Vegas Baby

There are a lot of things I can say about Las Vegas.  The city is as debaucherous as I expected.  Everything is a scam.  You can lose hundreds, thousands of dollars in no time at all.  I could write it all out and it would sound like a take on the Hangover except for the fact that no one stole from Mike Tyson.

Here’s where the story gets weird though:

In the back room, “Adriana” asks for my phone number, and I give it to her.  I’ve heard it a million times – you should never think a stripper likes you, and even here I’m skeptical, even when she gives me her real name and texts me to show that, yes, that is her real phone number.  You should never  think a stripper likes you.  There’s no sex in the champagne room.  She clearly wants something.

I’ve spent a lot of money at this point, and had a lot to drink.  The night has been fun in that I think everyone should experience a Vegas strip club bachelor party, but also as frustrating as I expect all strip club experiences are – you spend a lot of money and you go home alone.  That’s the blunt way of putting it, to be sure, but it is what it is.  It’s a shameful, embarassing, thrilling, and draining experience.

I black out on the way home.  I wake up on a couch in my underwear at 4 am and my phone is ringing.

I’m terrified, but as I’ve learned over the past several months, being terrified is good – being terrified means I’m doing something new.  Being terrified means I am being made anew.  Like the bathroom of the Cha Cha, like the Bookstore where I reunited with Meghan.  Like in Jennifer Cho’s sweaty apartment, I am terrified because something unforeseen and terribly exciting is happening.  I function so much better emotionally when I can plan out everything – scripting each conversation and anticipating each reaction.  I can Socratically argue you to the ground.  But I get so invested in my personality – so intricate in how I design situations, that I get stuck, or worse, I get lost and when I have to think on my feet, I fuck up.

Now, I am a new person, a new shape, a new set of legos added to the tower of my personality, the result being something completely unseen albeit made from the same building blocks, and the tower is potentially taller than ever.

Las Vegas outside of the strip is, perhaps, the opposite of Las Vegas on the strip.  It’s very suburban.  Everything is flat.  There are no tall buildings.  It’s sprawling and populous but doesn’t feel urban.  Millions of people servicing this one street that represents the entire culture.  There are some giveaways, like how a Mexican restaurant is open at 5:30 am, still serving margaritas, and how each of the seats at the bar has its own video poker screen.  But aside from that I could be in Everett for all I know.

She’s forgotten that I was coming, but suddenly there she is, in front of me – and where in perpetuity I would consider myself a creep and her put off by me appearing at her apartment at 5 in the morning, I’m on autopilot (thanks Grey Goose) so we grab some food and then sit on her balcony as the sun rises.

This is probably the purest, most beautiful moment of my trip, maybe of my life over the past several months, and I’m sharing it with a stripper, drunk, high, and half asleep. I can see the huge buildings and flashing lights in the distance, and I’ve mythicized the person next to me to the point where I hear Eric Reasoner’s “their fathers must have beaten them” echoing in my mind.

I was just watching her writhe against a pole, and now I’m sitting next to her and learning that she’s working her way through nursing school, she has pet cats, she can’t sleep without the TV on.  She makes way, way more money than me.  And I feel more relaxed around this stranger than I do around my friends who talk ravenously about women and blow, because I feel like I’m experiencing something outside of myself,  yet I can still relate to it.  I feel like I’m talking to someone I grew up with.  We fall asleep next to each other.  We’ll never see each other again.

I get home the next day around noon.  My bachelor party companions make me into a hero and tell the story over and over again for the rest of the weekend – the myth grows each time.  I want to explain it to them but I don’t know how.


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