From John McCain's 1950s Brazilian paramour:
"He was tasty, loving and romantic," says Maria Gracinda Teixeira de Jesus, 77, a former beauty queen and dancer, of the young John McCain, whom she met in Rio de Janeiro in 1957. ... The former model was tracked down by Brazil's O Globo newspaper and said Saturday, "He was a lovely person and loved to go out with me. I called him 'John' but he was my dear and my coconut dessert."
The Daily News casts McCain's romance with Maria the model as a sort of fling. But in his book about Vietnam-era military culture, The Nightingale's Song, Bob Timberg devotes three pages to it, suggesting it was a watershed event in McCain's youth ("[t]hroughout the fall, McCain and [Maria] corresponded furiously")*. Timberg also says the coconut dessert affair reveals McCain's devotion to the romantic side of the military life, the storybook Navy world in which "duty, honor, country, sure, those things were important," but the appeal also came from "the chance of someday being swept away and ravished by a beautiful woman in some exotic locale" -- from the chance to "[stumble] blissfully, all boyish innocence, as if the devil made them do it, into what Catholics charmingly call the occasion of sin."
*This sentence was slightly tangled in my original post.