By BG © 2004
1125 PM, Saturday
Do "dancers" smell like whores, or do whores smell like "dancers?" Either way, it takes a lot of mid-priced perfume to cover skank adequately.
I was downtown with my friends from Arizona, Jen and Steve, and another couple from Arizona (let's call them "Dave" and "Dave's wife") along for the ride, and somehow the neon schmaltz of Glitter Gulch was irresistable. To the women. Neither Jen nor Dave's wife had ever been in a strip club before, and they were intrigued. Part curiosity and certainly part "No Cover Charge" advertised outside. Me? Not as intrigued. There are somewhere between eleven and umpteen places to see naked women in Las Vegas, and the girls are gravitating towards the joint across from the place that's served upwards of thirty million discount shrimp cocktails.
I'm not sure if anyone's made the connection between bad strippers and underpriced seafood before, but here we are.
Far be it from me to suggest "gambling" or "gaming" as an option to the girls that were probably more "Rhino" than "Spearmint." These girls were probably gyrating uncomfortably behind chicken wire and ruing that they had skipped "Pole Trick Day" at stripper college and were forced to take what was left when the job placement people were handing out assignments. At least that's how I imagined it. Dave and Dave's wife preceded Jen, Steve, and me into the club, and were effectively lost within seconds. Jen and I made it to a table, where a waitress immediately took a drink order, and told us there was a two drink minimum, and that it'd be $35 for the two of us.
Uh, no thanks. Free boobs? Sure. $9 beers? Not a chance.
Jen followed me out of there, where Steve was still outside the front doors, watching some Galaga-themed show going on overhead. Some "experience" this Fremont Street was. Can I just play blackjack now? Jen, Steve, and I decided that we'd split up for a bit. Jen would join the Daves in the club, and Steve and I would go tackle the $5 blackjack table inside the Las Vegas Club casino next door. Neither of us had seen a dancer yet, but Jen was hoping they weren't going to be "as skanky as that waitress" we had seen. I advised her that only the dancers would be skanky. The waitresses were more likely to be skeevy. Whatever. I figured blackjack was more my speed for awhile.
Bad move. Instead of two $9 beers inside a cut-rate strip club, I was the one left feeling naked and exposed after about 45 minutes at the tables. The Twin Thai Dealers Joy and Fran were tag teaming dealing duties at our table, and were throwing the high heat. It was surreal. It's not as if I have a long history with blackjack, but I've never in my life seen a dealer throw nothing but fourteens, fifteens, and sixteens to everyone around the table on consecutive hands, turning easy twenties both times herself.
It was like this all night, and by "all night" I mean "consistently for the next forty-five minutes." I tried to combat the dealer luck by moving to two spots and increasing my bets to $10 per. No dice. I'd get an eleven, double, land a four, and be out $20. My doubling didn't work, splitting "by the book" didn't work, nothing worked. Joy and Fran just fucking kicked our asses. Down by $200 in three quarters of an hour, and I'd had enough.
By this point, Jen had arrived fresh from the Gulch, and was parked at a roulette table waiting for us to finish destroying my bank account and little Ivan's college fund. We dragged her out of there and across the street to the Golden Gate to try to make our money back from Downtown by eating some discount cafe food. Dave and Dave's wife showed up, and we managed to make it to the table without Joy or Fran taking my cab fare back to the Excalibur from me at gunpoint.
"How was the club?" Steve was interested to hear his wife's story. I think his brother, the same guy who at 32 was making out shamelessly with a seventeen year old girl at our party sophomore year of college, had taken him to enough strip clubs in his time that they weren't exactly "special" to him anymore.
"It was fun. We were sitting next to the nicest lesbians."
Ahh... lesbians have always loved Jen. She's this big, curvy, beautiful girl that has an unbelievable magnetism about her. She gets along with everybody, and even when she's having a little fun at your expense, you almost feel good that it's coming from her. Steve's a lucky guy.
"You know what I hate about lesbians?" I'm not sure, but losing $200 as quickly as I did may not have made this sound as sarcastic as maybe I wanted it to. "I hate how they're always making out and playing with each other's breasts. You know what else I hate? Those women-in-prison movies on Cinemax. I hate those."
Dave and Dave's wife exchanged a quick look of puzzlement. Steve jumped in on it too. "I just hate the mullets and the flannel. I can do without that."
Unfortunately, just at that moment, a couple of women - one semi-mulleted in a plaid shirt - were seated in the booth behind. Dave's wife had a look of horror on her face for a second, as if I was going to somehow not notice the brutish swagger on the hair helmeted woman seated nearby.
Vegas might be the best place on Earth to press your luck, but I know better than to pick a fight with a lesbian that can kick my ass. God knows what she was carrying in that fanny pack.
BG is a writer from a small hamlet in Western Michigan.