by Trish Saikia
Several years ago I took my first of many business trips to Las Vegas. I was still young in my career, learning the ropes of traveling alone, and excited to see Sin City. I walked up and down the Strip, took the monorail from resort to resort, and meandered through several casino floors too scared and naive to have a clue about how to gamble.
I had heard about the bright lights and amazing shows, but didn’t have much money to buy a ticket to a fancy headliner show. So I went to the hotel (a hotel I won’t name since it has since been razed and replaced) concierge and asked for help. She mentioned a few shows to me, asking what my “level of taste” was. Not understanding what that meant, I told her I wanted “lots of glitter, glam, and showgirls.” BIG mistake. At first she showed me a completely topless revue. Who offers a young single woman tickets to a topless revue?? I said no. Next she showed me a too-family-friendly show. I said no, I wanted something less tame than that. She showed me a show featuring ice skaters, a singer, a motorcycle that would do flips, and said it had “lots of glitter, glam, and showgirls.” She assured me it was within walking distance from my hotel. She also added, “this one is very tastefully done.” I bought a ticket and couldn’t wait to go.
Later that evening I got all dressed up for my first Vegas show. (I come from the old school way of thinking where you still get dressed up for a big show.) I started walking to the “nearby hotel.” That was when I started to seriously doubt the concierge. If by “nearby” she meant, “Our hotel is the first one on this end of the Strip, and the show is at the hotel at the furthest opposite of the Strip,” then yes, it was nearby. In my high heels and fancy dress, I walked the not-so-short distance just barely making it on time.
I was thrilled to see that the concierge had gotten me the best seat in the house. My table (a table for 4 where I sat alone was front and center where I could see everything. And I mean everything. The stage had runways that extended into the audience, behind my seat. We were informed that anyone in that front section within the runways had to be seated early, and would not be able to get up and leave during the show. We were trapped in.
The show BEGAN with a tiger, moved to ice skaters, then a singer, a former Olympian who performed some death defying acrobatics, and then the topless dancers . Again, I ask you, who sends a single girl alone to a topless show?? And why did that perfectly enjoyable show, up till that minute, need topless dancers? Suddenly, I was completely uncomfortable. I was sitting at a table alone, in the front row, while topless women shook their money-makers at me.
I wanted OUT!
Feeling pretty convinced that Lady Luck had passed over me on this trip to Vegas, my feet aching from endless walking in heels, and now watching a show that was making me gag, I started frantically contemplating ways to get out of that theater. Suddenly, an ice skater (also suddenly topless) fell down and she was obviously injured badly. She wasn’t going to be walking off the stage alone, with the bones in her leg pointing in the wrong directions. The audience gasped, and the stage curtains were quickly drawn.
I saw my chance to escape. With the theater still dark, I slid out of my chair, crawled across the floor, under the runway, startling several audience members, and made it to the aisle. I darted out the door, and quickly made my way out of the hotel. Like all good Vegas casinos, the place was built like a maze to keep people in. Next thing I know, I was lost inside the casino, completely confused about my whereabouts. Ready to give up, I sat down at a slot machine. I put a dollar in, just to kill time. Moments later I had two dollars. And then I was up to five dollars in credits. I cashed out and moved to another slot machine. I put my five dollars in and left the casino ten minutes later with negative one dollar.
I’ve since learned my lesson. Buy your Vegas show tickets in advance. Pay for the big headlining shows. And make your own luck!