Rugged Fox Goes to Vegas, Part One

Alright, so I have been meaning for two weeks now to tell you about my trip to Vegas; except life, work and a weakened immune system has slowed me down. I got called off lunch this morning, so I am going to take the next couple of hours that I would be serving rich businessmen cranberry-sodas, to update you on my trip!

On Friday November 11th (lest we forget) I flew to Vegas to attend my girlfriend Honey’s wedding. For my straight male and lesbian readers, Honey is 110% smoking hot female. With Sharon Stone legs and Farah Fawcett hair she is the reason most teenage girls develop eating disorders. I first met her back in 2009 when we worked together at an Italian Restaurant in Kits. She was my manager and got just as much pleasure firing me every shift, as I did watching the beach volleyball players eat meatballs.

Last spring, when she announced that she was getting married to a professional lacrosse player, the first question that popped out of my mouth was: does he have any bi-curious friends into gingers? My second question was: can I be your flower girl?

It has always been my dream to be a flower girl, don’t ask me why or beat me up in the hallway, just read on to the next sentence. For the last four years, I have been upstaged time and again by these four-year-old bitches who think that, just because they’re adorable and can hold a basket, they are the best candidate for the position. Well let me tell you, when it comes to flower-tossing, I have wrist skills these girls have never seen (Meryl Streep willing). When the text arrived that I had got the job, I booked a flight to Vegas and bought a cheap bouquet of carnations for practice.

just a heads-up. there is no pool side service at the holiday inn. i am still waiting for my mimosa.“Chevy Chase I am going to Vegas!” I said as I jumped out of bed early Friday morning to catch my flight.

The plane ride there was filled with “The Hangover” wannabes and cougars that should’ve been de-clawed ten years ago. Rising above the clouds and rain, I smiled two-and-a-half hours later when we touched down in the sunny state of Nevada. Like a high-roller with nothing to prove, I wheeled my suitcase passed the limousine stand and took a seat under the sign that said “HOTEL SHUTTLE BUSES.” When I first booked my room, I was under the impression I was staying at the infamous Flamingo; turns out I had actually reserved a room at the Holiday Inn on Flamingo Road.

When the signature green and white minivan arrived, I took shotgun while two American pilots in full-uniform squeezed in the back seat. At first I played shy stranger with not much to say; but when they asked me where I was flying in from, I told them my entire life story. The two of them got a real kick out of the fact I was Canadian and asked me all these questions about hockey which I had no clue how to answer. “I’m sorry, who is Sidney Crosby?” When it was clear I couldn’t keep up, the younger pilot switched to another topic I was sure to know all about.

“You’ve got a lot of hot tail up North, don’t you?” he asked me with a tone that implied he hadn’t been laid in the last six years.

“Yes, yes I do” I replied, my best attempt at heterosexuality.

As the van pulled up in front of the hotel, the pilots expressed their disappointment it had been ten minutes and they still hadn’t heard me say “eh” yet.

“Don’t sweat it boys,” I turned around in my seat to face them, “there’s still time yet eh.”

They laughed and high-fived me. It was all very manly.

It turned out the driver was a total gentleman and carried my luggage all the way to the front desk. I reached in to my tight jean pocket and pulled out a massive bulge of one-dollar bills. Two years of checking coats at the restaurant and I managed to save up close to a hundred bucks. I counted out five and shook them in to his hand. It turned out the check-in time for my hotel was not until five o’clock, so I had four hours to kill before I could sit down in bed. I left my bag behind the front desk, strapped on my aviators and stepped back out in to the sunshine.

Without a map to the Strip, I followed my nose to the scent of Marlboro Lights and cheap blended drinks. Forty-five palm trees later, I arrived. It is slightly anti-climactic, but for me, walking down Las Vegas Boulevard for the first time was like watching a movie I had seen six or seven times. I knew what came next because I had seen it all before. Every time I opened the door to another casino, I half-expected George Clooney or Beverly D’Angelo to walk out.  That said, there is still much about the Strip that you cannot capture on film.

For starters, there is so much energy harnessed within ten blocks you cannot help but feed off it. There is no question it can be overwhelming at times. Walking down the Strip is comparable to ploughing in to an all-you-can-drink shopping mall on Christmas Eve while a bright TV flashes in front of your face 24/7. But for all the insanity that comes with living life in fast-forward, there is still a pause that occurs when you tilt your head up to see water shot hundreds of feet in the air in front of the Bellagio, or look down to see a Gondolier paddle under a bridge outside the Venetian.

Because I have no interest in gambling and little to no comprehension of basic card games, I wasn’t sure at first what to do with myself, until I discovered the shopping. I walked passed Tom Ford, Bottega Veneta, John Varvatos, Salvatore Ferragamo; and fifty other names I will never be able to afford until I came across Penguin. Penguin is my all-time favourite brand: a kind of retro fifties-style line that breathes new life in to vintage while keeping a safe distance from hipster. I thought the only retail outlet was in New York, but I was wrong.

Placing one foot inside the store, I felt like I was having a religious experience. After ten years of knocking, someone had finally opened up heaven’s door. My eyes lit up like a stained-glass window at the sight of so many beautiful colours and patterns. Like a hungry wolf, my mouth watered at the smell of lamb’s wool and polished leather. From blazers to shoes, polo shirts to cardigans, the store could have been my closet, because I wanted everything in it.

 “You look like you have come to the right place,” an attractive sales associate approached me. His name-tag read ‘Josh.’

 “You must be the patron saint of good clothes because I am in heaven,” I said.

“Then you must already know that everything in the store is forty-percent off today.”

I almost passed out. I could hear nothing else Josh said except for the two syllables, “CHA CHING!” I rested my hand on his shoulder for support and whispered in to his ear, “I love Las Vegas.” Standing back up straight, I collected each of my wits and got down to business.

 “I am going to need a fitting room set up like ten minutes ago and that pair of jeans in size 28 and 29,” I said. “Now that I am back training at the gym, I have to take in to account the new muscle around my waist." 

Wasting no time, Josh picked up both sizes in his hands and just before he disappeared into the fitting area, he turned around and said, “I am not letting you walk out of here until you try on that navy blue blazer on the rack beside you.” I turned my head ninety-degrees to the right and screeched.

Thirty-six minutes later I had maxed out my credit card and spent my clothing budget for the next six months one on outfit. 

Alright let’s speed this up!  After Penguin I went (1) to the liquor store and picked up a bottle of Napa Valley Cab for $19 that we sell at the restaurant for $130 (2) checked in at the hotel (3) re-counted the palm trees back to the Bellagio where I saw Cirque de Soleil’s “O” which was awesome except for the hammered guy beside me who talked and texted the entire performance (4) returned to the hotel where I drank the bottle of Cab out of a clear plastic-cup I found in the washroom (5) passed out (6) woke up (7) had continental breakfast with the same two pilots from the shuttle bus who are still convinced I’m straight (8) sat by the pool in the only two-square feet of shade I could find and (9) met my friends at the Hard Rock to cab to the wedding.

I got to get ready for work, but I will update you with the wedding hopefully by the end of this weekend!