Almost as soon as my friend Mitch rolled out of town, Eli, an even older friend, rolled in. Eli is a very successful manager and producer in Hollywood, but I first met her when she was a 16 year-old undergraduate at Yale. She was, in those days, a hellcat — a wild woman sowing her oats before settling down to marriage, motherhood and a rather spectacular career in movies.
She took me to dinner last Saturday night at Mix, the restaurant on top of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, with its stunning view of Las Vegas and its equally stunning food. (I apologize for the fuzziness of the picture above, but when I tried to use my flash inside Mix the background was totally blacked out — and the image does give a good sense of how Eli and I were seeing the world halfway through a superb bottle of wine, preceded by a couple of Martinis and beers.)
After our dinner we headed uptown to Tao, where Eli had used her connections to get us on “the list”. At Tao we took to the empty dance floor to show off our moves just as the club's night was getting going. (My moves were somewhat pathetic, Eli's much more impressive.) Our example started the whole crowd dancing, and the whole crowd consisted mostly of packs of young girls dressed like hookers, with a few decidedly colorless young men hovering timidly around them.
My Western box-back frock coat was the coolest item of male attire anywhere in sight. Let's face it, folks, I've seen better days, but at least I can still make an effort. On the other hand, Eli's cool clubbin' shoes mirrored the sense of style shown by almost all the women out cruising the town.
What is our world coming to? Has the matriarchy arrived? Have young men just given up?
When I dropped Eli off at her hotel, The Mirage, I was pretty drunk, and I knew I should head straight home on a route that did not include a detour through the Mirage's card room. On the other hand, I was a little too drunk to heed my own advice.
I sat down at a no-limit Hold-'em game, which broke up around three in the morning, but even this was not enough to bring me to my senses. I headed across the street to the card room at the Venetian, and played for twelve more hours.
It was a shameful episode. However, there were two mitigating factors. One, I had a blast, and, two, I staggered home at three in the afternoon having made a clear profit of over three hundred dollars. I was clearly inspired to daring acts of card play by my earlier dash about town with a hot babe in cool shoes.
In Las Vegas, bad behavior is often richly rewarded . . . and everywhere, the Eternal Feminine leads us on.