Surprise greets IOP 'sexy' rating

Vacationers on the Isle of Palms. Of Maxim's rating of the beach as one of the country's six sexiest, Mayor Dick Cronin said, 'Good golly.'

Could a beach, not Justin Timberlake, actually be bringing sexy back?

Is Isle of Palms, the beach where they turn out the lights at night to protect nesting sea turtles and tried to ban sand castles as a public hazard, the definition of sexy?

According to the men at Maxim magazine, it is. They recently voted Isle of Palms one of America's six sexiest beaches.

Huh? Isle of Palms? The place where SpongeBob arm floaties are the latest trend, and there are one-piece bathing suits, not bikinis, as far as the eye can see.

According to Maxim, "This seven-mile-long and one-mile-wide barrier island has pristine beaches littered with smoking-hot rich ladies lured in by high-end shops all over the island. It's like chum for sharks. (Sharks who are into really expensive handbags.)"

Are they talking about the same beach that has drawn families for

decades? The place where women are more likely to carry diaper bags than Gucci ones.

Anyone who has visited the island can assert that the shopping is best at the Red & White Grocery Store. And unless oversized T-shirts decorated with palm trees or cheap plastic platform flip-flops are now considered high fashion, there seems to be something odd about this assessment.

No one was more surprised about the rating than Isle of Palms Mayor Dick Cronin.

"Good golly. This is totally unexpected. Well, I guess they must have been doing their rating when the City Council squared off against the Charleston Police Department in a volleyball game at the Windjammer."

The serene, kid-friendly beach more than makes up for the lack of shopping, but it leaves one wondering why Maxim, the trendy magazine targeted at men in their 20s and 30s, chose to highlight shopping as the sexiest part of Isle of Palms instead of the Windjammer's ocean-side volleyball court. There, fit shirtless guys serve aces while girls lounge on the sidelines cheering.

Rex Porter, a bartender at the Windjammer, said, "Isle of Palms definitely is sexy because there are always beautiful girls coming in and out of the Windjammer, and there are volleyball players constantly enjoying the court outside."

When Dan Bova, executive editor of Maxim, was asked what high-end shops the magazine referred to, he had the good grace to reply, "Our editorial GPS may seem to be broken, but the gift shop at the Holiday Inn Express ... where else can you buy a $9 tube of toothpaste?" Bova also said that they meant Charleston's shops when referring to "the high-end shops all over the island."

Hmm. In this case, "Isle" means island, and Charleston's shops are 15 miles away.

Maxim needs to check its GPS. Maybe it's aimed at the wrong satellite.