A lot of true love stories start with an unexpected and spontaneous collision of people and forces. Such was true with the love affair between myself and Las Vegas. Two girlfriends and I had gone on a semi last-minute trip in February to celebrate my best friend's birthday. With our spray tans in tow, and the biting Chicago cold and dreary monotony of our day jobs behind us, we were intoxicated with the notion that this was Vegas: We could do whatever, and be whomever, and do whomever we wanted.
I found myself receiving bottle service at one of the trendiest nightclubs on the strip: Tao. I wore a straight-jacket of a mini-dress made of black velvet, a gold statement necklace, disheveled curls cascading over my shoulders, and wine-colored booties with an absurdly high heel to complete the look; a look that said, "I am every bit as fabulous as I appear to be." I swayed nonchalantly in the cozy booth to remixed beats of Jay-Z and Lorde as Savannah (our absurdly hot server who briefly made me question my sexuality) poured us vodka cranberries with an innocent smile. I became friends with a Kentucky boy named Charlie who was celebrating a bachelor party at a neighboring table, became even closer friends with the dashing security guard (keeping a watchful eye on Charlie and anyone else who came near us), and became closest friends with my many, many drinks. As the night wound down, Ricky, my Italian paramour slid into the booth with confident ease, and casually slung his arm around me.
"So where we goin' next?" he asked, a Bostonian accent rolling off his tongue lazily. In my high-rolling drunken state, he may as well have been Ben Affleck circa "Good Will Hunting" Yes plz.
"Ricky! Stop harassing my table!" Savannah yelled flirtatiously as she flopped in the booth, her ridiculous cleavage spilling over her corset.
"What are you doing later?" he purred into my ear gruffly. Kind of like Marky Mark in the movie "Fear", minus him wanting to murder my family.
"What am I doing later?" I reciprocated like a dumb dumb, as I kissed his neck. In my mind I gave him sex-eyes, but I probably had the bleary-eyed look of Courtney Love at a party at The Viper Room in 1994.
"Where you staying?"
"See you there in thirty."
He got up to leave and grinned at me over his shoulder as I turned eagerly to my girlfriends. I didn't have to say what was on my mind, because they immediately squealed "Do it!" in unison.
"But really?" I asked, feigning concern. "Because like, no but like but like I just don't wanna be 'that girl'."
"Ohmygod you're NAWT!" my friend Kate assured me frowning as she looked down and adjusted her strapless dress.
All through high school and college, I was notorious for being the most well-behaved friend. I lost my virginity at twenty-two, I never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, and before turning twenty-one, I immediately lunged towards the nearest cabinet or dryer to hide from the police at the mere sound of the front door opening at a party. Needless to say, my friends were completely in support of me letting loose a bit, especially with Vegas as my excuse.
"Okay, cool. I'm gonna do it."
Ricky and I met for drinks in the casino at The Wynn around four am. He chivalrously ordered us both Bud Lights, and we fell into a conversation about jobs, life, and evil exes. I'm not sure if it was the way he clutched his perspiring beer bottle, or just the fact that I found the notion of making awful life choices in Las Vegas exhilarating, but I found myself headed to his place in his blue Ford Focus, cruising down the highway as a neon sunrise painted the desert orange. Upon arrival I took in his bachelor pad, complete with flat screen TV, slate-colored walls, and a small but menacing dog of some wolf-related breed.
Velvety R&B music played in the background as we clumsily fell onto Ricky's bed, hungrily exploring each other. I really felt that (despite my makeup slowly smudging its way off my face) I had maintained an air of confident sultriness like a jungle cat. Looking back, this was definitely a product of copious amounts of booze, and obvi my spray tan.
"Oh God!" Ricky exclaimed, jumping off from on top of me.
"What?" I asked, my eyelids opening heavily to peer up at him. I found Ricky's face covered in blood, and looked down to see my breasts just as covered, looking like a pawn in some bizarre Satanic ritual. This kids, is what happens when you attempt to have sex with a cokehead. (To be fair, I had no idea he was a cokehead, albeit naive.)
We cleaned ourselves up and decided neither of us were too proud to ignore our main objective-- to bang. But it didn't happen. Because I fell asleep the instant I got back into bed, and awoke to Ricky yelling at me.
"Ah-right, get up. I'm takin' ya back to yeh hotel."
I begrudgingly obliged as I struggled to encase myself back into my velvet mini dress. I padded around Ricky's room searching for my shoes, when I heard him yell from the kitchen, "Oh, and by the way, my dog ate-cha panties."
Horrified, I ran into the kitchen, my dress haphazardly scrunched over my spray-tanned ass. I discovered Ricky holding a glass of orange juice in one hand, and holding up my thong in the other, which was now reduced to a circle of limp fabric. I glared at the dog, who sat proudly licking his lips on the sofa.
If we're being honest, I was the last one expecting to have a Vegas fling, so upon selecting my undergarments the night before, I decided a period-stained thong would do the job. Welp, I was wrong. Ricky and I never spoke again for a myriad of reasons, and I thank him for gifting me with a great tale from my Vegas adventure. The lesson? What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but always be confident enough to assume you'll have a one night stand; always wear pretty underwear.