In two short days, Las Vegas will finally get what it has waited 28 long, excruciating years for -- my presence. And what a weekend it will be as well. I'm heading out there for a friend's bachelor party, and it seems like the fates have conspired to make this perhaps the ultimate weekend to be there. Aside from the bachelor party stuff, which will certainly be great fun, three other events have magically converged, thus making May 5, 2007, perhaps the greatest day in history:
1. Cinco de Mayo. I don't really know a whole lot about this day, but I know that drinking pails full of Coronas and margaritas somehow means I'm celebrating it. Excelente!
2. The Kentucky Derby. Some folks consider June 21 the first day of summer. Others say Memorial Day truly starts summer off. But over the past few years, I've come to believe that the first Saturday in May actually kicks things off. Though I'm not much of a gambler -- I feel like I have enough vices as it is -- I'll always head to OTB on Derby day. The Derby is the first big-time outdoor event in months (excluding Opening Day of baseball, since it is often ass-cold at Shea on April 1, and the Super Bowl, because half the time it's held in a dome), and May is usually my favorite month for weather, so that's often the first time I spend most of the day outside drinking -- what I would consider a good way to evaluate the start of summer. And finally, this is an event with an official drink. And what a drink it is! The Mint Julep! If you've never had one (you suck) here's what it is: fill a cup with crushed ice; grind up some sugar and fresh mint leaves; fill with bourbon (Maker's Mark, preferably). That's it. No mixers. It's just liquor with ice and a plant. And it tastes like ambrosia.
This is another thing I love about the derby: the way everyone gets all dressed up, especially the women and their hats. It's really a totally Southern, genteel style that dominates at Churchill Downs, something infrequently seen at major sporting events. And everyone gets wasted on Mint Juleps, as these fine folks are.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Oscar de la Hoya. Quite simply, the biggest and most anticipated fight since Tyson-Holyfield, if not longer. It's the best fighter in the world vs the most popular fighter in the world. And naturally, it's in Vegas (where I'll be, did I mention that?). Right now on Stub Hub, back row tickets start at $834.00 each. When tickets went on sale, they were sold out in three fucking minutes. That's what I'd call in-demand.
So basically, I know my Vegas trip has Saturday planned out: Morning -- Coronas and margaritas by the pool as I chill out in my sombrero wearing my Mexican flag bathing suit while I curse in Spanish as much as possible, maybe even a Latina hooker or three; afternoon -- Mint Juleps and pulling for Nobiz Like Showbiz, hopefully nailing a hooker with an endearing Southern accent; night -- rooting for de la Hoya even while watching him be as effective at successfully hitting Floyd as Mr. Miyagi was at getting one of those flies with chopsticks, and finishing off with a hooker who's into letting me punch her (that's legal in Vegas, right?).
I know that clip doesn't have the chopsticks scene, but it's still pretty funny. You should click on to the Youtube site and check this guy's other movies-in-5-seconds clips. I especially love Titanic, The Three Amigos and Goodfellas (this one is pretty NSFW).
But that still leaves Thursday and Friday nights, and since I've never been to Vegas, I'm not sure what to go out and do. I'm sure I'll end up breaking my non-gambling style by throwing down too much money on 23 at the roulette table (just like Tony did on Sunday on The Sopranos -- that's my number too!), if for no other reason than drinks are free if you're gambling. If you can get free drinks, you do it. That's an absolute rule in any situation. Why do you think I go to church? Communion! But I'm not gonna spend all my time in Vegas just gambling, not when the city (allegedly) has so much more to offer. So what else to do? I've asked friends, and many have insisted that I check out the strip-club scene. To which I inevitably groan, and here's why.
Strip clubs blow. I've been to strip clubs up and down the Eastern seaboard, from Florida to Montreal, and with a few notable exceptions, I've had an awful time at all of them. As I mentioned before, my first trip to Stiletto's was great, even though I didn't have quite as -- how to say this... -- "explosive" a time in the private lap-dance room as some of the other 18-year-olds I was with (you know who you are). It was my first time there, and as I hadn't had much experience yet with naked women smiling at me to that point, how could I not enjoy myself?
The second good time I had at a strip club was in Montreal, where the rules are much looser (no pun intended). This club's private dances were hands-on, which is an entirely different experience from most lap dances where the mind-reading devices know instantly the moment you have an inkling of an idea to actually -- gasp! -- touch the girl's leg. (If you're in Montreal, go to Wanda's. Totally worth it.)
Lastly, when I was in Florida "researching" Friction, I went to a club called Cheetah. I didn't even get a lap-dance (or friction-dance, in local terms), but this seemed like the first club I'd been to that realized that having naked chicks walk around and charging exorbitant prices for everything wasn't guaranteed to make a guy enjoy himself. The whole vibe, from the girls' awesome attitudes to the free buffet lunch to the general unpretentiousness of the place, was different and in every way better than other strip clubs I'd been to.
But aside from those three, every other club I've been to sucks, and for many of the same reasons. The biggest beef I have with strip clubs is that, as a general rule in my life, I feel like if 1. There's a hot naked woman grinding on my crotch while she smiles at me and tells me how great she thinks I am, then 2. I SHOULD GET TO HAVE SEX WITH HER. Somehow, men have been fooled by the first part into letting the woman abdicate her role in the second part. And you have to pay her not to do it! Honestly, this situation has happened to me outside a strip club -- where a hot naked chick is lovin' me (numerous times, I swear!) -- but the big reason why that's an awesome thing when it happens is that very soon after, I know I will be having sex with her.
Other things that suck about strip clubs include:
- The enormous ATM fees are laughable. You can be charged $20 just to take out $40. What?
- The cover charges at half the decent places can run you up to $50, then you have the $20 coat check, then the whole drinks-cost-more-than-your-hotel-minibar thing.
- In New York -- and many other states -- most strip clubs aren't fully nude because that means they can't serve alcohol. I went into one club on 8th Avenue (again while "researching") that we chose because it was fully nude. It also had a two-drink minimum, which meant that as I watched a bunch of subpar-looking girls who were subpar dancers, I had to buy two $8 cokes (plus tip). And if you do want to drink, then you're looking at places like Scores and the Hustler Club, which will certainly charge the outrageous bullshit fees I mentioned above -- just so you can see chicks still wearing their fucking underwear.
So in conclusion, I'm not sure I want to deal with the Vegas strip clubs, because a large majority of prior experience leads me to believe I will have a bad time there. If any of you who have been to Vegas know of a cool, fun club where I might enjoy myself, I'd love to hear about it, as my judgment while there will certainly be suspect, and it's not exactly unimaginable that I might somehow end up at one. But if I do, I'd like to be able to suggest a cool one beforehand.
Any other cool spots to go in Vegas would be great to hear as well.
And finally, since "Vegas" is (totally inappropriately) one small letter away from "vegans," I figured I'd put up a pic of what, or should I say "who," I'm having for dinner tonight: