Not all of my vacations are Ladycations. I’m all about travel of any kind; an equal opportunity traveler, if you will. One of the most fun “Othercations” I took was when my step-sister, Sara, got married. She and her fiancé, Samson, had just moved to Las Vegas and were to be wed at Mandalay Bay. I was goin’ to Vegas, baby.
I’d never really had a desire to go to Las Vegas, to be honest. I get anxious in crowds, I don’t like noise and chaos, I don’t gamble; it just didn’t seem like my kinda place. And going there with my three teenage children? It gave me heartburn just thinking about it. But I wasn’t going to miss Sara’s wedding, and a vacation is a vacation, so off we went.
I flew to Minnesota with my daughter when she was one year old. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Flying with kids is a lot easier when they’re teenagers. For one thing, teenagers don’t poop themselves mid-flight. They also don’t scream bloody murder, and thrash around like they’re possessed by demons. So apart from my sixteen year old son being a bit nervous on take off, the flight was a breeze.
It was 8:30 when we landed, which was 11:30 Cleveland time, so the kids were beat. Once we got checked into the hotel, they went right to bed. I wasn’t anywhere near tired, however, so my dad and I headed down to the casino and met up with my brother, Chris, and our other step-sister, Anna. While my dad and Anna were ready to call it a night, my brother and I, as usual, were not.
We hit The Strip, where our first order of business was finding a big slushie drink. I was in Vegas, I wanted a giant margarita in my hand immediately. We walked from our hotel, the Excalibur, through New York New York and MGM Grand, to the Cosmopolitan. Everywhere we went, we played a few slots, and ordered a drink. Every time the ladies came around to get our drink order, my brother asked if they had the Macallan, his favorite scotch, on the freebie list. And every time he asked, they said “no.” Sadness.
I was not sad at all, though, because I kept winning! We were playing quarter slots. I need my money, I can’t just throw it all in a machine and risk it being gone forever. I’m a single mom, and Mama’s got bills to pay. So when I won $45 on Ellen and Game of Thrones slots, I felt like I’d just won Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. I was in love with Vegas.
Our next stop was Paris. We sat down at another slot machine and, when the waitress came over, my brother once again asked if they had the Macallan. I don’t think either one of us were prepared when she said, “Sure, and for you?” I blinked, ordered my vodka-cranberry and, when she walked away, my brother and I looked at each other in disbelief. Minds: blown. Paris was most definitely our favorite casino of the night.
We gambled long enough for Chris to drink two Macallans and, when we realized it was almost four in the morning, decided we should probably head back to the hotel. We walked outside and started stumbling down the street; laughing, taking pictures, and talking to random strangers. We’d been going like that for about a half hour before we realized we’d been walking in the wrong direction the whole time. We felt stupid for half a heartbeat or so, and then we just laughed and turned around.
Whenever my brother was out without me he was constantly getting approached by “ladies of the evening.” He flew in the night before we did, and while he was alone and walking the strip that night, a woman approached him. Being the Midwesterner that he is, it took a while before he realized what was happening: this scantily clad, incredibly friendly, young lady walking down the street with him was on the clock. I think it was his, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” moment. It must be easier to get laid in Vegas than in any other city in the world.
As we walked we kept passing old men, in expensive suits, with women in their twenties on their arms who were wearing dresses that barely covered their lady bits, heels as high as the slushie drink I was carrying, and more makeup than a Maybelline ad. (Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s prostitution.) So to pass the time on the long walk back, we turned it into a game: Girlfriend or Hooker? If you’ve never played it while walking the Vegas strip late at night, you should try it, it’s pretty entertaining. And not in a “judging their lifestyle choices” sort of way, but more of a, “wow, I hope she’s getting paid a lot for that, this is such an interesting intersection of humanity, and I want to remember that dude’s face for the sketch artist” sort of way.
Despite our accidental detour and stopping to take a million ridiculous pictures, we managed to find our way back to our hotel safe and sound. The kids were snoring when I got back to the room, and I was out before my head hit the pillow. Vegas, as it turns out, is fabulous. . . as long as you’re drunk. Viva Las Vegas!