My brother had never been to Vegas. This wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but was simply a fact about him, like other facts of his life: he likes playing video games, he doesn’t like to travel, he really doesn’t like to dress up. I accepted these facts about him with unease and frustration. Who doesn’t like to travel? How could you make it to 24 without owning one nice dress shirt?
I couldn’t let his twenties slip by without one outrageous trip to Vegas. It chagrined me to think he could possibly have children – reproduce! – without having experienced the crushing defeat of losing all your money on too much confidence at the blackjack table, or blacking out at a strip club. Our Puritan, one-glass-of-wine-maybe parents sure weren’t going to make sure he completed this rite of passage. The heavy weight of the perfect Vegas trip fell on me.
When he got married at the tender age of 23 (without so much as puking during his bachelor party) my boyfriend and I decided that the only decent gift we could give him and his new wife was a trip to Vegas. I packed my sluttiest dresses, and made sure my sister-in-law was packing hers. My brother, who owned precisely one nice outfit – the tuxedo from his wedding – was dragged to the mall to buy something Vegas-appropriate. I said no plaid, no Ed Hardy; he found a shirt somewhere in the middle.
We had an amazing first couple days: enjoyed overpriced dinners, lost hundreds on gambling, watched Cirque du Soleil. But you can’t go home and tell the grandkids about Cirque du Soleil. We’d all seen the Hangover. If one of us didn’t wake up next to a tiger, or at least have a horrible headache in the morning, all was lost.
Luckily, my boyfriend was able to get us into Omnia at Caesar’s Palace to see DJ Chuckie. I was pretty sure my brother and his wife hadn’t ever been to a club. They had started yawning a couple hours earlier, so the four of us pounded Fireball with the dedication of college freshmen, and taxied over.
We could feel the vibrations of the music the second we got out of the taxi. I glanced at my brother. He had a tiny smile on his face. Okay, so far so good, I thought. Lines of black-clad twenty-somethings wrapped around the building and snaked through the vacuous grandeur of the Caesar’s Palace lobby. I watched as girls shifted their weight from one uncomfortable stiletto to the other, pursing their red lips together. I shifted my weight from one uncomfortable stiletto to the other. I checked my red lipstick in the reflection of a shiny column.
The murmuring of the music cranked up whenever the door opened, and we craned to see what was inside. You couldn’t really tell: it was dark and steamy; strobe lights flashed off in the distance. I glanced at my brother again: the smile was a little bigger. We shuffled forward, until it was our turn to stand before the refrigerator-sized man with the tiny clipboard. We gave our name, showed our IDs, and let out a breath of excitement when he nodded into his earpiece.
It was exactly what we were looking for in a Vegas club: twenty dollar drinks, the crushing weight of bodies, like the mass exodus of a football stadium, dancing to DJ Chuckie. Sexy girls dancing in cages, who made everyone feel bad for eating that cheeseburger earlier in the day. Smoke machines and strobe lights that simulated a somewhat terrifying thunderstorm. It was perfect. My brother disappeared for a while, and we kept dancing.
He reappeared twenty minutes later. “Someone just lint rolled me,” my brother said.
“What?” I yelled back, over the music.
“Someone just LINT ROLLED MY BACK,” he shouted. He half-turned and pointed at his back. He mouthed the words “lint roller” and made a rolling action with his hands.
We kept dancing, and I only half processed what he said. An hour went by, and we went out for fresh air on the roof deck. We leaned against the railing and looked out across the strip. The pulsing of the music still rang in my ears and I savored this Vegas moment.
He interrupted my self-congratulatory thoughts. “Did you hear me earlier?” he said. “I got LINT ROLLED.” He made the lint roller motion again. “When I went into the bathroom, there was this huge line, but we kept going forward. Then I walked in the door and someone grabbed my arm!”
He grabbed my arm where my bicep would be if I had a bicep. “Then someone dragged me over to a urinal! I had barely finished peeing and buckling my pants when someone else took me by my shoulders and shoved me to the sink!”
“A third guy turned the water on, and stared at me until I started washing my hands. I tried turning the water off, but he tapped the soap on the left.”
His wife broke in: “Gross! You weren’t going to wash your hands?”
“–so I washed my hands and then someone else turned the water off. And a FOURTH guy placed a paper towel in my hands! And then that’s when it happened. I looked in the mirror, and there is a fifth guy behind me and he is actually lint rolling my back. LINT ROLLING. Then I felt some hands on my lower back and they pushed me out the door.”
We were laughing really hard at this point. Like, not really breathing, tears-ruining-the-mascara hard. You should be picturing the Kim Kardashian crying face.
“You at least tipped them, right?” I asked.
“No? Why would I tip them?” he said.
We laughed even harder. The drinks were too expensive to have a second one, and the Fireball was long gone. When we left Omnia and were accosted by limo drivers, begging to take us to strip clubs, our stiletto feet hurt too much to go, so we walked back to the hotel and halfheartedly gambled for a few more minutes.
The next morning, no one had headaches, and we certainly didn’t have a story for the grandkids.
Just then, my brother leaned back and raised his eyebrows. “Remember when I got lint rolled?”