Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sinning in the City

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It’s the first year in my adult life that I’m not drunk in a costume right about now. With the weekend before filled with a concert and a wedding, I missed the annual Halloween party, got busy with work and just said the hell with it.

With my apparent boycott of Halloween 2012, the boyfriend off shooting birds out of the sky up north and no desire to go anywhere with anyone tonight, I’m just hugging a bottle of wine with my dogs and waiting for midnight when I will ceremoniously begin my first novel. Well, not exactly my first one. I’ve started dozens – just never finished one. November is National Novel Writing Month where you write furiously without editing in an attempt to get 50,000 words on the page – in other words, the first draft of a novel. I like the structure and the discipline of it in the midst of my frenzied life. As a published writer of all things short, this seems like a welcomed challenge for me, like running a marathon…or earning a Master’s degree. ; )

Until the stroke of midnight, I’ve decided to write the very overdue post about my trip to Vegas as a warm up. I hope you enjoy it because there probably won’t be another post for a month…and let’s face it, with my recent track record, probably several months.

*****

Did you know that the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” tagline is one of the most successful branding campaigns in history? Not George Washington, nor Henry David Thoreau, nor Albert Einstein, nor Oprah nor even the Kardashians coined this pithy command, but a cleaver team of marketers that remain behind the scenes making it seem as if it has always been in place for all to follow. It’s all a big gimmick that just happened to catch on in a big way. It’s a beautiful thing…how’s that for an industry boost? You think you don’t need marketing? Think again.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, first because it’s fascinatingly awesome and second because being the devoted brand manager that I am, I’m going to bow down to the gimmick just like the masses. However, nobody ever said anything about it being against the rules to divulge what you SAW in Vegas, just what HAPPENED. One could argue that these are two different things. For example:

I saw a circus midget with an afro in Vegas.

Or…

I banged a circus midget with an afro in Vegas.

See the difference?

Well, here it is, almost six weeks since my trip and I’m just now getting over the casino lung I caught while there - even after a round of King Kong antibiotics. It’s just a little souvenir from my vacation that continually reminds me that I still need to write this post, which is why I had to mention it, *cough, hack*. It must have been all the old ladies rolling around on their rascal scooters chain smoking. The circus midget might have also played a role.

Anyway, I used to travel to Vegas for dance nationals all the time when I was younger and the last time I was here three years ago for Kate and Sam’s wedding was the first time I could enjoy it to its full extent. The two and a half days I spent there this time were full of best friends, a marriage proposal – not mine, unfortunately – a limo ride, pool side cabanas, blue haired crack heads, champagne, Beatles songs, a perverted cupid, lights and fun…as it should be.

Our journey began at the Fremont Street Experience, yet another genius branding strategy that revived the old, rundown part of Vegas and made it cool again with a semi enclosed pedestrian mall and a KISS themed laser and music light show on the ceiling. It’s the quirky side of Vegas that you miss on the strip full of old school walls of lights, cheap drinks, authentic coin operated slot machines that spit out nickels when you win your jackpot and a surprising array of ragamuffin performers that didn’t make the strip cut like the showgirls and porn peddlers…but are welcomed with open arms in this odd little place.

While we were too late to zipline down the length of the mall, we were right on time for dirty Santa and his old man jig, a gyrating latino boy in a bikini and a wig and of course, perverted cupid. While Santa was too drunk to put in the effort and bikini boy seemed to be a little ashamed of his night job, cupid was proud of his daisy dukes, homemade crop top, sparkly heart pasties, shiny head with hair halo and most of all, his ability to entertain and completely gross out a large group of people all at the same time.

As he sashayed to the music in the middle of the circle of spectators, showing off his perfectly placed pasties and hiking his shorts up his ass to make sure the observers on the balcony above didn’t miss even a glimpse of extra skin, a few brave souls decided to join him, mostly at his request. He’d hump their leg for 30 seconds then skip to the other side of circle to turn a few gimpy cartwheels, his furry bulge of a belly jiggling. Before long, he was selecting his next willing…or unwilling victim as we heard one lady exclaim, “Get the fuck away from me!” while running frantically in the other direction. I’m fairly sure this is something he hears on a regular basis as it didn’t faze him in the least. Once the laser light show came on, the cupid shuffle really began and while I was fairly certain an old man sack was going to come tumbling out of his tiny shorts at any moment, I just couldn’t look away.

We all eventually lost interest once our drinks ran dry. You really just can’t watch something like that without a steady stream of alcohol entering your system. Plus, none of us wanted to become his next dance partner. I just wasn’t ready to get close enough to know what Mr. Cupid smelled like either…

The next day we played high roller and got a cabana at the Flamingo pool. Drinking vodka and beer all day in a bikini in and by the pool with the sun beating down on you is always a great idea until about 6 p.m. hits and you not only feel like ass on a stick, but also really, freaking old…almost too old for Vegas…almost.

While enjoying our cabana day, we noticed a strange, blue haired creature in a leopard print dress slinking around on the other side of the pool deck. She seemed harmless, but definitely something to keep an eye on for future entertainment. Within a few minutes of flirting with a group of guys by the waterfall, she was in the pool – dress and all.

After a few more drinks and an over priced chicken wrap in our humble poolside hut, some of the others brought word that blue hair was acting up again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to hot tub in attire that is not exactly meant for the water in the privacy of a residence, but never an ill fitting turquoise bra and white with black polka dot panties at a crowded public pool. The leopard printed modesty gown was long gone and the first thing I saw when I reclaimed my spot in the pool was blue hair’s ass crack through her underoos.

She flashed a sleepy smile, eyes caked with black mascara as she bobbed up and down in the water with a Miller Lite aluminum bottle dangling from her fingers. The lighter blue streak in her bangs nearly matched her makeshift bikini top. I couldn’t tell if the people she kept talking to were actually her friends, or just people that felt sorry for her…or were as high on ecstasy as she was.

The behavior got more bizarre as the day went on. If she wasn’t clumsily singing and dancing to the bumping music by herself in the middle of the pool, she was wrestling with a black haired man who looked shocked when she tackled him, but still receptive of the attention. She was in to making new friends, slowly bouncing from group to group laughing lazily, her eyes squinted into slits. I could only hope she didn’t make her way over to our group. While I’m not against meeting new people, I just prefer to gaze at train wrecks from afar rather than up close and personal. Of course, the minute the thought fell out of my mind, here she came floating over in slow motion. She suddenly grew a dorsal fin and sharp teeth as the Jaws theme music played in my head. I fought the urge to casually abandon my pool perch at the last minute, but decided to stay for what was sure to be an experience – hopefully sans bite marks.

She went down the line introducing herself and while I was expecting her name to be something like “Rain” or “Moonbeam,” when she got to me she said,
“Hi, I’m Bethany,” extending her hand upward out of the water.

That’s it? Good ‘ole crazy, blue haired Beth? I think I’ll stick with Moonbeam.

“I don’t usually wear stuff like this, I feel so fat!” She said, grabbing her smaller than normal rib cage right above her flat stomach.

Crazypants then asked where we were from – most from Kansas and Pat and I currently living in Colorado – we answered with one word to avoid any confusion caused by my tendency to explain my journey through life one city and state at a time.

“What?! KANSAS?” Moonbeam exclaimed. “That’s like…the prairie ‘n stuff…whoa.”

“Yep, people live there,” I said, annoyed.

“What do you guys do in Kansas?” She asked right after we told her we lived in Colorado. Of course, I couldn’t tell if she was asking what we did for work or what we did for play. Before I could answer with, “raves and club drugs,” Pat reminded her that we lived in Colorado.

“Kansas, Colorado, same thing!” She said, cocking her head to the side in blissful ignorance.

“And, where are you from?” I said, predicting the answer to my own question silently.

“L.AAAAAAAAAAAA.” She said, stretching out the “A” to emphasize the city’s perceived coolness.

Yep, just as I suspected as this encounter seemed eerily similar with people that had the same answer. How fun for L.A. to breed so many quality citizens. She was sweet as sugar, but too high and clueless to be a functioning human being. I immediately pictured her as the daughter of a washed up 80s hair band star. At that point, my interest waned and she eventually scurried off. That is, of course, until our bladders synchronized.

A bit later, as I made my way towards the stairs to start my journey towards the potty, a flash of blue appeared in front of my face and there was Moonbeam again out of nowhere wanting an escort to the bathroom. She held onto my shoulder part of the way and exclaimed at how young the crowd was at the Flamingo as we traipsed through the other side of the complex, home of the family pool full of skirted one pieces and gray haired chests.

“I usually stay at the Bellaaaaaaaaaaaaagio, where everyone is really old,” she said, stretching out that “A” again.

When two different people plus me had to point her in the right direction for the bathroom that was right in front of her face and she scampered through the door barefoot in her see through skivvies, I jumped in the next stall, peed as fast as I could and ran the hell out of there. I was actually kind of proud of her for not pissing in the pool.

Just when we all thought Moonbeam had retired to her room, head in the toilet in her wet undies, half an hour later, we saw three people wrestling with what looked like a leopard standing on its hind legs.  Nope, just Moonbeam unable to re-robe as easily as she was able to disrobe. Why she didn’t just wander through the casino naked is beyond me. At least I got away with the measly job of bathroom usher instead of redress team.

Well, thanks for an entertaining afternoon, Moonbeam. You almost made me miss all the other people in inappropriate swimwear…almost.

That night we headed to the show “LOVE,” which was amazing and the next day we hit up Margaritaville where we enjoyed free food since Pat’s uncle is the COO. Love it. After that, we dressed up, piled into a limo, hit a few spots, drank way too much free champagne and by the end of the night all I know is that I had a tear in my expensive dress as well as an entire Dr. Pepper all over it.

The details? Wouldn’t you like to know…and wouldn’t I as well. However, I did manage to learn a few things:

1.  Don’t stay at the Flamingo unless you are guaranteed to stay in the remodeled tower that has updated the bathrooms within the last 30 years and is away from the construction that rattles your hungover ass awake every morning at 8 a.m.

2.  Go to Hyde at the Bellagio, but not Pure at Caesar’s.

3.  Don’t miss Fremont Street.

4.  Spring for a poolside cabana with friends – Smurf headed visitors are extra.

5.  Report only what you saw in detail, not what you did because…

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…or something like that. Always know the rules, especially how to bend them.



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