True Story©… What Happens in Vegas
Anyone who follows me on
various social media platforms knows that two things my wife and I do is travel
and eat. So much so that we literally
travel to eat sometimes. That said, one
of our now-favorite places to go is Las Vegas.
Funny thing is that we classify “favorite” as “places we will go again
before ticking somewhere new off of the checklist.” We were married in Vegas November of
2018, and semi-revisited the scene of the crime to celebrate her birthday at
the very end of January this year.
While there were SOME people walking around in masks, this was a few weeks before The Rona had fully gripped the nation.
One of the funny things
about Vegas is that “The Vegas Experience” begins the very moment you step off
of your plane into the airport. When you
step into the terminal, like before you even get to the food
courts and even to the baggage claims, you are bombarded with slot
machines. Bear in mind that this is still far
enough into the airport that you cannot get TO them without having gone through
the TSA cavity search.
That is not to say that there aren’t MORE slots at more easily-accessible locations in the building. You go down past the slots and the food, and you have what is more like a shopping mall with high-end clothing and jewelry stores.
Past the “spend money now!” overload, you head down to baggage claim and the bombardment changes to things to get into throughout the city. One I noticed was for the number of topless revues aimed at men – and shit, women too! – who like (usually small in Vegas) titties. Next is the comedy, music and lord knows whatever else shows. Then there comes the male revues, which always feature ripped dudes, clearly to attract women with more money than good sense.
And that is where my idea came in… I looked to my wife and asked “where are the dudes built like me?” and she tried to act like she couldn’t hear me.
Me: *points* “Where are the dudes built like me?”
Wife: “Phillip, we’ve been up since four this morning, what are you talking about?”
Me: “The Male Revue over there. How come none of them are built like more-normal Americans?”
Wife: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Well I don’t think it is right that we have to aspire to some unattainable physical ideal or conform to unfair standards of beauty.”
Wife: “Have you been drinking?”
Me: “Yes, I had three bourbons on the plane from Atlanta, but that was an hour ago.”
Me: “Don’t change the subject. I DEMAND the establishment of a plus-sized male revue in Las Vegas.”
Wife: “Are you really being serious right now?”
Me: “Dead serious!”
Wife: “Then you know what you gotta do, right?”
Me: “Yep! I gotta START a plus-sized male revue.”
Wife: “So what’ll it be?”
Before I had a chance to respond, our Lyft driver showed up and we were on the way to our hotel. Once checked in, we arranged to spend a couple of hours in a time share presentation wherein we planned to say “no” until they gave us our vouchers for free food and over half-off of the Cirque show that was playing in our hotel, all to kill time until my brother and his wife arrived on a later flight than our own.
Back at our hotel, we wandered the Luxor a little to learn how to easily feel our way about and plan where inside of the hotel we might eat with our vouchers. Tired of walking, wife person said she wanted to go upstairs and take a nap until the rest of our party had settled into their room. I walked her to the room and told her I would be back in a bit, I felt like going down to the casino for a bit.
Instead of the casino, I
went to the check-in desk and borrowed two pencils and a stack of note pads to
match the one I had already pilfered from our room. I doodled some shit loosely resembling myself
in a banana hammock and no shirt, plus my socks and a pair of Huaraches. Underneath, I wrote “Phlip’s Plus-Size Male
Revue” and my phone number with “text for details” and then I ventured out
into the casino and handed out my flyer to various women I hoped might be interested in
my new business venture.
An hour feeding the one-armed bandit with money I earned playing an app on my phone, I finally went back to the room to awaken my sleeping wife so our evening could begin.
Time and again and again
and again, my phone KEPT beeping with text notifications, causing my wife to
ask “don’t your friends know you’re out of town?”
“They know, but this is business” I responded, but that wouldn’t be enough. “Your job knew you were leaving when we paid for these tickets in October, what do they want?” and now I had to come clean. I dug into my back pocket and handed her one of the flyers that I had scribbled. She looked it over, looked at me and rolled her eyes before telling me “you really are ridiculous sometimes.” I decided in that moment that it wouldn’t be quite worth it to remind her that she was the one who told me to go forward with it.
After dinner with my
brother and his wife and some random chillout time with my phone blowing all
the fucking way up, she finally asked “well are you going to do something about that?”
I took her hand and walked her to the box office/entrance to the burlesque show being put on in our own hotel. I asked for a manager and showed her the flyer and she laughed at me… Hard.
I interrupted her outburst and showed her the still-unread messages from my phone to indicate that there is quite apparently some interest. All I needed was a stage and an hour to show. She – the manager that is – could have the contact information of the chubby-chaser women I had already done the legwork of finding so she could sell them some tickets to what they wanted to see for whatever amount they were willing to pay.
Okay, so it’s ON. I’m on, right?
She cleared me an hour on Friday night in between the normal show. I would need to be on time, provide my own equipment and wardrobe. We would split $35/ticket 50/50 and we might be able to negotiate more shows if the night was a success.
We planned our evening around me having to go get rich in my one-man plus-sized male revue.
As it was still only days removed from the death of Kobe Bryant, I walked out onto the stage in my #8 Lakers jersey along with the previously implied banana hammock and Huaraches and waited for them to pull the curtains. I hear the MC introduce me, I hear the squeak of the wheels on the curtain rods as they begin to open, and I am about to have a dream come true, it seems.
The curtains open and I see
that the audience consists of a chapter of The Red Hat Society who happened to
be in Vegas celebrating THEIR 20th anniversary. I had been PLAYED. The attractive women I gave the flyer to had
apparently just left it around and one of the women in this group found it and
decided to make an activity of it.
I don’t know if y’all know much about Red Hat society, but in the early days, it was open only to women older than fifty. Bearing in mind that this particular chapter was celebrating THEIR 20th, most of the 16 women in my audience wearing the signature red-and-purple hats were all older than my own mother, and a couple older than her mother would be.
… and that wasn’t even the worst part…
As the curtain opened and I stood there trying not to be seen visibly trembling at the prospect of trying to be sexy for a group of women I just couldn’t feel sexy for, I remembered something. Well, you could call it “remembering,” but it was more like a flashback to the times over the previous five years wherein my wife has said to me “but honey, you can’t dance!” and wondering to myself why in the fuck she didn’t say THAT in the damned airport.
What ensued was the among
the most embarrassing 57 minutes of my life, wildly thrusting my hips and
trying to maintain some semblance of my confidence in my own skin while fighting
back tears at what I had gotten my fool-ass self into.
But these septuagenarians were eating this shit UP! They howled with delight every time I spun around and did some hamfisted fool-ass “dance” maneuver. A couple threw bills on the stage and one even threw her panties.
When the curtains closed, I collected the money from the stage around me and put my clothes back on before heading to the manager to collect my box office take.
16 women at $35 a head
netted me $260 cash in my pocket, which when added to the $83 I picked up off
of the stage (one of these old bats threw
a TWENTY!) means I had just made
more in one hour of marketing and one hour of “work,” than I might ever make in
one day in an office.
The manager, however, was less impressed. She lamented bothering opening up for me to do this silly shit, explaining that the ad money to be gleaned from my flopping about like a beached dolphin that somehow learned to stand would help her break even when it finally goes viral on YouTube.
Oh, and I had TWO more days and nights left in Vegas. While we were eating that night at the Aria buffet, the hostess walked over to the table and handed me a garter with a $10 bill in it and pointed to the same group of women at the hostess station waiting to be seated.
Wife: “A satisfied show attendee?”
Me: “I don’t wanna be a fatman stripper anymore.”
Wife: “How much did you make?”
Me: “343 and this ten.”
Wife: “That’s a good night’s haul, you were only gone a little over an hour!”
Me: “But look, that’s somebody’s mee-maw… SIXTEEN TIMES! I should be ashamed!”
Wife: “So you’re abandoning the dream?”
Me: “I am absolutely abandoning this dream.”
For the rest of the weekend; early afternoon at The Fremont Experience, breakfast the next day, 2am FatBurger, EVERYWHERE we went the group was there, and every single time, $10 and a reminder of my humiliating experience was sent to our table.
I probably should have shaved my beard and worn sleeves to cover my tattoos after that show.