Fear and Hiding in Las Vegas

Vegas baby! Everybody goes, including nerds. It’s a rite of passage, and even if you don’t win real, useful money, you end up with that irreplaceable cash known as shared experience.

When someone inevitably asks, “Have you ever been to Vegas?” you’ll finally be able to nod knowingly. Oh yes. I have. No further discussion required, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless, of course, you’re friends with me and I post it all over the internet!


It was the last finals week of our college career. Six of us decided that rather than study for our tests, we’d put the Bachelor in Bachelor’s Degree, so we booked tickets to the city of sin.

Of course, our ragtag fellowship of truants consisted of me, three computer science majors, and two pre-med kids—not really the best at things like partying, gambling, or meeting girls. Still, we figured we should have one more go at the “college experience” everyone was always talking about.

We should have known better. The CS trio kept determining the odds of every casino game, discouraging us from throwing money at the whims of chance. If we ever happened upon some more exotic form of entertainment like, say, cocaine, the pre-med duo would sit us down and explain the negative repercussions of casual drug use and we’d avoid it entirely. Ah, knowledge, the destroyer of fun. There’s nothing worse in life than those moments when you learn the truth, like realizing Pixar movies are physically unsound or the uncomfortable conversation you have when you find out a stork didn’t drop you on your parents’ doorstep.

So, in this fashion, we meandered through Vegas, wondering what there was to do that wasn’t detrimental to our bodies or finances. Fortunately, as an artist, I can’t be controlled by logic or self-preservation, so one night I buy a yardlong, which is actually a yard long and has something like 12 shots of surgical alcohol in it.

My friends keep trying to drink it to save me from myself, but like an alcoholic Gollum, I become protective of my precious treasure and distrustful of their intentions. Defeated by my obsession, they break down and buy variously themed oversized drinks of their own.

After some unsteady shambling down the strip, we find ourselves in a Hooters, which is about the most debauched activity we can talk ourselves into. There will be girls there! We sit down and a waiter comes over to take our order. That’s “Waiter.” Turns out all the servers are men and the women are in some different part of the restaurant, completely out of view!

While we wait for our food, we compensate for our lack of hooters by browsing the stripper ads the street-side barkers had handed us, zealously debating whether Angel is hotter than Chastity, how much she’d charge, and what strippers actually do, having no real experience in the matter. Nerds that we are, we turn it into a game, in which each stripper has attack power derived from the number of stars covering her body, and a strength/weakness chart based on hair color or ethnicity.

After one particularly bawdy comment, the man sitting in the booth next to us turns and says very seriously, “Hey guys. Look, my wife, daughter, and I are just trying to have a nice meal. Do you think you could cut the stripper talk for like 10 minutes until we leave?”

Shame swallows us up and we mumble profuse apologies, then get to wondering why someone would bring his family to a Hooters in the first place. In hope of a nice meal? To avoid overhearing drunken guys talking? Maybe he thought it was a family-friendly, owl-themed eatery.

Deprived the fulfillment of our carnal desires, and having consumed another couple pints worth of rum and cokes, we decide it’s time for some actual sin. One of us calls up a stripper service on the way back to the hotel, and before we can register what’s happened, we’re told by the operator that two lovely ladies will arrive at our room in half an hour.

None of us has ever actually seen a stripper before, and at least one of us has never even seen a real live naked female of any occupation, so this is a giant leap forward for our nerdy group.

We get back to the room, and the excitement of our impending, naked Bar Mitzvah quickly wears off. Time passes. Bored, we switch on the TV and find an episode of Pokemon. This invokes group-wide nostalgia for a childhood we might soon lose, and the sobering wave of regret washes over us. After all, Misty had always been more than enough woman for our middle-school level fantasies. Would we now discard her for some card-stock charlatan?

An hour goes by, and one of us falls asleep, lulled into the world of dreams by Jigglypuff’s soothing song.

Displeased, we call the friendly stripper establishment, whose secretary says the girls got caught in traffic (it’s now 4 in the morning, but who knows what traffic is like in Vegas? Not us!).

Another hour passes, and with it, another person. By this point we’re all tired, and nobody really thinks this is a good idea anymore, so I call up the lady to cancel. At the mention of the word, the bubbly girl morphs into a Hyde-ian version of herself like a lycanthropic lust-monger, swearing by the gods of compulsory nudity that we will pay the two hundred dollars whether we like it or not, so do we want it to go to waste, or do we want to quote: “see some titties?”

Plus, like the punch-line to a bad horror movie, the girls are already inside the building!

My friend grabs the phone, insists we’re cancelling, and hangs up, but the lupine threats have sunk their teeth into our impressionable gray matter, and the indelible and primal fear of strippers sets in.

We awaken the two sleeping friends and herd them into the corner farthest from the door, then switch off all the lights, never letting our voices rise above a whisper. I never thought I’d find myself hiding from strippers, but life isn’t always predictable, and here I was.

A few minutes pass and we realize how ridiculous we’re being. Strippers aren’t so scary, even with  those strange and elusive lady parts. Our bravest member convinces us that the danger is all in our minds and gets up to turn on the lights. He walks to the switch, but just as he’s about to flip it, there’s a knock on the door!

He freezes, and we hear the two girls talking indistinctly just beyond the threshold. Suddenly, the room phone starts ringing.

“Nobody answer,” I whisper, and everyone nods their consent.

“Oh crap!” whispers a friend. “They have my cell number, and if it rings, they’ll know I’m here!”

But his cell phone is across the room.

“You can’t go over there!” one of my friends whisper-shouts. “It’s too dangerous.”

“I have to do this,” says the owner, stoically.

“Let me come with you,” I say.

“No. I won’t risk you too. I’m going on my own.” He starts to army crawl toward the table near the door. We watch with bated breath, worried that the strippers will see a shadow under the door or use some stripper powers to otherwise detect him.

But he makes it to the phone and back. Like modern day Anne Franks, we huddle in fear as the hotel phone rings again and again…In hushed tones, I make the Anne Frank metaphor and all of my friends tell me I’m a terrible person. The door shudders under the force of the strippers’ plastic-surgery enhanced limbs, and we shudder in nervous unison.


The strippers finally departed in frustration, leaving us free to watch more Pokemon.

We lived the rest of the trip in a constant state of fear, sure that the girls’ pimp would come to beat the money out of us with his pimp fists. Every time we left the room, we’d use an elaborate series of mirrors to ensure that the hallway was clear, then sneak out as if we were an elite force of commandos.

Even though we may not have ended up with strippers, we did go to an over-the-top, vampire-themed, topless rock opera filled with magic tricks, dance, and aerial acrobatics, a show that perfectly combined our nerdy love of vampires with just enough depravity that we felt like we’d really accomplished some growing up.


Filed under Stories

52 responses to “Fear and Hiding in Las Vegas

  1. insaneblackswan

    Another fun read. I love your blog from its post 1. 🙂

  2. insaneblackswan

    Oh! I was the first one to comment! Yeppiiee!!!!!! 😛

  3. “…life isn’t always predictable” but it’s always fun. At least in retrospect.

  4. Ha ha oh my, so hilarious! I think you guys would be a blast to go to Vegas with, wish I could’ve gone with you! When I lived in Utah I used to go all the time, now I’m too far away. 😦

    • You moved far away from Vegas?! I hope there was a compelling reason. Sam and I just went there together this very weekend! (Thus the late comment responses) And man was it crazy. I’m a lot poorer now, but who needs money anyway?

      Utah at least has skiing and dinosaur bones, right?

    • When I lived in Las Vegas (for a short while), I actually preferred to visit Utah. Such a beautiful, relaxing state full of nature.

  5. Whenever someone tells me “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” with a cocky grin, I’m going to imagine they had a similar experience to you and are just too ashamed to admit it. Awesome stuff, as always – I now look forward to Tuesday mornings.

    Oh, and the picture file names are hilarious; I hope that not too many of your readers miss out on them.

    • allenavw

      I never noticed! Thanks for pointing them out, they’re hilarious!

    • Haha yeah. That whole ad campaign fails to mention the what I assume to be vast quantities of not-so-impressive Vegas stories that are able to masquerade as man-tastic tales of sexual prowess behind the veil of a simple slogan.

      Phew, that sentence could probably use some editing. Anyway, glad you enjoy Tuesdays! And glad you like the picture names! That’s always the last thing we come up with, and my sleepless and addled brain is never sure whether they’re even coherent, much less amusing.

  6. star trek convention in las vegas in aug. Las vegas needs a healthy supply of nerdom. Anyhow, i see your experience much how mine would be like. XD

    • Holy carp. That is so exciting. I think I may need to brave the dangerous stripper coven once again in order to witness this most nerdy event. If you ever go and do have a similar experience, be sure to tell us about it, though I wouldn’t wish such fear-inducing events on anyone.

  7. allenavw

    Oh man, it’s a good thing I wasn’t with you guys! If I had a yard long like that in me I would have whipped open the damn door. I’m kind of fearless and brash when I’ve been drinking lol. I’m going to Vegas this summer and I think you need to tell me the name of this topless vampire themed rock opera 😀

    • Opened the door and brought the titty wrath down upon us all! The most damning and appealing form of wrath known to man.

      The vampire show was called “Bite,” and it was awesome. Plus we saw it right around when Twilight: Eclipse came out, so we enjoyed comparing a topless rock and roll show to Stephanie Meyer’s horrible bastardization of the Vampire genre that replaced the blood-sucking metaphor for uninhibited sex with lip-biting pseudo-romanticism.

  8. Rae

    Haha, I’ve gotten myself unnecessarily freaked out many times by silly things, but I have to say that I don’t think they’ve ever involved strippers before.

  9. Here’s a sentence I never thought I would type: I love the picture of the nerds hiding from the strippers. Very funny! And very interesting information about the Vegas Hooters. I love that I can get facts and entertainment from your posts!

    • We like to be informative when we can! Maybe that guy had the right idea about Hooters. Since there weren’t any women, it actually WAS one of the best places to bring your wife and child.

      And trust me, this post caused a lot of sentences I never expected to type either.

  10. writingandrecovering

    Hilarious! And knowledge does ruin everything. Why would you bring your family to a Hooters in Las Vegas and expect a nice stripper-talk-free dinner? Those people need some help.

  11. Katie noble

    This is great!!! I enjoyed trying to figure out the identities of each character 🙂 I wish I had been on that trip…. Hahahaha

  12. My favorite quote, “My friends keep trying to drink it to save me from myself, but like an alcoholic Gollum, I become protective of my precious treasure and distrustful of their intentions.” Thank you for entertaining me on this Tuesday night as I take a break from reading my students’ papers in my wine induced haze, the only sane way to grade of course.

    • Alcohol is a great inducer of the haze, and the yard long ranks among the best, though it does give off that strange sense of evil and foreboding, and it alters your perception of the world, causing you to make decisions Sauron might be proud of.

  13. Of course, our ragtag fellowship of truants consisted of me, three computer science majors, and two pre-med kids.

    Sounds wild. d=

    I never thought I’d find myself hiding from strippers.


    You should go to Bangkok. No, really.

  14. You’re not a terrible person. I’M a terrible person.


    …Because it’s an Anne Frank simile, not a metaphor.

    Grammar Correction Girl, AWAAAAAAAY!

    • A simile is a type of metaphor. So your correction is like saying “it’s not a dog, it’s a poodle!”

      Pedantic-man, AWAYYYY!

      • I hope you guys didn’t run away too far. I’d miss you.

        I didn’t realize a simile was a type of metaphor. Thanks for helping me learn something! On the other hand, I have to take issue with your explanatory example, because I personally don’t believe that poodles qualify as dogs. They’re more yapping, soul-sucking, manhood destroyers (No offense to poodle owners, although I’m not yet sure how you can read that sans offense…)

  15. The Pencil Pirouette

    This is the first honest account of a Vegas trip I’ve ever come across! Goodness, hilarious!! But why did you hide from the strippers?? You (& we) would’ve found out what they do! Hahaha. I love your drawings, really really. Such talent.

    • I’m not completely wedded to the idea that honesty is the best policy, but in the case of my life, it can certainly be an entertaining one. And I do love that Sam guy and his art. Maybe next time I’ll work up the courage to find out what the strippers do.

  16. Haha, I was just in Vegas a couple of months ago. I sucked down one of those yardlongs and all it gave me was a headfreeze. …well, and the nerve to zipline down Fremont Street.

    The Skyjump at the Stratosphere was the highlight of my whole year! What a palm-sweating gut-wrenching plummet of insanity. Next time… You. Gotta. Try. It.

    I’ve heard that stripper game you guys were playing isn’t the real deal unless you collect all the free playing cards those guys hand out on the streets first.

    That Pokemon picture had me in tears. One of my friends made some comment referring to her “Pikachu” a while back and we’ve been having a time with it since. If you could only see what she posted on my Facebook wall last week…

    • Plummet of insanity? I’m in! I’ll definitely need another yardlong to give me the courage, though I often confuse brain freeze with courage.

      Glad you liked the Pokemon picture. I know I did. This whole post was pretty much just an excuse to get Sam to draw that. And now you’ve piqued my interest! Blast you and your vague, facebook/pokemon references!

  17. In Australia we don’t have Vegas, I know right. We have Vegans but that one little ‘n’ subtracts a substantial amount of fun from the meeting, replacing it only with the worst flatulence ever known to man.

    We have the Gold Coast though. And Metre Maid who wear skanky gold bikini’s and pay people’s metres for them. One time, I watched as they flirted a young man on his bucks weekend into doing a nudie run. So whilst remaining to shakes shy of being strippers themselves they do have some power to infuse stripperdom on wanton victims.

    Um, Russ, this post is hilarious. The End.

    • *warning* greivious grammar and spelling errors exist in above comment. Too many to correct, so instead, you can just make a game out guessing what the heck I was trying to say.

      • Amazing how much difference 1 pesky letter can male. I’m not sure I totally understand the meter maids, but I feel like having skanky women running around paying my meters for me would be a major perk. I’m always cutting it close by refusing to put in just one extra dime.

        I feel like the power to make others strip is much more impressive. I keep trying to develop a knack for that myself, but girls seem to be pretty immune.

        P.S. Is a bucks weekend like a bachelor party? Or is it some form of deer hunting?

  18. hilarious!! i am much too young to go to vegas but from all the stories my aunt tells me it sounds like a blast! this is the first time I’ve ever read any of your blogs and now i am entertained. thanks for the laughs!

    • Woohoo! We snagged another victim. Someday you’ll go to Vegas and form stories of your own. In the meantime, feel free to spend your days reading this blog and living vicariously through us!

  19. Hmmm… This Vegas venture has intrigued me Russ.

    I do so love the D-20 flag; great T-shirt idea. 😛

  20. Pingback: I Am a Nature God! | Reasonably Ludicrous

  21. When I was at law school in Germany, I went to Las Vegas for a month to do an internship with the Clark County District Attorney’s office. It was a great experience, I learnt a lot and the colleagues were very friendly! I will always remember the city fondly.

  22. The thing I miss most about Las Vegas is the sound of the hundreds, thousands of slot machines as you enter a casino.

  23. Mark Rum

    Russ is one of my best friends!!! And this story is so true that it’s sad and yet awesome.

  24. thedod23

    Who knew Shellder was so amenable to being used as a loincloth?

  25. My suggestion for your next trip to Vegas…..Carnival Court at Harrah’s. It’s a great time, great people-watching and for you guys I mean…girl-watching!! I took both my boys there when they turned 21…and they love me for it!! 🙂

    Congrats on a great blog….very funny stuff!

  26. I can honestly say I’ve never thought of strippers as being scary. Until now, that is. Great post! I’m glad what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas this time around.

    Also, hitting up Hooter’s in Vegas is akin to visiting a Chuck E. Cheese anywhere else. Pretty mellow in comparison.

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