How To Survive a Vegas Weekend
A Manifesto by Kemer Stevenson
Part of The Guide To How To Save The World
Let’s start this with the same conversation you might have heard in your sixth grade sex education class. Hell, if your reading this, odds are good your maturity hasn’t changed much.
We’re all human beings. It’s perfectly natural. Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all done it…
Passed out on the floor a few hours after landing in town, vodka bottle still in hand after being carried out of the bathroom by another dude? Taken a piss over the ledge of a loft drenching the entire downstairs in a fashion resembling an unstable fire-hose after one too many car bombs? Woken up on a park bench by a police officer while wearing nothing more than a woman’s thong that you allegedly bought yourself earlier the night before?
Hey, no one’s judging. It happens to the best of us.
What follows is advice collected through years of experienced debauchery. After all, it’s important to lead by example … of what not to do.
Just because you can be immune to chicken pox, doesn’t mean you can be immune to alcohol.
BINGE DRINKERS RULEBOOK
• Rotate in waters. After you start feeling anything more than tipsy, start alternating between one cocktail and one water. You’re not going to want to, but if you’re smart enough to do it, you’ll go the distance.
• Eat before you drink. Don’t eat during. Eat before, eat after, never in the middle. If you need an analogy, think of it like talking to your mother on the phone and having sex.
• Drink light-colored liquors. They say once you go black, you’ll never go back. Don’t start the downward spiral that resembles the porcelain sinkhole. When in doubt, gin and vodka are the always the safest.
• Avoid dark drinks. Given the previous rule, this seems obvious. Just remember whiskey and red wine do the most damage because they contain the highest level of toxins that give you that glorious throbbing feeling the morning after.
• Steer clear of super sweet drinks. Drinks that require schnapps, cream-flavored liqueurs, or lots of sugar are your enemy. Those hot chicks walking around with the test-tube shooters are not your friend. And, just because the bartender says he knows how to make a good Cosmo doesn’t mean he really does. Side note: guys, Cosmos are completely acceptable these days.
• Don’t mix alcohols. There are some men who like to lay their claim to fame of having a cast iron stomach. That’s great… but why risk it? Stick to one drink for the duration of the night. If you must mix, may I suggest going from White Russians to Margaritas? Fun times ahead.
• Don’t go to bed drunk. Yeah right! Well, if you can… stay up a few more hours. It’s better than waking up in your own vomit in the morning.
• Drink another glass of water before bed. I’d recommend something more like three… but statistics show that you’re lucky if you remember any.
• Take two aspirins before you fall asleep. Controversial, sure. Tried, tested and verified… absolutely. Who cares if it supposedly destroys your liver? You did that last night anyway. Take the aspirin and be thankful you don’t feel the axe in the back of your skull tomorrow.
• Avoid shots. This is less of a rule and more like a guideline. It really depends on who is in your company. Obviously it’ll be harder for you frat boys than anyone else. Guys, do not buy girls shots. You might think it’s a good idea and you’re one step closer to getting her into bed… but she’s doing fine. She’ll break out the horizontal polka on her own. If you’re going to do shots with your bro’s… make sure you think through this slippery slope.
Your liver is like any other organ. You’ve got to train it just like those glamour muscles. Showing up in Vegas with a self-admitted low tolerance is like showing up for a gun fight with a knife.
When you’re drunk, not only do things usually not make sense… but they also usually don’t have any bearing on anything. What you have to say just isn’t that important. Once when drinking I came up with what, at the time, I thought was the most amazing money making scheme. I recognized my lack of ability to make sense, and thought it’d be better to save the idea for the next day. I immediately told my buddy that I had an awesome idea and asked him to remind me the next day by using the code word, “Cookie.” Unfortunately “Cookie” was a random word with absolutely no meaning. We still have no idea what my brilliant idea was.
GETTING IT IN
If you know where you’re going in advance, you can skip the lines with a VIP pass that most clubs sell online. It’s more expensive than the entry fee, but it’s less expensive than bottle service. Line waiting is minimal if any.
OPINIONS ARE LIKE ASSHOLES
It’s inevitable that everyone is going to have an opinion on what’s best in Vegas. Everyone thinks they know how the town works inside and out. Listening to advice from people who aren’t even on the trip is the worst thing you can do. That perfect little cocktail joint “Off the Strip” where the drinks are strong and the women are easy was probably turned into a Toys “R” Us back when Vanilla Ice was cool.
Someone needs to step up to the plate and make at least a rough outline of things to transpire. It doesn’t need to be exact and it doesn’t need to be firm. Remember, you CAN pre-game too long, and without a plan… you will.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Every large Vegas crew has its mix of rooks and vets, not to mention those who like to THINK they’re vets. Rookies desiring the local sightseeing fare should be prepared to role solo for some period of time. No one repeats Vegas 101.
STRAIGHT FROM THE DOOR BOUNCER
“You are bringing sand to a beach and that puts you at the mercy of the VIP host. When you approach him, leave your attitude behind and ask him what it’ll take to get your group in. Do NOT lie about the number of guys in your group or you will be tossed to the side quicker than a drunk girl’s shoes. Also, do NOT throw a number out there to begin the bidding or you’ll be digging deep into those pockets. So long as you make the host feel as though you’re willing to work with him, you’ll find the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to make your way through the doors before 3am.”
IT’S NOT CALLED THE STRIP BECAUSE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON
The thing I love about Vegas the most is that you can be anyone you want to be, if only for a short weekend.
Girls… you can overdress here. Less is more. Skimpy is in.
Guys and girls; get over your nudity issues. That goes for both extremes. If you’re a prude, relax-the-hell-out. If you’re overly horny… just because you see as much skin a late night Skinamax flick, doesn’t mean you’re getting any more than Rosy Palm has already put out.
LIKE MAMA USED TO TELL YA’
You never know what’s going to happen. Make sure you always wear clean underwear. Maybe it’ll be a stripper dragging you on stage for some public embarrassment. Maybe someone will unexpectedly yell, “Let’s get naked!!!” and before you know it you find yourself standing next to your buddy wearing the exact same pair of hot pink American Apparel briefs. Hey, it happens. Just make sure they’re clean.
NO SLEEP ‘TILL BROOKLYN
Chromosomes aside, it’s time to put your man pants on. New York may be the city that never sleeps but Vegas is the city that doesn’t stop partying. So suck some Red Bull, drink some 5-Hour-Energy, take an ice cold shower, or do whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t end up with Sharpie on your face in the morning… or worse.
“When life gives you lemons, break out the tequila and salt.”
It’s not out of the ordinary for a group to contain someone no one likes. This is the bag-of-douche often kept around for the sole purpose of cutting them down to make everyone else feel better about themselves. It’s usually a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend. Possibly someone who got invited by accident and you can’t get rid of. If you don’t agree, then that person is definitely you. Vegas is no place for this someone. Quarantine early and often to avoid this catastrophe waiting to happen.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS GETS POSTED ON FACEBOOK
Just what is the camera policy in Vegas? Ideally, everyone carries their own camera and takes lots of pictures. This can be used to fill in the blanks from the grey-out the next morning. It also makes for potentially great blackmail later. Just remember that not everyone has that laid back artist job that embraces alternative lifestyles. Make sure you ask for approval to publicly embrace or embarrass.
If there’s one thing to remember above everything else, it’s that you absolutely cannot leave someone behind. Girls are really good about this rule. Guys just want their buddy to get laid. The problem with that is that as men, we tend to make too many assumptions. Your buddy isn’t always a deal-sealer. Just because he’s giving her back massages doesn’t mean he’s doing any more than cuddling.
CLICHE IS SO CLICHE
Three strikes and you’re out. Three is number of times you’re permitted to utter any overused Vegas-ism. That includes, but is not limited to, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” and “Vegas, Baby!” We’ve seen the commercials and memorized Swingers. Technically there should be a zero tolerance policy, but your pals should allow for drunken slip-ups.
FLIRT. TOUCH? DON’T CHEAT.
It’s fine to take things right up to the line… just don’t cross it. Where’s the line? There are endless Hollywood sagas that have yet to answer that very question. Ultimately, this can be summed up with two simple rules: first, don’t do anything you’re going to regret later on. That should be obvious. Second, don’t do anything that is going to make anyone else in your company awkward. Odds are good your buddies and girlfriends know your significant other. No one wants to lie for you. No one wants to cover for you. No one wants to creep around like nothing ever happened. So, don’t put us in that situation to begin with.
BRINGING SEXY BACK
No matter how fantastic of an idea it seems at the time, never invite the band back to your room for the after party. Having Juice Springsteen in your room is a recipe for a large room damages bill in the morning. Do attend after parties in other people’s room where you can control the variables.
It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Under no circumstances should you be calling your significant other to check in. This goes triple for sexting.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Most casinos have free gaming lessons. For newcomers, it’s a great way to learn without losing any of your own money.
- Roulette is the only table game where chips don’t have a denomination specified on them.
- Seventeen of the top twenty hotels in the world are located in Las Vegas.
- Vegas Population is approximately 552,000
- Average temperature – Summer: 90F; Winter: 60F
- High season is June – August
NO ONE LIKES A SORE LOSER
There’s a reason Vegas will still be there tomorrow. Gambling is simply a tax on the mathematically impaired. When double digit crews hit Sin City for a week, it’s a certainty that at least one is going to lose more clams than they intended. Moaning about losses is poison to the group’s morale.
“No officer theres no blood in my alcohol system.”
JUST PLAIN STUPIDITY
• Don’t pee in public. It seems so obvious, but rarely have I seen a drunken extravaganza where someone doesn’t insist on taking a piss somewhere outside because they can’t hold it. Vegas has cameras and security everywhere… and they have a zero tolerance policy for what you’ve gotten away with a dozen times before.
• Don’t give the cab driver your room number or phone number. Otherwise your 4am escort might look a little different than the ad.
• Don’t open a bar tab. Pay cash. You’ll kick yourself three bars later when you realize you left it behind and it’s your turn to get the round.
• Don’t attempt to climb the monuments at Caesar’s Palace… or anywhere for that matter.
• Don’t drive drunk. Don’t drive at all. There’s no need.
• Hair of the Dog. Premised on the quaint notion that the best thing for what ails you is more of what ails you. After all, you can’t get a hangover if you don’t stop drinking.
• Caffeine. Coffee or coke. Coke’s carbonation helps settle that circus in your stomach.
• Greasy food. Sometimes all you need is a Double-Double Animal style or a good NY slice with pepperoni.
• Gatorade or other sports drinks taste like tears from heaven after a bender.
• Good food. Banana’s, V-8 and oatmeal. Sure you might have to force it down, but at least you’ll have the rest of your day ahead of you.
• Vitamins. Who plans far enough ahead to bring B6, B12 and C? But, if you do… it really does work magic. I get made fun of, but it’s still my personal favorite.
• Lots and lots of water. The wives of old tell a mean tale of how honey and lemons take this one step further.
CLASSIC VEGAS MISTAKES
• Inviting the downer. The guy who is selfish, obnoxious, depressing or just plain annoying. The last thing you want is someone bitching about activities and ruining the mood for everyone else. You might be good friends with him but, you’ll end up wasting time and energy on what could otherwise be spent on strippers.
• Inviting the spoiler. Don’t bring someone who thinks they know better than everyone else. The guy who will change reservations and insist on expensive bottle service no can afford. You’ll spend more than you planned and end up resenting everyone on the trip who went along with him.
CASH IS KING
Besides a bad divorce, nothing can suck your money faster than Sin City. Take out plenty of cash ahead of time to avoid the $12 ATM fees. Yes, really.
GUIDE TO TIPPING
Stop skimming. This seems like first year shit. Trust me, it’s not. You’ve heard how throwing money around in Vegas goes a long way. It’s no good if you aren’t throwing it in the right direction. Tipping might seem obvious on the surface.
There’s plenty of grease being served up here, and it’s not just the buffets.
• Bellmen. $1 a bag is pretty standard. Double that and they’ll remember you if you need a favor later.
• Concierge. It’s not obvious, but it’s customary to leave a tip. Anywhere from $2 to $20 is graciously accepted.
• Valet. Figure $1 or $2 for attendants when you drop off and pick up. It’s easy to leave a fiver and it will get you noticed later when you need your car in a jiffy.
• Taxi drivers. Throw out an extra buck or two. Don’t be a jerk and stiff the guy all together. Generally speaking… come on, it’s a cab. It’s not luxurious, it’s nothing special.
• Dealers. Tip $5 per hour, win or lose. Sit down at a table and hit a losing streak quick? Throw down a dollar or two and walk away. Break up that five anyway you want, including the smart way of placing a bet for the dealer. That gives them a small incentive to help you out.
• Cocktail waitresses. $1 chip per visit. The drinks are weak, and no matter what you do you can’t sweet talk any special service from them.
• Food servers. Check that your gratuity isn’t included. This is a pretty normal practice in Sin City and it’s not always obvious. If it’s not, tax in Vegas is 7.75%. Double the tax and start your evening of fun.
• Room service. If you’re stupid enough to order the overpriced room service in the first place, throw them a decent tip. Enough time wasted on this.
• Maids. This is the one thing that won’t really get you ahead, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Come on, it’s a shitty job. Like most people, you probably take it for granted. Leave them at least $5 each day. If something’s missing or the room isn’t made up to standards, you can reduce that… but that’s a good starting point.
• Front Desk. Who doesn’t want a room upgrade? This isn’t so much a tip than an outright bribe. Believe it or not, it works way more often than not. Slip a Jackson (that’s $20 for those not paying attention) between your ID and credit card and casually ask if there are any complimentary upgrades available. Most desk staff will even give you your dough back if they can’t accommodate your request. That’s simple win-win economics.
• Strippers. The more you give, the more you get … maybe. The norm is about five bones a lap dance. Apply your discretion and morals from there.
NON-OBVIOUS THINGS TO BRING
• Mints or gum. Great for a multitude of reasons.
• Febreeze. Once used in college between visits home to do laundry… you’ll definitely want to bring a small bottle along to kill the smoke smell that’s everywhere.
• Condoms. Looking to hook up or not, you’d be wise to channel your inner 14 year old and stick a few in your wallet before you leave. Just in case. Always wear a hat.
• Bottle opener. Put it on a keychain for easy access.
• Aspirin / Tylenol / Alleve. This should be self-explanatory.
• Cigar. You could of course grab one there if you want to pay the hotel premium. Even if you don’t smoke, you’ll look like a baller when you whip it out. Partner with a good Vodka Martini to go full James Bond.
• Flip flops. It seems obvious, but I’ve forgotten them two out of three times now. Nothing looks dumber than the guy who walks out to the pool or hot-tub with loafers.
• Phone numbers. Program the numbers to everyone in your group into your phone before you leave.. even if you’ll never talk to them after this weekend. You never know when someone will go missing. For extra credit, program in a local cab number or two once you get into town.
• Soap. This is mainly beneficial when cramming large groups into one room.
• Music. This almost isn’t worth noting now that almost everyone has an iPhone. Just make sure you remove your collection of Styx and The Spice Girls from your collection before you leave.