Before we get started here, I’ll completely ‘fess up on three counts. I’m not a gambler. I’m not a clubber. And, I’m past my prime (or so they say). Suffice to say Vegas is not my kind of town.
Still, I was somewhat titillated when, during a recent trip to Vegas, a friend told us he’d secured a VIP room at one of the town’s most exclusive clubs, Tao. We were staying with a friend, who is a big gambler, at the Venetian. As hotels do with all poor souls who hemorrhage large sums of money in their casinos, they provided us with a huge piano adorned suite, complete with 24-hour butler and limo driver, and unlimited drinks and food at the Venetian’s many fine restaurants. They also provided us access to, security (what do you need security for I wondered?) and a private room, and fully stocked bar at Tao.
Our crowd of ten, ranging in age from thirty-six to forty-five, arrived at Tao at midnight. It was a complete scene. About a hundred people, most in their twenties, standing outside queued up trying to get in with a half dozen police and security personnel. We were quickly whisked past the crowd and ushered thru a private door. A large man who seemed like he was trying to imitate Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard led us thru the thick crowd and tunnel-like entry. To the right, in something that resembled a display case, were two dark haired women. One was lying on her stomach clad in a loincloth. The other straddled on her and was rubbing oil on the loincloth-clad woman’s bare buttocks.
I soon discovered why the security escort was necessary. We never would have made it up to our private room without him. The crowds were just too intense and wild—with everyone dancing pressed up against one another—oblivious to the fact that someone was trying to get by. It took ten minutes to get to the room. Once safely inside, I breathed a sigh of relief and saddled up to the balcony’s edge to peer out onto the smoke-filled scene below.
There were hundreds of people (maybe a thousand) dancing, on several large dance floors, to the most awful, pounding, angry music I’ve ever heard. Let’s discuss this music. First of all there is no tune. And the lyrics? Misogynistic doesn’t even begin to explain them. Every other word is ugly. And, repeated uses of the “n” word. Why, I wonder, do hip-hop artists use it so much? What is the message they are trying to send to kids? And, why do they freak when someone else uses it? Inexplicable.
Now, the dancing. It wasn’t so much the gals, but the guys, that had me dumbfounded and chuckling. The popular male dance goes like this: a slight bend of the knees with one hand cupping the crotch loosely at all times. The other arm is held up at a slight curve, with the hand doing a movement as if shaking off water after doing the dishes. The body then just bobs up and down slightly in this position—with the one hand stuck like Elmer’s Glue on the crotch. I have seen my own eleven-year-old son do this lame dance, at times, while listening to hip-hop. The girls, meantime, tried their darndest to imitate women on the Playboy Channel. Many were dressed in revealing lingerie: fishnet stockings, push up bras like Madonna wore in the 90’s, garter belts, etc. I didn’t see anything that even resembled a classy outfit. For the first in my life I was glad to have only sons.
To our left and right, there were adjacent balconies. But on these balconies, there were club-hired dancers. One woman was strikingly beautiful with a wild tangle of brown ringlets. She was dressed in black garter belt, shorts and push-up bra. She did a dance around a cage that ended each time with an arched back and an ass shake. She did this over and over. Down from her was a woman lying on her back on a bed. Her job was to do some rather gymnastic-like poses with her legs—spreading them very wide, doing different versions of the splits, etc. My friend Julie and I were mesmerized. We simply couldn’t get over how pretty these girls were and couldn’t stop pondering why they’d gone this particular route.
The icing on the cake though, was smack dab in the center of the club. Two gorgeous Hawaiian women with nothing but rose petals on their breasts and bottoms (mimicking a bikini) sitting in a white bathtub filled with water and rose petals, gyrating on their knees as men threw money at them. Every so often a man would come and pour another gallon of water in the tub and take the dollars off the tub that the gals had so neatly lined up. Man, that’s gotta suck.
All the while, everybody’s got a huge smile on and booze is flowing. They keep bringing out cakes with sparklers for people celebrating birthdays. A song comes on where the refrain includes the f-word and the word bitch. Hundreds scream with delight shouting it over and over. It’s just another great night in Vegas. Not everybody’s winning though.