Theres a famous saying-turned-advertising-slogan that goes, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but Im going to tempt fate and break that rule today.
I recently traveled to Sin City for the first time over spring break, joining a crew of 14 other 30-something males for a bachelor party that promised to be of epic proportions.
On the surface, this sounds like a horrendously bad idea bound to end in disaster like a cross between the plots from The Hangover and Very Bad Things. In the end it turned out to be relatively boring and forgettable, like a cross between The Hangover 2 and The Hangover 3.
The catalyst for this trip is the coming nuptials of my high school friend Joe, who is getting married over the summer in South Carolina.
Why South Carolina a place where neither he nor his fiancé are from I dont know. I love Joe like a brother, but not enough to make two plane trips in one calendar year for him, so that left me with two choices.
1. A weekend of debauchery in Vegas during March Madness with a dozen-plus other males of dubious intentions.
2. A two-hour Catholic wedding across the country flanked by a bunch of strangers as I crane my head to get a glimpse of the groom just once.
The choice was obvious, but I just didnt expect the trip to be so...boring.
Its not that Las Vegas doesnt have a lot to offer a group of 30-year-old men looking to have a good time, but there wasnt really a whole lot that appealed specifically to my modest, Pacific Northwest demeanor. And Im not just writing this because my wife and mother-in-law will eventually read it with their shrewd and judging eyes.
For starters, Im a terrible gambler. Not only am I ignorant of the rules of most table games, but Im also timid and over-calculating when it comes to putting down bets. I break out in sweats if I lose more than $25, even when I specifically set aside money for gambling losses. The thrill of winning money is nice, but not worth the anxiety I go through when deciding how much of my change purse to dole out on blackjack.
Aside from gambling, the food and drink are way beyond unreasonable. We all know the frustration of going to a movie theater or a ski lodge and dealing with a 50-percent markup on everything because youre trapped with nowhere to go. Take that premise and extrapolate it to an entire city of millions.
Want a mai tai by the pool? Thatll be $23.
Feeling a bit peckish? Perhaps youd enjoy a $26 hamburger with a tall glass of $9 Budweiser.
About the only thing that wasnt marked up in Vegas was the McDonalds across the street, making it a particularly sad venture to fly almost 1,000 miles and rent a room at the Mirage in order to buy a sausage McMuffin.
Of course, there is always the adult entertainment for which Las Vegas is known, but thats just not my cup of tea, so theres not much to report.
Not that I wasnt surrounded by it every waking moment. Pornography literally litters the ground, courtesy of the late-night denizens of the street trying to attract men to the nightclubs by handing out graphic photos of dancers by the thousands.
These business cards and flyers inevitably fall to the ground and paper the streets in the morning. That is all well and good for a somewhat-mature adult like myself, but I was flabbergasted to see families taking their spring break vacation in Vegas, where their children were surrounded by non-stop advertisements for sex, coupled with a constant parade of drunk college kids stumbling about in a haze of liquor and Axe body spray.
So to go back over the checklist: I cant gamble, Im turned off by spending money and Im uninterested in strip clubs. Thats pretty much three of the four food groups that Las Vegas offers, so I think its safe to say that Im not their target audience.
Its a lesson learned, I suppose. I dont regret my trip, because I still had an incredibly fun time with a good group of friends, and Im glad I got bachelor party in Las Vegas off my bucket list. But Las Vegas isnt for me, and Im perfectly fine with that.