'Fringe Florida': Lifestyles of the naked, bridled and furred

The scene: a swingers’ convention gathering at the rooftop pool of the Miami Hilton Hotel, surrounded by downtown office buildings and condos, where “a beach ball bounces over the crowd. Bare breasts and scrotums jiggle and sway to the island beat of house music” and “a young couple is having porno sex in the lounge chair right next to my husband, Jim.”

Your intrepid correspondent: Lynn Waddell, author of “Fringe Florida: Travels Among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles," a relentlessly readable travelogue that benefits from Waddell’s sharp eye for detail and her Everywoman’s point of view.

“He and I are paralyzed in disbelief,” Waddell writes of the poolside show. “Yet here we are — James in jeans and a button-down and me in a knee-length dress lugging a purse that could hold a litter of puppies.”

The curiosity you may share with Waddell took her deep into the often nude underbelly of Florida, where she talks to everyone from naked bikers and fetishists (Cooper City resident Rubber Doll gets a mention) to an Ocala “pony” couple (she’s the pony, he’s the groom, with whip), and Orlando’s “fur” community (a combination of anthropomorphic cosplay and bondage also known as “furotica”).

Waddell will share some of her stories on Thursday at Books and Books in Coral Gables. If nothing else, your cocktail party chatter will get much more interesting.

IF YOU GO
Lynn Waddell discusses “Fringe Florida” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., in Coral Gables. Call 305-442-4408 or go to BooksAndBooks.com. More info: FringeFlorida.com.

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at SouthFlorida.com, on Twitter at @BenCrandell and Instagram /BenCrandell. Email: bcrandell@southflorida.com.