A new day dawns over Las Vegas. A beautiful sun rises over the picturesque mountains that surround this jewel of the desert. Not a cloud appears to disrupt the deep, azure blue sky. Desert flowers open their petals and lean towards the life giving ball of fire in the sky. Birds chirp a cheery reminder that another day, that sun drenched miracle of possibilities known as a day, stretches out before us, offering an unlimited number of opportunities to create memories. You, however, notice none of this, because you’re in a hallway somewhere on The Strip, where you’ve been for the past thirty minutes. You’re wearing one shoe, mismatched socks, and a shirt that says “I Heart Cocker Spaniels.” You smell like Munich in October. You’re unsuccessfully attempting to get your hotel room key to work. It says “Room 217” right on the card. It says room 217 right on the card sleeve. It says room 217 on the hotel room door. So WHY WON’T THIS STUPID KEY WORK?!?!?! At that moment the hotel manager appears. It seems the occupants of room 217 called down to the front desk, saying that they were frightened because an obviously crazy homeless person reminiscent of Ted Kaczynski was trying to break into their room. You show the manager your key and explain that YOU are in room 217. He says “Yes sir, you are, but you’re staying in room 217 at The Luxor. This is Mandalay Bay.” You, my friend, are a resident of Twenty Five Year Old Vegas. (As a refresher course, read up on Twenty Five Year Old Vegas in Part 1 of this series, by clicking HERE)
We’re not here to discuss that Vegas today. We’re here to discuss the other Sin City, or as I call it “Forty Plus Vegas.” It’s the Vegas for those of us a little gray at the temples. Truth be told, it’s not really Sin City at this age. It’s more like Misdemeanor City, or even Comedy Traffic School To Get Those Two Points Off Your License And Keep Your Insurance Rates Down City. I discovered Forty Plus Vegas on day three of a trip with my old friend Tom last year (and delved even deeper into it on a trip with my wife earlier this year - more on that later). Loyal readers already know that day one with Tom did not go well as far as we can recall, and day two went even worse (“Mgggwt!” “Pllrmmmmr!” “Aye, matey” “Punches!” “Let me know if you find my spleen.”). Day three we discovered that in Las Vegas, it’s apparently acceptable to NOT be stumbledrunk at noon. I know, I know, it was as much of a shock to us as it is to you. Everyone please calm down. As I write these words, The High Council of Twenty Five Year Old Vegas is drawing up paperwork to have me officially declared a heretic and burned at the stake. (Luckily, The High Council will be on Sambuca shot #4 before the paperwork is finished, forget all about it, and embark on yet another evening of firebombing their liver and auditioning for roles on the show “Las Vegas Jailhouse;” I feel pretty safe) Day three, after breakfast - not half-eaten PopTarts found in the sock drawer and washed down with warm remnants of last nights beer, but actual food - we had a drink. Let me repeat that - we had “A” drink, as in “one drink,” as in “Let’s at least pretend we’re grownups, if only for a little while.” We sat in a lounge at Palazzo with that drink, people watched, and played a fun Vegas game called “Are They Hungover Or Still Wrecked?” Around 1PM, we rediscovered the wonders of napping. That’s right, napping; not just for children anymore. Tom chose the couch in our room for his slumber. (Middle aged guys will know why I pointed that out - there are couch nappers, chair nappers, and bed nappers - in Twenty Five Year Old Vegas, there are Unintentional Driving Nappers, but they don’t count here. Rarely, if ever, will a guy stray from his preferred method of napping, except during a life threatening situation such as being held at gunpoint by terrorists, or being forced to spend Sunday afternoon at his in-laws house by terrorists, or avoiding the annual gutter cleaning) A bed napper myself, I awoke at 3PM feeling like a human being. It was a strange feeling to have in Las Vegas, and it was at this precise moment that the existence of Forty Plus Vegas was revealed.
What is Forty Plus Vegas? I’m so glad you asked....
At the most basic level, it can be explained thusly: Forty Plus Vegas involves quality, not quantity. This is the Vegas of excellent steak at The Palm, not $4.99 “Prime Rib Meatlike Product” at Rotten T Dirtbags Casino And Bowl-A-Rama. The Vegas of Macallan, not 3-for-1 shots of rotgut Gin with a curse word in the name and a picture of a Lizard on the bottle. The Vegas of shows that are actually worth the price of admission, and where the performers are clothed. (*Guy Note: These are not the only shows we attend, but they are in addition to the nudie shows. Also, in Forty Plus Vegas we go to the nicer nudie bars; the “Gentlemen's Clubs” where you don’t need to wear a plastic slipcover under your clothes, and the chances of catching anything simply by breathing the air are somewhat less than 50/50) This is the Vegas that adheres to the legend of the Rat Pack Vegas: a sportcoat or cocktail shirt instead of a tuxedo t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off, a bar or lounge where you can have a conversation without shouting yourself hoarse, mens rooms that don’t make you wonder if the monkey from Outbreak is dead in one of the stalls. You know, fun but classy. In Forty Plus Vegas, we actually unpack our suitcase in the room and put stuff in the drawers. (We also put our cholesterol and blood pressure medicine on the countertops) Oh, we also use coupons in this Vegas, and we’re proud of it. You know that $ we saved on our show tickets? We use that to buy top shelf booze, instead of forcing down a gallon of cheap stuff simply labeled “Wine,” with a taste reminiscent of sweaty dress socks on a hot Cleveland sidewalk in July. We couldn’t drink that much these days anyway, we’re going to be up four times a night to tinkle as it is, and that much liquid will only exacerbate the problem.
Forty Plus Vegas is the Vegas where “morning” actually exists. The Strip is amazingly quiet and spacious before noon. The breakfast buffets have some of the best food out there (The Sunday buffet at MGM is one of my personal favorites). I think the food is better early in the day because the properties know us older folks are the ones who are awake at that time, so they need to raise the quality and appease us - we have good credit we’re willing to gamble, and no qualms about complaining to the management (Not nearly as much complaining as Sixty Plus Vegas, but that’s a WHOLE other story). Vegas hotels know that at night, they can fill the all you can eat buffets with reheated, overly curried meat Taco Bell rejected, and the younger denizens won’t notice; they’re too busy making sure their sideways hat is just exactly sideways enough, debating whether to put on a sixth coat of Drakkar, and plotting how to meet the way-out-of-their-league females across the way, to care about taste. They’d eat well seasoned Alpo without noticing. In the morning, however, Las Vegas puts on a gourmet spread, and we’ll attack it like my Italian family - in other words, we’ll sit there forever. We Forty Plusers will lounge at breakfast for as much as two hours, passing the time talking about the previous evening, saying things like “...and after the one young guy with the ring in his eyebrow put out the flames in his girlfriend’s hair, they took off.” Then we laugh derisively, because we are required by law to show public disdain for the younger generation. (Memo to Twenty Five Year Old Vegas: Someday, you will too) Mornings are a cornucopia of enjoyment in Las Vegas, though most people don’t now that for years and years. At least once during a Forty Plus Vegas trip we’ll miss breakfast though, and head out to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world - the finely manicured golf courses of Misdemeanor City.
You know those golfers I described in the Twenty Five Plus Vegas article? Well, we see them. We see them because we’re early for our tee time as well, the difference being that we’re not early so we can have more beer before teeing off. No, we’re early so we can properly stretch, and eat so we can take our blood pressure pills, and work out the many, many, many, many kinks and creaks in our joints before hitting the #1 tee. (We do this so as not to pull anything while riding in the cart and ogling the refreshment girls from a discreet yet still creepy older man distance) Yes, we grinningly watch over our reading glasses as you younger guys stumble into the clubhouse and order shots at 6:15AM, then sit back and bet each other on which one of you will be “the hurler.” (On a side note, I’ve won more $ on young guys hurling than any other table game in Vegas - the trick is to always bet on the guy wearing the trendiest sports team apparel; for example, this year watch for guys wearing stuff from TCU or the Arizona Diamondbacks. These are teams that weren’t supposed to do much but have been wildly successful; by wearing their gear this guy has shown that he’s willing to do anything to gain male peer acceptance, including the rapid ingestion of a Foster Brooks level of tequila shots. See, there’s a science to betting on vomit) By the time you whippersnappers have bailed on your tee time and retreated to your dank, partially forested $29 hotel room, we’re on the 4th fairway (OK, in the trees down the right of the fourth fairway)(OK, on the 12th fairway, which is on the opposite side of the trees that run down the right of the 4th fairway)(OK, in the sand trap along the side of the 12th fairway)(Shut up). We’re laughing and having fun and feeling great, ordering beer and casually flirting with the beer cart girl in a way that will make her call her friends later and say something along the lines of “The dude was like my Dad’s age, it was gross!” By the time we’ve hit the turn, you’re passed out in what is either an uncomfortable bed or a rather nice bathtub (Way to save money on that room, sport!). Yes, we finish 18, have our 19th hole scotch, and head back to our luxurious accommodations at Palazzo or Wynn or The Hilton Grand Vacations Club to take a nap on a clean bed that feels like you’re floating on air.
I know full well that young guys think that Forty Plus Vegas is “lame,” (or whatever word these kids use today ... is it me or do all of these damn songs sounds exactly the SAME?) but here’s the thing you young ‘uns need to know: We, the residents of Forty Plus Vegas, are OK with that. More than OK. We’re perfectly happy not being considered cool by guys with vomit on their shoelaces, and heading back at the end of the evening to a nice, comfortable, clean room devoid of most insects. We’re perfectly OK with watching you parade off down the street, yelling and war whooping towards a group of girls (who subtly reach into their purse and grasp their mace as you approach) while we order another Macallan (the 18 year old this time) light an Arturo Fuente, and wonder how long it will be before you realize you left your phone on the table next to us ... and how long before we succumb to the guy temptation and start calling Guatemala, photographing certain body parts with it, and texting those photos to your friends. (We’re forty, but we’re still guys, Giggity Giggity!) Yes, my young friends, we are perfectly OK with all of it. Twenty Five Year Old Vegas has its place, and a wonderful place it is, but most of us have done it. We’ve done it, and done it well. Now, we’re more than thrilled to pass the baton to a new generation of ralphers, while we enjoy the best of what Vegas has to offer. Oh, and it does have quite a bit to offer. Vegas is nothing short of a world class destination, with entries among the best on the planet in the areas of entertainment, dining, shopping, sightseeing, and of course golf. Obviously gaming is still far and away the #1 attraction - and make no mistake, Forty Plus Vegas in no way eschews the tables ... we dump our cash into the house’s coffers as much as anyone - but it’s quite possible to have a fantastic trip without ever setting foot on a casino floor. Eat a delectable meal, then see a spectacular show. Shop an amazing variety of stores, for budgets of any size. Hit a golf ball into a sky so blue it makes you dizzy.
Then head back to The Strip and watch idiots yak on each other. I mean come on, that’s entertaining no matter your age.
Next, An Addendum: Forty Plus Vegas With Your Spouse (Also known as “Girl Vegas”)
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