Well, the verdict is in. I'm an old lady. In case my affinity for whisky sours, black licorice, and staying in on weekends hadn't already made my senior citizen status evident to you all, I can now support my case by telling you about my weekend in Vegas. Basically, it involved a lot of conservative betting on the penny slot machines, two hours playing bingo, dressing up about as sexy as I dress for work, being in bed before 2am, and tsk-tsking at the sight of drunk, slutty girls.
I want to lie to myself and say that the reason for my acting three times my age was because I was on this trip with my parents. But there were plenty of opportunities for me to catch up to the groups of shouting, staggering drunk people wearing funny hats and sipping from tropical drinks in 4 foot long glasses, and I turned them all down. I have been to Vegas before sans parents and I was just as depressing that time too.
But I had plenty of fun in my old lady way. I actually won $100 playing the big-spender quarter slots. That was exciting! Of course, that money has since been spent on plenty of other things (more slots), but that was the first time I'd ever won any considerable sum.
The fam, the boyfriend, and I stayed at the Gold Coast. Heard of it? I hadn't either. It's across the street from the Palms and next to the Rio. It's affordable/full of old people. We spend the weekend calling it the Gold Post or the Goal Post or the Old Post or the Cold Toast. My favorite thing about it was the 24/7 special on Coronas in the casino- just $2 a bottle!
On Saturday we played bingo from 1pm to 4pm. My aunt suggested it and at first I was really excited about it because I find it fun to pass my time in ironic ways. At 12:55, I strolled into the enormous bingo hall at the Gold Coast. The room was filled with old white-haired ladies. All had apparently come alone. And most were smoking long cigarettes. "HaHA" I chuckled to myself. "They don't even know what's about to hit em! There's a new player in town." I'm young(ish) and (marginally) fit! And (probably) I can react faster when the numbers are called out.
My confidence immediately plummeted as I approached the window to buy my cards. 1 pack of blue for $4. Or a pack of red for $8. And then the special black box at game #8 was $1 per extra card. And the power-ball number was $1 and your card had to be verified. It doesn't take much to overwhelm me, and this was like melting my face. My sister asked the couple in line in front of us for an explanation. They gave one. I still didn't get it. So then I asked the woman at the counter and, with saintly patience, she again explained everything. I still didn't get it, but now I had what looked like a big pad of paper. On each sheet was 6 little squares of numbers. And then I had to buy one of those bingo daubers (the ink things) out of the vending machines in the back of the hall (or, about 3 miles away). As I was picking out my dauber color and with no warning, the first game started. We all rushed to our seats and tried to catch up. And for like the next three games I kept asking, "Wait, what?" and craning my neck around to see what card the old ladies were playing on.
Here's the thing: much like poker, with bingo there are all sorts of special terms and rules and no one tells you what they are. There are phrases like "bingo the hard way" (sounds sexy, no?) which means getting bingo without the free space. NO FREE SPACE! Why don't you just rip the heart right out of my chest? And when they switch to a new game, sometimes you have to change cards and sometimes you stay on the same one and go for double bingo. But they barely tell you which way they're going. They announcer mumbles it at the same time that papers are shuffling around and drowning it all out, while simultaneously sending telepathic instructions to the old ladies so that they're always on top of it.
The experts weed out the novices by surveying the room to see who's sweating and panicked and laughing at themselves and who's cooly sipping a diet coke while manning 240 bingo cards at once.
Also, the experts are apparently the only people that win. The same people just won repeatedly. No one in my fam won. And only once did I see a non-aged person win, and he didn't even bat an eyelash. No smiles. No high-fives. This was like $500 he just raked in and he didn't even care. Wasted on a lousy winner.
And $500 was like the second highest prize they gave out. Most of the time the jack pot was a measly $50...which was often split between three winners. There was one game for $46,000. You had to cover your whole card after 4 numbers were called, or something equally impossible. Nobody won that, thank god. I may have run across the room in a jealous rage and punched the winner right in her face.
And so after 2 hours of bingo, and after the many $2 coronas, we went out for over-priced, not-as-good-as-L.A. (but I'm a snob) sushi. Then, we happened upon this out door tent with a live band and a dozen guys, apparently a bachelor party?, wearing customized hockey jerseys with names across the back like "Johnny Wad," "Ass-assin," "McLovin" (eye roll), and my personal favorite, "Captain Stabby." After about a half hour of watching the worst dance moves I've ever seen in my life coming out of the audience, the 3 worst people in the world stumbled in. The 3 worst people were: 1. Some guy with gelled hair, intentional stubble, and an Ed Hardy blazer over a pink shirt. 2. His brunette girlfriend in clear plastic platform shoes, a black dress about as long as a sports bra, and some serious hair extensions. 3. His blond girlfriend, same deal, but shorter. They all had apparently just snorted their weight in coke, which sounds drastic, but this was probably only about 67 pounds for each of the girlfriends. After making out individually with the guy, the two girls then made out with each other, and then the three of them made out together in one big mouth mess. Now, had I seen this spectacle under most circumstances, I would have just watched on with an odd curiosity and a tempered annoyance. But watching this while in the presence of my parents pretty much made me want to throw up and then die.
I suppose at least they were having the sort of Vegas experience that the "What Happens In Vegas" ad people would like us to think we should all be having. But they didn't get to have scrambled eggs, cheese enchiladas, and lo-mein for breakfast at the Gold Coast all-you can eat brunch buffet. Twice.