Drew Stevens and David Sheaf are standing in the sand, tossing a football back and forth as the hot Fort Lauderdale sun beams down on their naked torsos. All around, 19-year-old girls form gossipy groups, their burns nearly as neon as their DayGlo pink bikinis.
Stevens and Sheaf admire the eye candy. It’s a bit of downtime for the pals who partied the night before with “some college girls from Ohio we met out here on the beach,” says Sheaf.
A pretty typical day in the life of a spring breaker — other than the fact that these two dudes have been too old for spring break for nearly a decade.
Martina Morroco (left) and Ingrid Bitencor at Las Olas beach in Fort Lauderdale.
Stevens, a 32-year-old owner of a pool company in Hilton Head, SC, and Sheaf, a 28-year-old engineer in Washington, DC, have been revisiting the ghosts of spring breaks past every year since graduating from the University of South Carolina.
Each one is better than the last, they say.
“I have a lot more money now,” says Stevens. “And it makes for a more fun time.”
Come March and April, when most US universities have their midterm vacations, hordes of post-grad professionals in their late 20s, 30s and 40s eschew “grown-up” getaways for spring break hot spots including Miami, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and — home of the first-ever wet T-shirt contest — Fort Lauderdale.
“The chatter starts in January,” says Joaquin, a 34-year-old Midtown West resident who works in finance and has “spring breaked” multiple times since receiving his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.
“My friends will start the e-mail chains, ‘All right, what are we doing? Where are we going? Cancun or Miami?’ ” says Joaquin, who asked that his last name not be used for professional reasons, adding, “I’ve never been in a rush to get old.”
Apparently, neither are his NYC cohorts.
For single men in the city, spring break is a chance to relive their college glory days — and to add a notch or two to their Brooks Brothers belts.
“It’s all about the spring break mentality,” according to 31-year-old Justin, who lives in Midtown and also asked that his last name not be used for professional reasons.
“It’s easier to get laid,” he clarifies.
Since graduating from college nine years ago, Justin, who works in sales, has been to Puerto Vallarta, Negril and Miami. After all, while New York has a bounty of beautiful women, spring vultures say there’s nothing like a college girl looking to let off some steam.
“I could run around New York City and bang as many girls as I do on spring break, but it’s not the same feeling,” says Justin. “You’re out in the sun, the all-inclusive thing is great. It’s always a great time. I never come back wondering why I did that.
“When people are on spring break, they’re in a totally different mindset,” he continues. “If there were a bunch of 28-year-olds who went, it’d be great. But they all seem to sour up, lose their bodies and don’t know how to have fun anymore.”
Steve Schapher (left), 31, and Steve Buckley, 26, enjoy Fort Lauderdale’s spring break scene. Schapher says older guys “bring more to the table.”
The people who do know how to have fun? NYC men who have made a little bit of dough.
Joaquin says when he went on his first proper spring break (while still enrolled in college), he had to ration his funds down to the last dollar.
But when he went to Miami at the age of 31, he and his three friends plopped down thousands for the “911” suite at the W Hotel.
The year before, his prowling pack of seven secured a row of pricey poolside rooms at Miami’s Shore Club.
“We would just leave our sliding door open and have a stocked bar and go from pool to shots, bringing groups of girls back to the rooms,” says Joaquin.
The W suite was equally conducive to wooing the ladies.
After one night of clubbing, the former football player brought home a college sophomore who, he says, was in awe of his sprawling digs.
“She probably has a bunk bed and a roommate and a desk and wooden chair. She was clearly impressed.”
For Joaquin, his age — and experience — has only worked to his advantage while hitting the college vacay circuit.
“My angle was, this is what it is. I’m 10 years older than you, but guess what, I like to drink and party, too. You want to go drink Bud Lights or you want to go drink Champagne?”
Thirty-one-year-old Steve Schapher, who was in Fort Lauderdale and Miami with friends last week on adult spring break, says college girls, such as the ones they met from Kent State, “actually like the older guys.
“[We] bring more to the table,” says Schapher, who works as a cop in Orlando.
Some of Joaquin’s and Schapher’s compatriots, however, find it wiser to chug beer and fit in. “If you tell anyone you’re older than 23 and you’re on spring break, they’re going to say, ‘Oh, you’re a dog,’ ” laments Justin.
Julia Strum certainly would.
Shauna O’Connor (from left), Megan Quinn, Amanda Johnson and Jessica Smith are on spring break at Las Olas beach in Fort Lauderdale — prime hunting grounds for older men.
The Fort Lauderdale high school student says she and her college-age sister have been hit on mercilessly by spring vultures, including a 30-year-old prancing around in his outdated college paraphernalia.
“It’s perverted,” says Strum. “If you’re hitting on a junior in high school and you’re a 28-year-old, you need to re-evaluate something,” she says.
Others find it less perverted and more, well, baffling.
“I don’t really know how to respond to them, because I don’t have anything in common with them,” says 21-year-old Jemma Losh, a senior at DePauw University in Indiana, who was offered drinks by multiple spring break prowlers while partying in Fort Lauderdale with her college crew last week.
Luckily for wary women, it’s easy to pinpoint opportunistic oldies, says Christopher Bader, who has worked in the spring break industry for 10 years.
“You can always tell a table of older guys when there are tons and tons of sparklers,” says the 31-year-old founder of Wingman, a marketing company that has paired up with spring break travel organizations, referring to the blinged-out bottle service only monied men can afford.
“It creates a spectacle because it costs a lot of money.”
All that flash, though, won’t get you anywhere, says Bader: “I’m of the mentality that if you have to fly down to Mexico to find women, you’re not that good at picking up women in general.”
As NYC-based jet-setter and lady-chaser Justin Ross Lee, 30, explains: “Real men don’t shoot fish in a barrel, they use their lure.”
But those who have spring break fever are going to keep on chasing the dream. “When I went to Negril, Jamaica, yeah, people were asking us why we were there. Because there’s no reason to be there,” admits the earlier Justin from Midtown. “But there were ‘Girls Gone Wild’ wet T-shirt contests. It was freakin’ awesome.
“I got to tell you something. I would probably keep going for as long as I can physically pass. And I keep in really good shape.”