As summertime commences, the weather gets warmer, and people start to take liberties that should never be taken with spandex, New Yorkers start to think of getting out of the city for vacation. Now, I know this blog is about New York and fun things to do in the five boroughs, but I just can't help but say a few words on my most recent mini-vaca to the infamous City of Sin.
It was my first time in Las Vegas and, as befits a first trip to the city whose tagline is “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, I was there for a bachelorette party. Erin B, Laura, Erin H, Betsy, and I headed out to the florescent oasis of carnal indulgences for a long weekend in celebration of Erin B’s upcoming nuptials. It was a very full and interesting weekend and I could never endeavor to describe an entire city and all of the things we did in one blog, so I will pick out a few highlights to describe to you. Apparently, only some things stay in Vegas if you’re me.
Bachelorette party mission #1: Spend oodles of quality time lounging by the pool, working on our tans, and drinking brightly colored cocktails with umbrellas. After landing and taking a lovely limo ride (thanks for arranging stylish transportation, Betsy), we checked into the Paris hotel, donned swimsuits, and made a beeline for the nearest chlorinated body of water. (As we headed toward the elevator, a group of teenagers was overheard saying, “Ooh, they’re so SO Sex and the City”. Ha! Apparently, we still smelled like the subway.) The huge pool at the Paris spooned inside the U-shaped twenty story hotel and was shaded (only partially, sun-seekers) by an equally-as-huge replica of the Eiffel Tower. A suave-looking deejay mixed house music that was pumped out over a sea of beach chairs supporting oiled young folks sipping cocktails and basking in the Vegas sun. I was officially in heaven. The thermometer read well over 100 degrees at 3pm at our hotel, so we stepped into the cool pool and ordered a round of margaritas. Perfect. I looked around. I noticed that I had expected a significantly more American tourist atmosphere at the Paris pool. In surveying the early afternoon sun bathers, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lack of overweight beached whales, fanny packs, and Miller Lite. For the most part, I was not visually offended. The crowd was surprisingly young and stylish. Perhaps it was Vegas. Perhaps it was the type of person that stayed at the Paris. Either way, it was fabulous.
Bachelorette party mission #2: Take the blushing bride-to-be to a place where she can see lots of young, buff men in their skivvys. In the grand tradition of bachelorette parties everywhere, we concluded that our lady in waiting should not lose out on her last opportunity to oogle gyrating, ‘roided, oily men strip down to their underwear. Luckily, in Vegas, there are numerous establishments that provide that opportunity. We chose the most heterosexual-looking ad and headed toward the “Thunder From Down Under”, a group of Aussie hard-bodies that were basically Chippendales with accents. We poured into the stuffy off-broadway-looking house along with about twelve other groups of women surrounding their own beveiled bachelorettes. Once inside, the cheesiness commenced and we spent an hour squealing and laughing until my sides hurt. The good news: the seven Aussies that graced us with ample views of their muscled hotness were both charming and amply endowed. The performance quality was, actually, very good. They seemed to genuinely enjoy performing and were gracious with every young (and old) lady that went onto the stage. The bad news: the choreography and production quality left A LOT to be desired. I made up my mind by the twentieth step-touch that I was going to move to Vegas to become a choreographer just to rid the poor unsuspecting show-goers from overexposure to bad eighties dance steps. I’m talking BAD, people. Even worse, the segment themes were reminiscent of cheap romance novels. There was a“swashbuckling pirate” number, a “firemen to the rescue” bit, and a “who’s delivering something at my door?” skit that curiously featured a doctor(?). Needless to say, there was a lot of dry ice and traveling lighting. It was ridiculously silly, but perhaps that was all part of the fun. And, in the wise words of Erin (one of them, I can’t remember which), “There is a huge amount of choreographic transgression that can be forgiven if one knows clothes will eventually be removed at the end”. I mean, where else other than Vegas can you watch a man climb onto your table, pick up your beer, and pour it over his gyrating naked body. Wait. Don’t answer that.
Besides these two very important bachelorette party missions, we had a number of fabulous meals, saw Cirque du Soliel’s Zumanity, did a little gambling, had a lot more pool time, and basically had a slothly, gluttonous, Vegas-sort of time.
Here’s the moral of the story: my first time in Vegas was a great one, but I’m not sure that I’ll be going back any time soon. The interesting thing about the city is that it’s fun and exciting until the sun rises. Like leftover evening makeup in the morning sun or the proverbial “walk of shame”, the city was garish, empty, and a little sad. I looked at the Eiffel tower. It was a shell of a replica of the real version across the sea with so much history and meaning. The huge lion in front of the MGM looked plastic and cheap. I looked to the outskirts of the town at the glory of the sun rising over the Nevada mountains and thought, “Now, there is real beauty”. The mountain’s majesty outshone any neon light or flashy architecture that could ever exist. Yeah . . . deep thoughts from a bachelorette party. So, yes, Vegas was a blast. But, like a mirage in the desert, its pleasures were fleeting and hollow. Luckily, I had good friends with which to make wonderful memories so that I could fondly remember my time in the City of Sin.