Yes, the holidays were a bit unconventional this year. After spending a weekend celebrating Christmas with my family, my husband and I jumped on a plane for Vegas on Christmas Eve. Not only was the price right (a $25/night resort hotel room!) but I could hit the after-Christmas sales while my husband hit the poker tables. If I was lucky maybe he would slip me a twenty for some extra dance lessons with Johnny Castle.
Now I must preface this by saying that I love Vegas…so overall the trip was a success, and I would do it again. The decorations at The Venetian and The Bellagio were particularly wonderful, plus the food, shopping, entertainment, etc. kept us busy.
But who am I kidding; you don’t want to read about that. You want the juicy Vegas stories. Now I am too old and too married to wake up with a tiger in my room, and most of my Vegas “sinning” involves overeating and overshopping, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t taste some local flavor.
Okay but first, church. (Just bear with me here, please.)
Things started out a bit rocky when I attempted to attend midnight mass. I decided that since we were in Sin City, it couldn’t hurt to earn some extra credit. So we attended services at a huge cathedral complete with the Bishop of the Las Vegas Diocese presiding. If anyone has seen extra sinniness, it’s this guy.
Now if you know anything about Catholic mass, you know that Christmas celebrations are usually around 90 minutes. But when the bishop is involved, there’s a whole lot more pomp and circumstance and even costume changes (i.e. Bishop Beanie vs. Bishop Mitre, for example). Tack on another fifteen minutes for incense swinging alone. It took 45 minutes before we got to the Gospel, and I was ready to pass out. Apparently a day of dehydrating flights and a stuffy, packed seat in the balcony do not mix. Faced with the possibility of falling unconscious into the mothball-laden fur coat in front of me, I chose to leave early for some fresh air and water. Not a good start.
Thankfully, things picked up the next day. After rehydrating and getting a good night’s rest, my husband and I hit the strip for a 3-mile run. The sights and decorations on the strip were enough to distract me from my heavy breathing, plus the “adult literature distributors” were not out yet, eliminating a huge obstacle. Usually there are about fifteen in a row, so that would have been tricky. Good for my mileage (and my Spanish usage), but tricky.
Now onto Fremont Street.
The first Fremont Street performer we encountered was a bikini-clad man dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Even though I am from a small town in Wisconsin, this was not shocking to me. After all, I love me my drag queens. The Drag Queen Bingo episode of Sex and the City alone made me want to move to Manhattan immediately. Those gals are bee-yoo-tiful and can teach me a thing or two about concealer. However, this was no RuPaul. Instead, he looked exactly like the super creepy serial killer transvestite from The Silence of the Lambs. I was relieved that the fur shrug he wore was actually a real garment and not a little dog named Precious. He had nice legs though, I’ll give him that.
After swiftly making it past Buffalo Bill, we decide to spend our $10 meal credit at the swanky café at Binions. I was about to bite into my BBQ beef when in wheels Mr. Gangrene, proudly displaying his infected and smelly foot for all the diners to see. He was soon removed due to several complaints from patrons. He obviously had some mental problems and probably a good case of diabetes, so I felt sorry for him. On the other hand, I could not feel sorry for another man I encountered.
I’m talking about The Flosser.
As in “I just had a meal of corn-on-the-cob, popcorn and Butterfingers, and this may take a while, so I am going to get all of this gunk out of my mouth by flossing in the middle of the street.”
The real kicker was, he wasn’t by himself. And it’s not like he was with some other disgusting slobs or a strange band of dental hygiene enthusiasts. He was with his wife and two kids, and they just stood there while Dad took care of business, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. And by all accounts they looked like a normal, non-Honey Boo Boo type of family. Who apparently thinks it’s okay to chuck food particles from your mouth onto the street.
Lastly, what would vacation be without a little embarrassment?
Now if you know me, you know that I hate being the center of attention…unless my hair is perfect and I’m wearing a really hot outfit, then it’s okay. Thank goodness for the pretty dress, otherwise a stunt person would have been nice during my wedding. I don’t want to be that person pulled on stage for a private dance at the Chippendales show. I don’t want the stand-up comedian talking to me; I am an audience member, and I prefer to stay invisible, thank you very much. I did not fork out 20 bucks to become part of your act; I paid so you could entertain me.
So imagine my horror when suddenly my husband becomes part of the pre-show entertainment at Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere. Since I was sitting next to him, the huge auditorium spotlight also shone on me, so in my book this still counts as personal mortification.
I knew we were doomed when the French “street performer” took one look at my husband (from 10 rows down) and said, “Ah, zere he ees! My friend!” and then promptly booked it up to us. My husband must have some sort of audience participation appeal; he was also chosen to be the “enemy spy” on board at the Star Wars ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (And by the way, he loves seeing stand-up comedians and would probably also love talking to one during a gig. It figures.)
Well I will not ruin the surprise for you in case you ever see Mystere, but let’s just say it involved lots and lots of popcorn and the entire audience laughing at my husband. All I could do was sit there and say, “Wow. I am really embarrassed for you.”
As for the rest of the week…I am just sorry we had to leave before we could see MC Hammer and Tone Loc perform together at the Riviera. That would have been sweet.