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Since last week hailed the arrival of my 25th year of breathing, I felt it appropriate to simultaneously celebrate and mourn this quarter-life milestone. And since there’s no better city in America for foolishly grasping to the desire to stay young and wild and free than Las Vegas, two of my best friends and I headed there this last weekend to get a little crazy.
The craziness was had in full, but certainly not to the degree that would be deemed inappropriate. No one fell asleep in the Bellagio fountain pool, no one hooked up with any Persian drug lords, and no one woke up married/bearing a new tattoo/missing a finger. We had hangovers, but none so bad that they might provide material to the popular movie franchise’s screenwriters for the the second sequel. In fact, I’d say that my visit to Vegas was downright educational, as I ended up learning some valuable lessons over our less-than-24-hours-long trip (we did it the get-in-and-get-out way this time around, which suited my near-elderly self just fine).
I’m feeling generous today, in my newly-matured state of forced adulthood (for real, though, it’s all downhill from here… being able to rent a car on the cheap was all I had to look forward to, and now I have nothing), so I will share the Top 10 lessons I gathered from my brief stint in everyone’s favorite city of sin with you here:
1) Always tell the hotel there’s only 2 guests staying in your room. They charge extra for more people, and your third/fourth/twentieth guest can just wander around the gambling floor for a bit while you check in, before you all sneak up together. You will save a lot of money this way; just be sure the hotel doesn’t try to screw you over and “upgrade” you from two queens to a king bed. That would make things very uncomfortable between you and your friends, whom you love, but perhaps not that much.
2) Plan ahead when it comes to meals. Getting reservations at the nicer hotel restaurants is pretty darn difficult when it’s the afternoon the day of, unless you want to join the East Coasters eating dinner at 5:00 PM. It’s also always a pain in the ass to find somewhere with a decent brunch, so just research these important details ahead of time. Your impatient, hungry, and drunk future self will thank you when you get to just show up and eat without wandering around a giant hotel for an hour.
3) A douchey vibe does not a good club make. In lieu of writing a scathing review on Yelp (Because who does that, anyway? Only sad people with too much time on their hands… and me), I will just tell you all right here that the much-to-do’ed Marquee club at the Cosmopolitan hotel is to be avoided at all costs. They try very hard to appear exclusive and grand, but there is nothing to justify all the hooplah. First of all, we were told by the hotel concierge to line up for the club by 10:00 PM at the latest in order to avoid a 90 minute wait in line. So we showed up at 9:30 PM but there was no line whatsoever, so we just waltzed right in, because, you know, it was freaking early and the club was dead. On our way inside, we learned that the club charges $20 for females to enter if they’re not staying at that hotel. WHA?! This is an unspoken law of bearing the burden of womanhood: Thou shalt always gain free access to clubs. We forked over the money and wandered around the three-tiered club all night trying to find decent music that wasn’t either 90s hip-hop or Akon from three years ago. We failed on that front. There was also a horrible ass of a bouncer who at one point at the end of the night felt the need to harass us when we tried to rest in a quiet spot outside. Me being me, I said to him directly: “You are a fucking asshole,” to which he responded, “Yeah, I get that a lot.” An asshole who’s also clichéd? Come on. At the end of our night, we learned that the club directed everyone to walk down five flights of stairs (NOT FUN after hours of dancing in high heels), because they don’t have elevators or a proper exit. Just UGH all the way around.
4) If an ugly guy stumbles up to you while you’re breaking it down on the dance floor and asks if he can dance with you, it’s very easy to get rid of him: just say “No.” Nothing more. This happened, I said the magic word, and Mr. Ugso retreated. Yes, it was a not very nice move on my part, but it was definitely efficient. At least the poor guy asked if he could dance with me; if a man does the normal move of simply attaching himself to your backside out of nowhere like a stealthy mollusk, I recommend that you simply stop dancing, turn to him, say my magic word (“No”), and walk away. It’s hard to argue with such a direct rejection, and it’s much cleaner than “Ohhh…umm… I have a boyfriend? I need to go find my friends? I have to go to the bathroom?”, or any of the other stupid excuses girls make up to get away from creepy sex hunters.
5) There is no such thing as a “free drink” when you’re a woman soliciting one from a man. You will always work hard to earn that drink, and will most likely suffer greatly for the cause. Sometimes it’s better just to fork over the $15 and buy your own drink, unless you’re really interested in hearing about some sad, chunky, balding 34-year-old-from-Riverside’s thrilling life of working in retail. I had to talk to said miserable man for far too long to justify the weak drink I was given in return. The worst part was that he knew he was miserable, referring to his life as boring and shrugging in apology for his complete lack of appeal. Me being me, I asked him straight up, “Is there anything you wish you did for a living? What do you dream about? What would make you happy?” The man smiled sadly and said he would like to open up his own brewery, and I said, “Seriously, you should do that. Just go be happy. It’s worth fighting for,” to which he looked off in the distance wistfully and shook his head, dismissing the notion. I wanted to sympathy-murder us both.
6) The true natures of friendships are revealed when at least one party is really, really drunk. A best friend will hold you while you break down crying in the middle of the club, return with you to the room even though it’s only 1am, order you sweet potato fries and hummus over room service, turn on a bad rom com on the hotel tv, and spend an hour reassuring all your sad, drunken fears and worries. How do I know this? Because I was the sad, drunk one in the above scenario, and I burst into a sudden and unprovoked fit of sobs in the middle of a dark hallway in the club because I miss my deployed fiancé so much and I’m stressed about our future and blah blah blah. I rarely cry, so this was beyond embarrassing. Thankfully, a very kind girl came out of nowhere (I think I maybe believe in angels now? She seemed like one) and began stroking my hair and asked what was wrong, and I told this stranger my pathetic story and she listened and cared, until my friends found me and were able to take care of me as already stated above. (Lauren and Sonya, I love you, I’m sorry, and thank you for demonstrating yet again the nature of forever-friendship.)
7) If you’re coming to Vegas from Los Angeles, just save yourself some trouble and fly. It’s really not worth it to drive. My friends and I got lucky this time around and made each leg of the trip in about 5 hours, but driving back on Sunday afternoon while exhausted and nursing a pounding headache, especially if there’s traffic or bad weather, is the absolute worst way to end an otherwise good weekend. You don’t really save much money by driving, and I once got stuck in such bad traffic that it took 10 hours to get home, so you definitely don’t save any time.
8) Anyone who claims to looooooove coconut water (i.e. any female celebrity) is lying. Like, absolutely, unwaveringly, undeniably lying while wearing a stupid smug self-satisfied grin. Do not go out and buy yourself some, thinking that it will be so wonderful to drink it when you’re hungover and need to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes. You will take one sip of that shit and be presented with the urge to throw up. So, you know, if you’re drunk and looking for a way to sober up, maybe then it’s a good idea to drink the coconut water and puke out whatever alcohol’s still in your stomach. Otherwise, as I learned the hard way, coconut water, in all its repulsive glory, will just make your hangover even more unbearable.
9) Speaking of hangovers, I have one word for you: Sriracha. Whatever you eat for dinner the night after drinking, douse that shit with this most perfect of all condiments, and life will be good again.
10) Final bit of hangover advice: Go for a run. Sweating out all those toxins (and avoiding alcohol for a long while afterwards) will help tremendously. It’s a magical cure that most people forget about, because the last thing you want to do when you’re hung-over is exercise. But it will help, I promise.
To all who dare to venture to Las Vegas, I wish you godspeed and good luck. I hope that my insights can be of some use to you, but keep in mind that in Vegas you’re allowed to be a little idiotic and untethered, so feel free to ignore and forget everything you just read. Also, it’s perfectly okay if you want to listen to Katy Perry’s “Waking Up In Vegas” song on repeat the whole time.