My first trip to Las Vegas was a most memorable experience. I was freshly 21, ready to go, ID in hand, and my drink of choice on my mind. Like most 20 turning 21-year-olds, the thought of drinking legally–going up to a bar and ordering a proper drink from a bartender–seemed like winning the gold. I went with three of my girlfriends, all who were a couple of years older than me, and from the moment we drove up to The Strip everything changed. The lights, the desert air, the oxygen and smoked filled casinos, the ding-ding-dings that strum through your ears as you mosey through the glitter filled walkways; it all gives you this unexplainable energy.
I was a broke college student at the time, and we all know Vegas is outrageously expensive, but for our whole trip, including accommodations, we each only spent 77 dollars. Yup, for two nights in Vegas that was the damage. Don’t hate me. The odds were definitely in our favor that weekend.
We finally get to Las Vegas after a five-hour drive and head straight to our hotel, Aria, to check into our room. Our reservation somehow got messed up, so they upgraded us to a suite that was bigger than my apartment. We didn’t care who Mr. Richardson was, we now were dancing on his couches and jumping on his bed, for free. We took shots with the bell hops, and then quickly changed so we could take over the city.
We walked through the Forum shops lined with nothing but designer options, diamonds, and people dressed so beautifully you couldn’t help but gape as you walked past them. We went to Margaritaville, stopped at a few other bars I can’t remember, and stopped in the Aria Casino where I won my first Vegas winnings of 25 dollars at the slot machines (which was then spent on a drink and a half to take up to the room).
That night we ended up at The Bank, and with it being just us four girls we were escorted to indulge in table service, drinking champagne that was more expensive than all of my possessions combined and sipping on Grey Goose and soda in between. For free. We danced on tabletops, jumped for the resident DJs, and had a perma-smile smeared on our faces. We were four completely wasted girls having the time of our lives on our first night in Sin City.
We stumbled into our hotel at 7 AM, with the sun peaking over the mountains. Maybe it was our age; maybe it was the energy surrounding us, perhaps it was just pure excitement, but we somehow managed to get up by 9 AM (no, we were not doing any drugs). We ordered room service that we somehow got for free, and got ready to head to the Liquid pool party. Naturally, we were drinking mimosas by this time, so our pregame had begun, halting the hangover from the damage we did the night before.
“The secret is, you just have to keep drinking. If you stay drunk, you can’t get hungover.” – Words of “wisdom” from a friend.
Half naked in our tiniest bikini’s; we danced our asses off to whoever was DJing while sneaking shots from a flask we had brought from out hotel room. Needless to say, we got kicked out of the party for doing that, which was fine with us because we needed a nap. We headed back to the hotel, had a mini party in our room, and then we all passed out before going out that night.
The club options were endless. XS, Haze, Eva’s, you name it, we were going. And again we were wasted. Being wasted in Vegas you see nothing but glitter and flashing lights, hear nothing but electronic pulses, and your body doesn’t know how to do anything else but dance and process alcohol. Again we stumbled into our room at 7 AM, and again we somehow woke up early to get on the road to head back to our roots.
Then the detox began. You hate yourself. You are hungover for not just a day, but an entire week.
Now that I am an older 20-something, Las Vegas is completely different to me. Yes, there is still the glitter, the lights, and a little magic. But drinking as much as you can, as fast as you can, and being a hot mess just isn’t appealing anymore. I call it, Adulting in Las Vegas. So how do you know you are Adulting? I list off all of the red flags below.
1. Twenty-five-year-old guys come up to you and ask you how old you are. If you are older than them, their response is, “I’m a little young. I’m 25. I’m sorry.” They seriously apologize to you for being younger than you. You know you are Adulting in Las Vegas if the majority of the nightclub crowd is younger than you.
2. Skipping meals to save money while in Sin City is no longer ideal, and you learned from your younger days that if you are going to be drinking you need a good base. Going out for a nice meal in Las Vegas is so much fun, let’s be honest. Good food, good wine, good company, and the ambiance! Yes, you are adulting if you actually want to sit at a dinner table in Las Vegas and talk with your friends for a couple of hours without slamming shots.
3. A recent trip I took with some friends, we went to this nightclub I will not put on blast. The music was good (top40s/hip hop) and the dance floor was moving. We were having fun, lip-syncing the rap songs we knew, and we looked to our left to see a girl and guy sucking face while other men were doing gross/inappropriate things to her. Nobody stopped it. Everybody watched. You know you are Adulting when you actually remember seeing those horrifying acts and realize they are, indeed, horrifying.
4. Promoters are cool and obviously great people to know in Vegas, however sleeping with them to get an in at a high-profile club is no longer so cool. Waiting in line is not an option, and I’m sorry, but any nightclub that charges a female a cover is out of their mind. You know you are adulting in Las Vegas when you would rather skip the lines, the covers, and the sex to find a place that isn’t so “high-profile,” or maybe late night tacos.
5. “You want Molly?” No, thank you. This question is asked so frequently in this city. And for those who love to be under that influence to feel the music pulsating through your bones, more power to you. However, you know you are adulating in Las Vegas when you have the confidence to shake your tail feather sans intoxication.
6. Getting two hours of sleep in between dancing at the club and hitting the pool parties was great when your hangover didn’t feel like death in your young 20s. Now, getting at least seven hours of sleep is on the to-do list, and maybe squeeze in a gym session before you head out for the day. You know you are adulting in Las Vegas when you would rather get sleep than have five extra drinks.
7. Missing your flight because you are too hungover is no longer an option. The only way you would stay a third day is if you had a spa day planned. Tomato juice, steam room, massage, facial, the works. Yup, you know you are adulting in Las Vegas if you choose to spend an extra day at the spa rather than a third day of drinking Pina Colada’s with the extra shots of Everclear or a half Ragin’ Bull half 190 Octane from Fat Tuesday.
8. Dancing at the pools half naked in heels was so much fun when we were younger. Don’t get me wrong; I still love spending the day poolside sweating out the night before, however, placing some bets indoors is just as much fun. You know you are adulting in Vegas if you choose the sports book over drinking poolside all day and making bad half naked decisions.
Just because you are now “Adulting” in Las Vegas doesn’t mean you are no longer having fun. Now you are just leaving with a little more dignity and brain cells when it is time to go. Raging when you were 21 was great, we had fun, right? But now you get to remember those sparkly lights and wild nights without referring to the pictures you took the night before.
How do you Adult in Vegas? Sound off below!