Something happens to you when you step foot on the Strip. For lack of a better term, I’ll call it the ‘Vegas Effect’. Your good becomes better, but more importantly, your bad becomes worse. That’s why Las Vegas kicks so many people in the ass. This happens because the city as a whole is full of enablers. It’s an industry built on telling you what you can do and never saying no. That’s why Vegas draws people in, because they can live a fantasy in which they have power, status, and control. The great trick is that they can even scale it to how much money you have. Can’t get a penthouse suite at the Wynn? Go to an older off-strip casino, and all of a sudden that fantasy is realized. The first few times I got went to Vegas, I was definitely seduced by this, by as soon as you’re wizened to it, you see the fantasy lifted. This of course doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time in Vegas, but it’s definitely different. This was never more apparent than what happened the first night.
My buddy and I are both single and under thirty. He also has never been to Vegas, so almost as a rite of passage, we have to visit a “shoe-modeling establishment”. We had a contact that got us a limo straight to the club and got us in without cover. All of that was fine, as soon as we took our first step out to the floor….
The power went out.
A strip club without electricity is, in quite a word, hilarious. The emergency flood lights come on immediately and no one panicked, but the fantasy was lifted in a split second. There was no floor thumping bass rattling your bones, no full spectrum light show trying to blind you, no mood lighting to make everyone seem more attractive, no credit card transactions, and most importantly, no music for anyone to dance to. Any sort of appeal or allure that these clubs had evaporated the second you see a guy so hustled by a girl that he’s willing to pay for a girl to dance for him by playing a song from his iPhone. My friend and I laughed at the whole absurdity of the situation. In retrospect, that put us in the right frame of mind for the whole night. We never took ourselves too seriously, we never took our situation too seriously, and we realized that everyone has a hustle in Vegas. You have to know what they’re trying to sell you, and how they’re trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Having the power go out in a strip club is one of those metaphoric moments in life that you’ll never forget. The dancers there are not trying to sell you sex, they’re trying to sell you a fantasy. A fantasy that no matter what type of guy you are, there is someone that finds you attractive, someone that is willing to feed your ego, and that you’re special.
I can’t tell you as I sat nursing my Red Bull how many guys I saw fall one-by-one, believing that they were chosen instead of being hustled. Maybe deep down they knew, but they just wanted to believe that they were special for a night. That’s the power of fantasy. That’s the danger of not knowing who you are and what you’re worth. You’d think that it was only sad sacks and losers who need that confidence boost, but you see arrogance be the down fall of others too. Of course these girls like me, because I deserve their attention. It’s often those types of guys who got played for the most.
So, at the end of the night, there’s one thing I knew for sure.
If there’s no power in the club, there’s definitely no sex in the champagne room.