That’s What You Get For Waking Up In Vegas
I’m breaking the proverbial rule of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” so I hope the ghosts of the Rat Pack don’t crossover and strike me down. I recently spent a week in Las Vegas and truly had the time of my life. My fabulous friend Tracey got hitched in the Marriage Capital of the World, so I made a vacation out of it. The wedding was wonderful and everything you’d expect of a classic Vegas wedding. Tracey and Mark tied the knot at the famous Graceland Chapel, complete with an Elvis impersonator leading the ceremony.
Vegas wedding chapels are like revolving doors of eternal love. The Graceland Chapel holds weddings every fifteen minutes. While one couple gets married, the couple that just got married takes pictures in the courtyard, while another couple waits outside to get married. After the wedding, Tracey and Mark held a reception in their incredible bridal suite at the MGM Grand, with hors d’oeuvres and wedding cake that would have made Wolfgang Puck stand up and applaud. I’m hoping that the happy couple followed tradition and froze part of their fondant-covered, chocolate and strawberry wedding cake, because I want another piece on their first anniversary.
I didn’t catch any magic shows in Vegas, but my money sure did a disappearing act. The first time I parked my derriere at the slots, within half an hour, I was up almost $300! Silly me, I thought to myself, “This machine is so lucky! I’m going to keep playing and win enough to pay for my trip!” An hour later, I’d lost enough to pay for a one-way ticket to the poorhouse. There are more slot machines in Vegas than cheap call girls—in casinos, restaurants, even the airports. I’m still hearing slot machine clings and clangs in my sleep. Actually, the call girls in Vegas are anything but cheap. The only cheap things in Vegas are the souvenirs. You can’t beat 99-cent shot glasses and 3-dollar T-shirts. (Sorry, friends and family! The truth wins out.) Want to go out for the night? Bring plenty of cash. My first night in Vegas, I visited Krave, the only gay club on the Strip. Despite my illustrious East Coast female impersonation career, I didn’t qualify as a VIP. After paying $20 for entry and $5 for a small plastic cup of Diet Coke, I was ready to take my chances again on the slots.
Before leaving for Vegas, I’d read that it’s not a particularly gay tourist destination, which my travels confirmed. Aside from my costly detour to Krave, I did a rainbow tour of five gay bars in two different areas of the city. I assumed that the gays don’t nap in the City That Never Sleeps, but I was wrong, although it probably didn’t help my case that I hit the bars on Tuesday night instead of Saturday night like I’d planned. (After walking miles on the strip Friday night, I opted for a slightly early bedtime Saturday night.) Most of the bars were deader than Liberace. At one local watering hole, I watched in near-horror as a very handsome heterosexual man picked up a very drunk, bleach-blonde woman and escorted her out the door with his left hand full of her right ass cheek. A straight man gets lucky at a gay bar in Vegas and I don’t? Still, the locals were friendly and it was nice to get away from the straight (if not straight-laced) Strip for the night, even if I didn’t meet a handsome baller to walk me into the Wynn and hand me a cool grand for the slots.
I expected to spend a lot and walk a lot in Vegas, but I did not anticipate an almost irresistible desire to drink. As my regular readers know, I am an alcoholic with over six proud but humble years of sobriety under my sequined belt. Hooch is everywhere in Vegas, almost as omnipresent as people on the street slapping stripper trading cards against their wrists and shoving them at you while you walk on by. Casinos and street stands sell three-feet tall, colorful, plastic, mixed drink towers with huge straws, and you can go anywhere with them. My first night walking the Strip, a group with these massive cocktails walked just in front of me on the packed street. One guy stopped suddenly, lost his lunch on the sidewalk, shrugged, took another big gulp of his drink, and kept on trucking. Don’t mind me, I’ll just step around that! Only a recovering alcoholic realizes how much of the fun centers on drinking in a party city like Vegas. At Krave, I felt an overwhelming desire to belly up to the bar, and it scared me much more than emptying my piggy bank into the slots. I came quite close to saying the hell with it and ordering a shot…or two…or fifty. Instead, I hit the dance floor for half an hour, and left the club later that night with my sobriety and dignity firmly intact.
A couple of days into my trip, I talked to my friend Mikey on the phone. He asked me, “Are you going to be able to find things to do for seven whole days in Vegas?” I literally LOL. You could stay in Vegas for seventy days and not see half of what the city offers. I caught three great shows—The Lion King, Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, and Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas, whose young, hot, muscular back-up dancers I wanted to lick. I toured Madame Tussauds, wondering at the wax figures and standing as close to hottie Justin Timberlake as I ever will. I had the Fremont Street Experience, visiting old Vegas and upsetting my stomach with a massive deep-friend Twinkie. (The deep-fried Twinkie itself is not enough—they dowse it in powdered sugar and chocolate sprinkles. While ordering this heart attack treat, I delivered my most hysterical, unintentional one-liner in Vegas: Hello, I’d like a deep-fried Twinkie and a Diet Coke, please!) I toured the massive hotels and casinos, enjoyed some great meals, relaxed at the pool and hot tub, hit the four-floor M&M store, enjoyed a couple of massages, met wonderful people from around the globe, listened to my taxi driver argue with a policeman who stopped him for speeding and blowing a stop sign, and shopped ‘til I dropped.
And maybe I did a few more things, but what happens in Vegas….
If you’d like to make a non-tax-deductible but much-appreciated contribution to the Eric Morrison “I Lost My Ass in Vegas” Fund, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.