The following events are as much as can acceptably be revealed about what actually happened in Vegas. Much of what happened in Vegas must truly remain there (or it cannot quite be recalled…).
Every now and then, I think it’s healthy to let loose and get a little crazy. Blow off some steam, get it out of your system, whatever you choose to call it. This year, to celebrate both my birthday and one of my best friend’s birthdays, I set off to Vegas to do just that. Prior to Vegas, I had spent a month working in Todos Santos, Mexico – a small surfing town about an hour outside of Cabo – where I have since happily returned to after my adventures in Vegas. After spending a month surrounded by married couples and babies, and living in a town with virtually no nightlife, Vegas was beckoning for me, intensely. And, Vegas did not disappoint!
Friday, the day we arrived, I was the first one from our group to arrive at Las Vegas McCarran Airport. Two more got in an hour after me, Birthday Boy an hour after them, and the final two arrived later that evening and met us at the hotel. I landed around 1pm, giddy with excitement. Having quite a bit of time to kill (and a savings account that had been bracing itself for this trip for several months), I did what anyone in my position would do and I set off to find the nearest bar. Shortly after arriving at the bar, much to my delight, I received a phone call from an old friend who had just seen on facebook that I was in Vegas. He informed me that he too would be in Vegas in a matter of hours for a weekend-long bachelor party. I’m quite sure that the smile on my face then twisted into a devilish grin.
Once we had all found each other at the airport, we headed to the hotel – The Bellagio. Birthday Boy’s amazingly generous mother got him a VIP suite for his birthday. Since we were VIP, we were, of course, met at the airport by a limo to take us to the hotel. Following that we were greeted at the entrance and taken to the VIP reception at the Bellagio, which is in a room that only a VIP hotel key card can open. While Birthday Boy got us all checked in, the rest of the group was cheerily greeted with freshly baked cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, and wine. Not a bad start to the weekend.
As we made our way to the VIP elevators, we were all giggling with excitement and anticipation at the weekend that lay ahead. And what a weekend it was!
The first event of note was at 10pm on Friday. Birthday Boy and I had arranged for a stripper (male stripper) to come to the room. This was a comical situation. Guy strippers are very different from girl strippers – and it goes without saying that, generally, so is the audience. Birthday Boy and I had a highly amusing Skype conversation the week before in which we checked out some websites for male strippers in Las Vegas (not my idea). The site we went with had me fill out a form that indicated our top 3 ‘choices.’ The name of the stripper who was assigned to us was Brett. I received a text shortly after arriving in Vegas stating that Brett would meet me in the lobby at the Bellagio some time between 10 and 10:15pm. My phone vibrated with Brett’s arrival text just after 10pm and I headed down to the lobby to meet him. He text me that he would be dressed in a black security uniform – which was kind of a surprise because my confirmation email from the website informed me that Brett would be wearing a police uniform. When I spotted a guy holding a rather large boom box and wearing a security jacket in the lobby, I knew I had found our stripper. I walked over to him and extended my hand to introduce myself. He didn’t look anything like his pictures on the website. I said, “Hi, I’m Meghan”, to which he replied, “Hi, I’m Jason”. I looked at him a little confused and he quickly added, “Oh, or Brett, depends which website you found me on.” Great. This was already sketchy and we hadn’t even paid him to take his clothes off yet!
I led Brett up to the room making very awkward small talk. Thank God I’d already been drinking for several hours! He had an extremely high level of energy and said he was very enthusiastic to “get the party started”. I really wonder what the other people in the lobby were thinking as we walked towards the VIP elevators. I was dressed in a scandalously short and tight black dress with insanely high heels, walking with a guy dressed in a black security uniform and holding a boom box on his shoulder. I’m sure people must’ve thought we were some sort of an act! A few heads definitely turned as we walked through the busy Bellagio lobby. Brett, or Jason, was definitely an interesting person, to say the very least. I wish I had a picture of everyone’s faces when I opened the door to the room to lead him in.
At his command, we made a circle of chairs around him and he started his ‘act’. It was quite possibly the most awkward and uncomfortable 60-minutes of my life. Even Brett, or Jason, or whatever his name was, noted our group’s lack of enthusiasm. It wasn’t because he was ugly – he was a pretty decent looking guy, he just wasn’t what we were expecting. He was really peppy and talkative and it just made everything seem kind of awkward. I’ve seen male strippers in action before at bachelorette parties and this one was, for lack of a better adjective, slightly unprofessional. I literally sat back in my chair and inched away from him, avoiding eye contact and jumping up to make myself a drink every time I thought he might try and give me a dance! It was an interesting 60-minutes, and Birthday Boy and a few other willing members of the group were sufficiently harassed. Though I’m proud to say that I survived the experience unscathed. We had an interesting round of question time with Brett, or Jason, when his act was all over and we offered him a drink. Looking back now I cannot help but laugh at the kind of questions we asked him, and how heightened our level of interest was towards him after he put his clothes back on! He informed us that he was bisexual and he told us about some of his more interesting clients and events that he’s worked at. Let’s just say that Brett has done some interesting things for clients in the past! Apparently he moved to Vegas to several years earlier to save up money as a bartender and to try and get into show business, but somehow along the way he fell into stripping. It also seemed fairly clear to us that Jason was high on more than just life. Regardless, I take my hat off to him, and anyone else who can maintain such a high level of enthusiasm from such an unenthused group! He declined a drink and said he had somewhere to be, so I escorted him back down to the lobby and told every one to meet me down there when they were all ready to go clubbing.
As we stepped out of the VIP elevator, in an interesting turn of events, Jason turned to me and said, “Hey gorgeous, so can I buy you a drink?” Now, to put it lightly, I was completely caught off-guard. I definitely wasn’t expecting the bisexual male stripper who I had just seen rub his nakedness against my best gay friend, and whom I had just handed a giant wad of cash to, to want to buy me a drink! I stifled back a laugh and said, “Ummm, what?” He smiled at me, completely unabashedly, and said, “What, can’t a guy buy a girl a drink around here?” Was it really that simple in his mind? I had to admire his confidence though, and his utter shamelessness. So I said, “Okay, I guess if we go to the bar in the lobby then I can have everyone meet me there when they’re ready to go out.” He grinned and said “Great!” As we walked towards the bar all I could think to myself was, am I on a date with a bisexual male stripper?
After we ordered our drinks, Jason looked at me and said, “So, my real name isn’t Jason, it’s actually Tim.” No surprise there! I still kind of wonder what his real name actually is. The rest of my drinks experience with Tim was oddly, pretty normal considering the circumstances! Granted, it was kind of hard to take him seriously after having just seen him do what he had done 30-minutes earlier, but otherwise, it seemed like a normal drink between a guy and girl at a bar in Vegas. He had even put on jeans after his ‘show’ so he looked like he was wearing normal clothes. With the exception of the boom box on the table, we probably just looked like a normal couple (ha). Just as I was nearing the end of my drink, Birthday Boy came to find me (I had text him to come get me, post haste when we got to the bar). We said our goodbyes to ‘Tim’, who asked me to please call him if I was bored at the club (As if that’s even possible in Vegas!) and we made our way out. Looking back now, I’m not really sure how the responsibility of escorting the stripper out fell on to my shoulders, but all in all, I think I handled it pretty well.
We headed to XS, the nightclub at Encore, that night – which is very aptly named. Not one of us was even close to sober when we arrived in the club, and less than ten minutes after we got there we were all separated! One of the other girls in our group – let’s call her Amy – and I were together at the bar, the rest of the group was nowhere to be seen. I distinctly remember talking to Amy at the bar and then hearing some English accents further up the bar. I turned to Amy and I said, “We’re hanging out with them!” Amy and I soon fell in with the likes of what turned out to be a bachelor party from Manchester, celebrating in Vegas for 10-days (which is insane). We had ourselves quite a good time with a very merry group of lads. I’d been feeling pretty homesick prior to my trip to Vegas, having not been in London since the end of May, so it was nice for me to find some Brits for a few hours. The rest of the night is definitely a little hazy – I have flashes of memories that involve some dancing on tables with at least 5 other people, and a considerable amount of time spent queuing for the toilets. In short, it was indeed a very crazy night, and a very fun one.
The next day, Saturday, was Wet Republic at the MGM, which I had been to several years earlier, and to say the least, it has changed dramatically! As soon as our taxi pulled up outside of Wet Republic, we could hear the base from the speakers thumping. We initially had a few problems at the door. One of our friends was a little worse for wear. He hadn’t slept at all the night before and had been drinking steadily since his arrival (actually since before his flight) the day before. The bouncers immediately recognised that our friend was in no condition to come in. Damage control ensued. We gave drunkie a room key and put him in a taxi back to the hotel. Then we focused on getting ourselves in. A simple name drop from our well-connected Birthday Boy, and the entrance fee was waived and we were directed to go in via a private entrance (though that didn’t stop security from searching us and our bags to a point that bordered on sexual harassment. They took my Advil and my chewing gum! Really, though, I think the bouncer probably just had a headache from all the loud music and wanted to cover up what I can confirm was some fairly unpleasant smelling breath.). Walking through the huge gates into Wet Republic, we were all a little shocked at the madness that lay before us. The venue looked like one of MTV’s Spring Break parties. It was crazy, insane, pool party madness and raunchiness like something I’d really only ever seen before on TV. Suddenly the security made a little more sense to me. The pool itself can only really be described as a bacteria cesspit of nastiness. It was packed. Literally, there were hundreds and hundreds of people packed into Wet Republic, all with drinks in their hands and loud music thumping in the background. The people around us were all bumping and grinding, making out and basically humping shamelessly. I felt as though there was a strong chance I might get pregnant just by submerging myself in the water from the waist down. When I was too hot to handle it anymore though, I eventually succumbed and put my whole head under. When I came back up from the murky depths of a pool that, in my opinion, needed a hell of a lot lot more chlorine, there was a lime stuck to my chest and straw in my hair. Nice. Later I found a soggy cigarette butt in my top. This may all sound a little disgusting (and I mean, it really kind of was), but somehow it worked. I had a blast at Wet Republic and I think I’d recommend it. It depends what you’re looking for though, it was a little crazier than what we all had in mind, but the whole weekend I was of a ‘When in Rome’ kind of mentality so I just went with it.
Around 3ph ish, the majority of the group was starting to fade and wanted to go back to the hotel. I was not part of this majority (I rarely am). Neither was my friend Amy. We said our goodbyes to the departing members of our group and, as they went back to the Bellagio to shower and nap (quite sensible really), Amy and I got in a taxi to Vdara, one of the newer additions to The Strip, to see my old friend – let’s call him Matt – who was in Vegas for the weekend-long bachelor party. Amy and I were not the soberest of girls as we made our way into the swanky entrance of Vdara, but no one seemed to be judging us (we didn’t think so at the time anyway). After going to several incorrect locations, we eventually found Matt’s room and were greeted warmly by Matt and his friends. Matt is an old friend of mine and we’ve definitely had some crazy party times together in the past. He gave me a huge hug and immediately him and his friend called room service and ordered us champagne. Such gentleman!
Amy and I spent the next 3-hours sipping champagne and meeting several of Matt’s friends, including some of the interesting (for lack of a better adjective) ladies they had found and decided to bring back to their rooms. Matt and one of his friends were sharing a room, and a lot of the other guys popped in and out of periodically to say hi and hang out. There were apparently a lot more of them in the other rooms. After several hours, Amy and I were both surprised to not have any missed calls on our phones. I was worried we were in trouble for straying from our group for too long so we headed back to the Bellagio, feeling a little like teenagers out past curfew, with no idea what was waiting for us back in our room.
When Amy and I opened the door to the room, we really had no idea what to expect. We assumed everyone was mad at us for ditching them. What we didn’t expect was for everyone to be fast asleep, and one of our friends (drunkie) to be standing alone in the dark kitchen chugging from a bottle of vodka. We turned on the light and looked around, confused. Apparently, in turning on the light, we startled our wasted friend and he stumbled, knocking a glass onto the kitchen floor. Glass went everywhere. Then the rest of the lights flicked on as the rest of the group started to wake up. People were grumpy. Amy and I weren’t. It was kind of awkward. There was some definite yelling when it was discovered that drunkie had cut his foot and left bloody footprints all over the room. Plus there was the broken glass in the kitchen. And it turns out that drunkie had thought it would be a good idea to smoke a cigarette in the bathroom. In short, the room was not entirely different from a war zone – though not quite as bad as the opening scene of The Hangover. I distinctly remember turning to Amy and whispering, “Do you think Matt would mind if we went back to his room for a few hours?”, which of course resulted in silly girlish giggling that was lost on everyone else because they were all either grumpy from having just woken up from a 4-hour nap, or they were so drunk they didn’t even know their name.
That night, our fairly moody and not sober group made its way to Bank first, followed by Pure. This is the part of the trip where my memory gets a little hazy. Bank is the Bellagio’s big nightclub. Apparently, it used to be very cool but I can confirm for you that it no longer is. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it definitely wasn’t ‘Vegas’ in terms of the wow factor. And our bartender was a complete asshole. After we got inside, I was really excited that it would be my birthday in about 30 minutes. So, naturally, I was a little hyper and, notably, not quite sober after a long day of drinking. I went to the bar to order a Bacardi and Diet Coke and the bartender handed me back something that was pink and sweet smelling. I asked what it was and he responded, “its what you ordered”. An asshole, great. I smiled my fake smile and cocked my head to the side, and I reminded him (very politely) that I had ordered a Bacardi and Diet Coke. Now, I can recognise that I was not completely sober, but even now, looking back, I have to say, that that bartender was a complete asshole! Fortunately for me, my friend (who looks exactly like Mila Kunis) took over when she saw the bartender being a dick and successfully ordered a round of drinks for everyone. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t enjoy Bank and we left shortly after our drinks. And off to Pure we went.
Pure is the rooftop nightclub at Caesar’s Palace. The club is actually several floors, but we were on the roof for most of it. It was a short-lived experience for me. I remember meeting a guy at the bar who’s birthday it also was, and his 21st, so he was in a particularly celebratory mood. My friends and I did some shots with him and his friends and we wished each other happy birthday. Around 2am I decided I wanted to go and meet up with Matt and his friends, who had a table with bottle service at XS. I said my goodbyes to my friends and left Pure.
A lot can be said for being a girl on your own in Vegas. I walked right up to the bouncer at the front of the (massive) line at XS and said that I’d like to go in and see my friend, Matt, and that he was there with a bachelor party and they had a table. I added that I had no idea what the bachelor’s name was, or what the name on the table was, and that my friend wasn’t responding to my texts because his phone wasn’t working! The bouncer looked at my ID, wished me a very happy birthday and I walked right in! The bouncer also told security I didn’t have to pay. I couldn’t help but smile smugly as I walked in. I felt as though I owed the bouncer something for his kindness (plus I was well on my way to being completely smashed) so I turned around, smiled at him and said, “For record, you wear that suit very well.” then I winked at him. Fortunately for me, he fully appreciated my shameless drunken flirting and leaned over and gave me kiss on the cheek and wished me a very happy birthday once again. The big group of girls at the front of the line were all glaring at me and whispering to each other about me. I can only imagine what they were saying. And then I wondered how long they’d been waiting in line…
XS is a huge club. I have no idea how many bars it has, in addition to its seemingly endless areas with private tables, and countless dance floors. I looked for Matt and his friends for what felt like forever! Along the way, a lovely group of gentleman from Delhi insisted on buying me a drink (I walked past their table several times looking for Matt) and helped me figure out where in the club Matt and his friends might be. How nice of them! In the end though, it was more shear dumb luck than anything else when I did manage to find Matt. We literally walked right into each other! And oh, the drunken enthusiasm with which we greeted each other! We excitedly jumped up and down whilst simultaneously hugging. Oh, sweet reunion!
After my joyous and drunken reunion with Matt, he took me over to his table to introduce me to his WASTED friends! Wow, what a fun experience it is to be a scantily clad single girl in Vegas joining a bachelor party at 3am on a Saturday! To say the least, it was a meat fest! I was warmly welcomed, and hugged, and ass slapped, and kissed, and hugged again, and offered countless drinks… You’d think these guys had never seen a woman before! It was very amusing and Matt was loving watching me soak up the unconditional love from all of his friends! I kept glancing over at him, and he was watching with a high level of amusement on his face. It was pretty fun! Whenever a song came on that I wanted to dance to, let’s just say that I had more than my share of willing dance partners. Oh Vegas, how do I love thee – just let me count the ways! Anyway, my recollection of the night after finding Matt is seriously hazy, but I can say that all of his friends were gentleman and one of my last memories of the night is one of his friends giving me a piggy back and carrying my heels through the casino at around 6am, to put me in a cab back to the Bellagio. Such a gentleman. Though, remembering how short and tight my dress was, I’m slightly concerned about the fact that I let someone give me a piggy back and how much of my ass Vegas got to see…
Sunday was rough. There’s no better way to put it. I woke up approximately two hours after going to sleep and my phone was blowing up – it was my birthday! Somehow I negotiated a very drunken me out of bed and packed my bags and got my stuff together and out of the room before our 11am checkout. Birthday Boy, Amy and I had a fabulous Bellagio brunch – with bottomless champagne – because on Sunday morning in Vegas, that’s kind of essential!
The rest of the day was, to say the least, bearable. After brunch, I met Matt at Vdara’s pool and we spent an hour together saying our goodbyes and rehashing on the ridiculousness of the night before. Then I found Birthday Boy (who, intelligently, had gotten a cheapo room at the Luxor for a $30 Sunday special). It was a long day, but eventually Birthday Boy and I made our way to the airport around 7:30pm – our flights were both around 10:30pm. In our exhausted and spent states of mind, Birthday Boy and I both thought we should have some wine before heading to the airport. Good idea? Who knows? In my case, probably not. We were both so wasted already from a weekend of extreme indulgence, but it was my birthday, so hey, why not, right? I distinctly remember pulling into Las Vegas McCarran Airport with a bottle of wine in my hand. I insisted we finish it (because you can’t waste it, right?). Then I remember checking-in. It finally rang true to me how very wasted I was when the guy behind the counter hesitated to hand me my boarding pass. He looked at my drunken (and smelly) self and said, “Miss, are you okay?” To which I responded, “What, who, me? I’m fiiiiiiiiiiiiine!” He responded with, “Miss, you look like you’re about to fall over!” Shit! Pull yourself together, Meghan! I felt like I was back in high school! I took a few deep breaths, snatched my boarding pass out of Mr. Alaska Airlines’ hand, and went in search of some food.
I destroyed Burger King. Over the next few days, my receipts from Vegas were literally falling out of all my pockets and handbags, and when my Burger King receipt found me I shocked to see I had spent a total of $37 there! Who on earth spends that much money at Burger King? What the hell did I order? Who knows! All I know is that when I stumbled off of my plane at LAX at midnight, I had never been happier to see my baby sister (she’s 18 now, but she’ll always be my baby) and her best friend!
My little sister took on her sisterly duties admirably that night. Concerned about the state of me when she saw me, she also probably realised she had no other choice. Aside from reminding me that I smelled bad, she was concerned about the stains on my shirt (her shirt). I looked down to see a mess of mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce and barbeque sauce. Oh dear, oops! My little sister and her friend viewed me with disgust and the windows were rolled all the way down the whole way home from the airport. Then, my amazingly fabulous little sister put me in a shower. She helped me wash my stinky hair and then helped me dry off. She put me in a t-shirt and some boxer shorts, helped me brush my teeth, and tucked me into her bed next to her where I immediately passed out. Oh, how I love my little sister! She is the best little sister in the world, I am quite certain of that.
Monday morning, my little sister’s alarm went off around 8am for her summer job working at the local gym. All I know is, when I opened my eyes, the combination of sunlight, the pop music playing her iPod and my destroyed body could handle no more. I cried out, “I’m going to be sick!” My amazing little sister literally picked me up, carried me to her bathroom and I was sick. It’s kind of amazing that after a weekend of such indulgence I wasn’t sick until the day after! But oh, was I sick! I spent most of that day on my little sister’s bathroom floor, cursing Vegas, myself and pretty much everyone I’d ever met. I didn’t feel normal again until Thursday! Well, welcome to Vegas folks – and what goes up, must come down!
And that was my 28th birthday weekend in Vegas. I fully believe that every now and again, weekends like that need to happen. This is not something I necessarily condone, but I’m not gonna lie, every now and again (like once or twice a year), this kind of thing just needs to happen! Vegas is the ultimate indulgence haven. I love Vegas!
Following are 10 things I learned from my birthday weekend in Vegas:
1) If your friend is too drunk to get into a pool party at 1pm, don’t give them a room key and send them back to the room unattended! Especially not if you are staying in a VIP suite in the Bellagio.
2) Do not try to drink a bottle of wine before you walk into the airport and after having hardly any sleep and two solid days of partying – you might have issues being let on the plane.
3) If you are a relatively good-looking girl on your own, you can walk right into a club in Vegas, regardless of the line. If you are with a big group, you will have to wait in line and pay to get in. Split up!
4) Nothing is cheap in Vegas – I spent 3 times as much money as I had anticipated, and I’m a girl! Don’t show up without any money.
5) Take a shower before you leave! It sounds silly but lot of hung-over (or still drunk) people check out and then go to the pool, or just go straight to the airport on the last day. I remember going a few years ago and my one friend woke up from her drunken stupor and was so desperate to leave she threw her stuff in a bag, paid the room bill and cabbed it straight back to the airport. No shower. Just because you are wasted or deathly hung over and think everything around you is funny (or tragic as the case may be), doesn’t mean the people around you find you amusing or that they think you smell good!
6) Make sure someone you trust implicitly is picking you up from the airport. You will be exhausted and likely very hung-over. In addition to possibly losing your voice (I definitely was and I know a lot of people who have come back from Vegas without a voice) and probably not smelling very good. You will also be irritable, exhausted, and not necessarily up for a light-hearted conversation with someone you don’t know very well.
7) Go crazy! People in Vegas really understand the unspoken and unbroken code that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Step out of your comfort zone (or into it as the case may be), get a little wild, and do things you wouldn’t normally do. I highly recommend it.
8 ) Talk to your taxi drivers! The taxi drivers on The Strip are generally very sociable people with a great sense of humour and a high tolerance for drunks (among other things). They love hearing your story. They also like telling theirs! Tip them well (which you probably will anyway as the oxygen and alcohol buzz Vegas creates in you leads to, “Keep the change” becoming a pretty common phraseology in Vegas).
9) DO NOT, under any circumstances, lift up any item in the mini bar or in the baskets left out for guests in any of the hotel rooms on The Strip. None of those items are free and with the act of simply lifting them up, you will be charged. There are little scales under each item and as soon as the weight is lifted from the scales, the item is automatically added to your bill, even if you set it right back down.
10) Don’t bring anything you really care about out clubbing with you. After getting back from an epic night of clubbing in Vegas, you’ll likely look like you’ve just returned from a war zone! My guy friends always end up with ripped shirts, girls hair gets messy, high heels end up being carried, hand bags get lost etc. I didn’t even bring my Blackberry clubbing with me. I opted instead for my $9 pay as you go phone just so I had a way to call people, in case of an emergency.
Overall, the weekend was nothing short of an intoxicating, indulgent, hysterical, sleep deprived, drama-filled, emotional (in a way that only sleep deprivation and intoxication can explain), and crazily fun experience. I already can’t wait to go back…