The non-woo-girl’s guide to Vegas
My brother just got married in Las Vegas because he’s one of those pretty happy-go-lucky people that can do something like that without looking tacky or like an asshole or like a tacky asshole. I went to the wedding, of course, because he’s my brother and he owed me forty dollars. That was a dumb joke, but I’m tired, people, TIRED! Vegas really enervates me and not for all the reasons you’d think. Yeah, Vegas is all about the Freudian big three—sex, food and money—but this gal is more super ego than id, so I have a confusing time there.
So, we all know the stuff that’s socially agreed upon “fun” in Sin City. Now, let me be your guide, as someone who is not a perfect fit for Vegas, to the city that I know and hate, like a little, and sometimes love.
Things to Hate
- PEOPLE. In Vegas you will be surrounded by people. People who will walk at a mind-blowingly slooow pace in front of you when you are trying to get somewhere. People who will harangue you with what I can only assume are nudie trading cards and miraculously cheap backstage passes to Benny Nobody’s Comedic Breakdancing/Magic Show On Ice. People will constantly be in your face, stepping on your toes, bumping your arms and hips. You will walk in a thick viscous community, clotting the streets and the rainbow colored labyrinths of casino interiors. People are loud, stinky, sweaty things and in Las Vegas they are allowed to be drunk everywhere. *Shudder.*
- Hmm. I just realized that a lot of the stuff I hate can basically be organized into categories of people. So, let’s continue with this in mind as though nothing has happened.
- JERSEY SHORE/ENTOURAGE WANNABES. I suppose Las Vegas has always drawn crowds of people who want to be other people; that’s pretty much the rub of the place. Though girls tend to run in packs as much as the guys, the latter bug me a lot more. As a woman, I take offense to much of the (wolf) pack behavior. The obvious ogling, the cat-calling, the ridiculous one liners and come-ons. Not that these things are directed at me. I’m what the kids these days call a “grenade.” One of the fairer sex who is not down to. . . well, anything with an over-gelled stranger. However, without fail, at least one guy in each of these dude-bro packs is interested in the fact that I wear glasses. I surmise that in their drunken states they let slip their secret taboo desires for the Velma girl.
Anyhow, I understand my place in the LV ecosystem and I stay away, but I still have to hear these jerky dudes and it drives me crazy. Women who reject finely wrought lines like, “show ‘em to me!” are instantly “bitches.” Poolside banter includes interjections about wanting “some of that” thrown into longwinded and inflated verbalizations of male confidence and self-assurance—“we ARE the coolest guys here, we ARE the coolest guys here. Our muscles are bigger, tanner, more hairless than the rest. . . “
- BABIES. I don’t mind little kids and if there’s stuff for them to do in Vegas, then please, by all means, take them there, but why are babies EVERYWHERE in Las Vegas, now? It’s very strange. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing good for your toddler on the Bally’s casino floor. I’m fairly certain that babies do not enjoy baking in their strollers as they’re pushed by their exhausted 8 year old sister down the strip. I’m no parent, but babies probably shouldn’t be thrown in a non-stop stimulation zone at midnight. Plus, I don’t like having to look around to see if I can curse or say something dirty without scarring or inculcating a tiny sponge-brained human. I’m in Vegas, god dammit!
- FASHION VICTIMANIA. Because whatever happens there stays there, all good sense goes out the window, especially in the fashion department. Silly as I am, taking my cues from movies and such like all the other losers who go there, I think, “Oh, Vegas. I need to be hip but not too trendy, comfortable, but not too casual.” I always think this, then I get there and it’s a smorgasbord of ugly clothes. People’s interpretations of “the hotness” are multiform and usually un-ironic to say the least. Bare bellies and exposed back-fat, visually and aurally loud ankle bracelets, jumpsuits and culottes, too many rhinestones, stripper heels, black socks with brown sandals, sunburns in raunchy places, diving-dolphin tattoos. A fine layer of sweat covering it all. *Shudder* squared.
Things to Love/Hate
- FOOD. Even if you think gambling is just your willful participation in the burgling of your money (like I do) you can always find something yummy to eat in Las Vegas. The problem is that there’s so much of everything. Tons of food at the buffet for a good price? You better EAT. IT. ALL. Or spend tons of money on really rich, fattening, fried or ala mode morsels. In the end there’s the food hangover and the guilt if you’re a super ego person traipsing around the land of id.
- SHOPPING. See FOOD entry and imagine a similar bingey situation. P.S. Moderate, thoughtful and wise eating and shopping in Vegas is not fun. It’s stupid.
Things to Love
- SUNSHINE/SKY. The southwestern sky is that perfect dreamy endless ceiling you’ve seen on the movie screen and wished were real. It is real and it’s fabulous. It’s bluer than blue and the air is dry and hot. The sun settles on your skin and warms you, hotter and hotter until you’re numbed into a completely delicious soporific state of delight. There’s nothing else like it. The sky is so big, yet it feels like the air is hugging you. Yeah, that’s the good stuff.
- THE BELLAGIO ART DISPLAY. You probably know the Bellagio for its lavishness, its portrayal in Ocean’s Eleven and its famous fountains, but tucked away in the hotel’s belly there’s also a small but wonderful art museum. For 15 bucks you can enjoy the sweet air conditioned sanctuary of a totally silent and usually empty gallery. Dip into the complex and beautiful texts around you for half an hour or so and you can emerge refreshed and renewed, ready to face the strip and ponderously chug a yard long margarita.
- THRIFT STORES. There are a number of vintage and thrift shops just off the Vegas strip and strewn throughout the actual city—yes, there is more than the strip to consider. Places like The Gypsy Den are well-stocked with unbelievably cool retro items, artsy displays and a great deal of whimsy. The Buffalo Exchange and Savers are also great places to seek out hidden treasures. My husband and I stand by our belief that the southwest in general has the best thrifting because that is where the well-dressed old people go to die.
- ACTING LIKE AN OLD PERSON. If you’re not a hardcore, balls-to-the-wall Vegas visitor and/or the type of person who says things like “balls-to-the-wall,” you can still enjoy Vegas pretty well by acting like an oldster. If you wake up and hang out by the pool before everyone else wakes up, you know, like before noon, you get the pool to yourself. Just think about what time a healthy red-blooded American kid who wants to be Snooki would want to do things and then go at the exact opposite time. Eat at four o’clock. Take naps. Rent one of those get around scooters for the elderly. It’s your trip and if you can’t avoid other people, you can always run over them.