Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Killer Bachelorette Party

This weekend was my sister-in-law's bachelorette party, held in Las Vegas, where she now lives. I figured it would be a great way to help break in the new engine in the Plymouth, so on Saturday morning I kissed hubby and N. goodbye, tossed an overnight bag and a bunch of CDs in the car, put the top down and drove to Vegas, top down and music blaring all the way.

It was time for some fun, after the last two months.

After an almost 5 hour drive I got into town about 5:30PM, and needless to say it was bumper to bumper traffic and crawling with drunk tourists who think nothing of stumbling along in front of your car, trusting in Lady Luck to protect them from harm. I met the bride-to-be, her best friend and matron of honor, her fiance's sister and another friend in the hotel room at the Imperial Palace that they had staked out as a base and somewhere to flop when we were tired. Because of the various medications I'm on, I'm not a drinker and so I was the designated sober person for the night. Which ended up being very important later on. So we met in the hotel room, had some drinks, cheese and crackers, talked, giggled at the x-rated party favors and played a few bachelorette party games before we changed clothes and headed out to meet the groom, D., and HIS herd of bachelor party friends for more drinks at one of the hotel bars. We had the bride wearing a rhinestone tiara which read 'Bachelorette' and a red sequin sash that said 'Miss Bachelorette'. She was reluctant to wear it in public, until we got to the bar and the first thing we spotted upon entering was ANOTHER group of bachelorette party girls, clad all in black except for hot pink feather boas and glow in the dark penis straws in their drinks. It put the plastic penis swizzle sticks we all had tucked in our hair or behind one ear to shame. After she saw the other group, the bride relaxed. When you dress or act outrageously in Las Vegas, no one even looks in your direction. Our group was drinking Cactus Cooler shots, I got an almost accidental artsy shot of one of the toasts:

After a few drinks, the guys said goodbye and went off their way to dinner, while we went ours--off to Planet Hollywood's casino and the P.F. Chang's therein for some wonderful food, and lots of it. Our limo driver on the way said he had moved from Africa 9 years ago to Las Vegas (how's that for culture shock!) and loved his job--but he still went back home to Africa every year for three months for vacation. At P.F. Chang's, our bald Asian waiter, Shawn, was even a good sport about wearing the Bachelorette tiara and posing for pictures with it on. Everywhere we went, the employees were amazingly friendly and relaxed.

After dinner it was time to go to the strip club. We were planning on going to Olympic Gardens, which is one of the older clubs there, but instead took up one of the limo drivers' offer of a free ride to a club called Sapphire.

When we arrived at Sapphire, we discovered it was for women AND men, and joked with the driver about the possibility of accidentally running into the groom and his group there. He told us that it was highly doubtful, as there are upwards of 30 strip clubs in Vegas. He promised to take us to any other club of our choice if the guys were in there.

We walked in and presented the VERY large man at the desk with our IDs--they card everyone, no matter their age. While we waited for the guy to process us , suddenly one of the girls in our group points back behind us at the front doors and shouts, "No WAY!!!" Even before I turned around, I knew it was going to be the guys.

The bride and the groom were a bit flustered, and each group was tripping all over themselves offering to leave. Finally a couple of us convinced them that obviously we were NOT going to be seated in the same sections, so it really didn't matter if we were all in the same club. This made sense to everyone so we all stayed, and sure enough, the ladies are led into a large, dark, curtained-off room where cigarette smoke, drunk women, half-dressed men and loud, thumping music were plentiful.

Here the girls REALLY got serious about getting well-oiled and downed impressive numbers of drinks. If you looked closely in the much darker corners, you could see various lap dances going on, but the main show was on a large stage, where the guys would do their thing aided by an MC and a twenty-something bored Hispanic girl who would walk onstage and pick up the dropped clothing and props the dancers had tossed aside. She looked like she had both the best and worst job in the world--surrounded by good looking men...but forever picking up after them.

The bride had a good time, and everyone stuck together and followed the rule we had established beforehand--no one is ever left alone or goes anywhere alone, including the ladies room. This is an especially good idea in places like this club, where scantily clad men are roaming between the tables and think nothing of grabbing any part or your body they can lay hands on.

There was another group that had obviously been there a while and were falling down drunk--they ended up grabbing a tablecloth and running up on stage during one dancer's tip collecting time, grabbing him and tossing the tablecloth over all three of them. The stage maid ran them off after a few minutes, but they never did behave after that and were booted from the club shortly thereafter.

Our group grew weary of downing more Cactus Cooler shots and asked the bartender if he didn't have anything stronger.

Big mistake. He did.

It's called 'Liquid Cocaine', and is a 1/2 ounce each of Jagermeister, Goldschlager and Bacardi 151. It looks, smells and tastes like Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup, but is MUCH more potent. After 3 or 4 of these, our group was feeling great. Beyond great. They bought lap dances for each other, and even flagged down one of the female dancers who had come into the ladies section of the club, and the bride bought a lap dance for her fiance. It was hilarious.

We ended up closing the place down, and by the time we got out of there the bride was officially shit faced, and proud of it. The guys had gone home about an hour before, but the groom's sister's husband had returned with his pickup truck. We succeeded in pouring the bride into the truck, but had to literally strap her down with a seat belt to keep her from climbing over her friend to have an earnest conversation with the driver.

Once we got back to our hotel it took us a solid twenty minutes to unload the bride from the truck. The other two ladies had gone home with their husbands, so the matron of honor took one arm, I took the other and we started hauling the bride through the lobby, casino and towards the elevator to our room on the 11th floor. Now, the bride is a tall woman and I'm short, so she easily overpowers me. When she decided to take little side trips on our journey, there was no stopping her. All we could so was hang on to her arms to keep her from falling and attempt to reroute her. She stopped to talk to several employees she knew, who were very friendly. The floor manager, another large man, came over and discretely asked if we wanted a wheelchair. The bride refused and about this time started to whimper that she wanted to see her fiance. We wrestled her through the hotel, up the elevator and towards our room with promises of calling her fiance once we got there.

Now, my sister-in-law worked in the major hotel industry for many years and is VERY conscious of how luxury hotels should be run and look. Every so often she'd stop for some reason or another...like when she spotted a small strip of paper on the carpet and said, "I'm going to clean that up!" and started lurching towards the floor. Oh, God, if she somehow manages to get down there WITHOUT cracking her nose on the floor, we'll never get her up again. The matron and I act as one and say, "No, no, no-- they have people to do that. Let's get to the room so we can call D.!" This works, but a few feet farther on, she suddenly stops and plants her feet, saying, "Wait--! This is important!" We have no choice but to stop with her and ask what is so important. She points an accusing finger at the busily patterned casino carpet and proclaims, "That carpet is MOVING."

Oh, God. Drunk + writhing carpets usually equals countdown to barfing. I tell her don't look at it, and instead to focus on a lighted sign at the far end of the casino. Thankfully this works and we're on our merry way again.

After another 40 minutes of bride wrangling, we make it into the home stretch, the looooong corridor to our room. We only encounter one other person coming the other way, a tall, bewildered young black man who is innocently sipping on a AM/PM soda. The bride, of course, has to engage him in a conversation, asking him if it was plain soda he was drinking (it was, and she was thirsty, but we headed her off from asking for a sip from a stranger) and if he was a member of the NBA. He was kind enough and said no, he wasn't, and the bride gave him a talk on the hotel's lack of cleanliness (the small strip of paper on the floor earlier and how the hallway lighting was 'inappropriate'). He was a good sport, grinned and talked with her for a moment before we got her moving again towards the room.

Finally, into the room! We get the bride to collapse on one of the beds, and by now she is getting emotional over how much she wanted her fiance and missed him. It was adorable. We got her shoes off and made her as comfortable as we could, and called D. so she could talk to him. It was now 4AM. We talked her out of making her fiance come over from his hotel, telling her that the guys had been drinking, too, and it wasn't safe for him to be driving (she conveniently forgot about the taxis and limos that Las Vegas is crawling with). We told her she'd see D. in a few hours anyway, and right now they both needed to sleep.

Finally she conked out, after we sat and laid down next to her and soothed her by stroking her hair and speaking quietly to her.

5AM. The matron of honor and I simply crashed in the other bed. I was a bit tense and had trouble getting to sleep, I was on alert for any noise or movement by my sister-in-law that might indicate her getting sick or taking it into her head to go find her fiance. Thankfully she was conked out and finally got to sleep around 6AM.

7AM and the matron of honor and I are awakened by a loud thud--the bride has fallen getting out of bed. We scramble to assist her, but other than weaving a bit she's coherent and looking much better. She says she needs to eat, though, so we order breakfast. Room service brings it about 30 minutes later and we all sit around on the beds eating and talking. The matron finishes hers and returns to sleep while the bride and I continue talking. Around 9AM I decide that if I am driving home today, it would be a great idea to actually get some sleep. I laid down while the matron got up. Sleep proved impossible, so I got up for good around 10AM.

The bride decided around 10:30 to go pick up her fiance, and the matron and I were going to pack up and head home to southern California, so we said our goodbyes. Amazingly, she never did get sick, but did suffer a hangover later that day. I managed to stuff my junk back into my overnight bag and left the hotel room around 11:30, but between getting out and traffic it was actually 12:30PM when I got on highway 15 headed home.

I made it about 5:30PM, and while I was really, really tired, it had been great fun.

I think everyone should do improper and unwise things like that every once in a while, it reopens your eyes to life. I can't wait until the wedding next month.

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