Dateland: What Happens in Vegas (better happen before 9 p.m.) Part 1


I’m writing this from Las Vegas. Sin City! But the biggest sin I’ve managed thus far is to wear the wrong shoes on a walk down The Strip and, as a result, I’m now nursing two badly blistered feet.

I’ve spent the afternoon poolside with one of my closest friends, Ingrid, who has been moodily sipping frozen cocktails and complaining about her sciatica.

So, here we are, in a city built for trouble, wasting our day in lounge chairs and floral-print cover-ups, passing casual judgment on the 20-somethings parading around in pieces of string masquerading as swimwear.

Ingrid nosily slurps the last crystals of her repulsively fruity drink and shakes the empty glass at me in a commanding motion. “Go to the bar and get me another,” she demands. “I can’t get up. My hip hurts.”

I suppose it was inevitable that our conversation would devolve into a discussion about failing hips. Yet, just the mention of that physical harbinger of old age—the aching hip!—set me off on a tear.

“What’s happened to us? Remember when we used to be hip? How did we go from that into worrying about breaking a hip? Are we that old?” I asked.

Ingrid glanced at the kids around us. “Yes,” she said.

“We’re only old-ish!” I exclaimed. “We’re in Las Vegas! Let’s get into some trouble.”

“But I already have,” she whined. “As I just mentioned, I did something last night that hurt my hip. I told you we shouldn’t have sat on those folding chairs at the magic show. We should have splurged and upgraded to cushions.”

“We’ve been in bed every night by 10. Tonight, we’re going to a nightclub!” I exclaimed.

“I don’t like the sound of that,” Ingrid said. “It implies that we will required to be dressed in something other than jammies after dinner. Besides, I got us tickets to ‘Menopause: The Musical.’”

“That might be the most depressing sentence you’ve ever uttered,” I said, manically paging through the local gay paper, looking for a magical venue that might return us to our glorious youth.

“Aha! This place looks perfect!” I said, slapping an ad for a club a short walk from our hotel. The ad featured a kittenish woman wearing animal prints and twisting her body in a manner that suggested she still had functioning hips.

Ingrid grabbed the paper from me and squinted at it in horror. “The place doesn’t even open until 9 p.m.! And it has a dress code! Are you insane?”

I glanced at Ingrid and for a moment I saw her as I first met her—a lusty 24-year-old who didn’t consider a weekend a success unless she made at least a dozen terrible life choices. In those days, we wouldn’t even consider arriving at a club until midnight. Now, 25 years later, she scoffed at the idea of going to a bar that required you to wear something other than orthopedic shoes.

I grabbed her hand and yanked her from the lounger. “Let’s go shopping!” I exclaimed. “We’ll get something sparkly to wear and plenty of aspirin. We’re not too old to make mistakes. You know the saying: ‘What happens in Vegas…’”

She reluctantly lumbered to her feet, making sure I noticed how the effort was taxing her fragile hips. “In our case, the saying goes ‘What happens in Vegas had better happen before a reasonable bedtime and in sensible footwear or it’s not going to happen at all.’”

(Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion! In Part 2, Ingrid and I go to a club, get into a melee with a gaggle of youngsters, kiss inappropriately, and manage not to break a hip.)

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