worked in paris briefly — i’m far from fluent, but can get around. french minor yes.

    i’m doing a book signing sometime in march i think. i’ll post info on my blog — probably on st. armands. thanks for your interest!

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