Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Couples Vegas
The dice tumble.  As they do, the world is a slow motion jumble of noise, color, and excitement.  A crowd has gathered around the craps table in pit five, and you are a rock star, baybee.  You are on a run like none you’ve ever been on.  The group of young guys with the perpetual five o’clock shadow, dressed like they live in a cologne commercial, have been calling you “One Serious Bastard,” which is apparently a compliment.   Heck, even the Dallas businessmen, all donning hats larger than the state of their birth, have made you an honorary Texan. It’s your night, and it’s going to continue.  You just know it.  The casino has sent a snooper to your table to see if you’re somehow cheating, and the pit boss is watching your every move.  You don’t care, you’re not cheating - it’s just one of those lucky Vegas rolls that happens every third light year.  
The music thumps, and even though you have no clue who the band is (you stopped listening to popular music shortly after “Full Moon Fever,” thank God for Sirius/XM’s “Eighties On Eight” channel) it doesn’t matter, this is your night and you’re cooler than Sinatra in ’63.  As the dice approach the far wall, you’re strangely relaxed, almost as if you can see the numbers coming. 
Is it 2PM or 2AM?  Does it really matter?  You’re the center of the universe!  Bring it on, Vegas!  This is YOUR night!!!  You OWN this town!!!  Seven, baybee!  I knew it, another seven!!   Hey Cologne Boys, not only am I One Serious Bastard,  I’m your King!  A mighty yell goes up from the crowd!!!
Your eyes snap open, and the crowd has vanished.  There are no Cologne Boys, and no Texans, honorary or otherwise.  The music has changed from hip and pounding to Enya.  Or is it those chanting Monks?  You’re laying on a table in a room full of ferns, naked under a towel.  You look to your right and there’s your lovely wife, sitting up on a table exactly like yours, wrapped in a towel exactly like yours.  There are two other women in the room, dressed in white.  Your wife says “The massage is over, you must have fallen asleep.  There’s a hot tub break now, before the facials.”  Ah yes, now you remember.  It’s a spa weekend in Vegas with your lady.  It’s Couples Vegas.
Don’t get me wrong, Couples Vegas is not bad, not at all.  In fact, it’s actually extremely nice.  When my wife Carolyn and I did our last trip, we ate at high end restaurants, got dressed up for the spectacular shows, and did this eight hour “Couples Treatment” at The Spa At Aria, which is one of the top rated spas in the country.  All good things, all fun in their own way, and heck, any time I get to spend an entire weekend with my girl, without the child, it’s a good thing.  It’s just that this is a different Vegas than the Vegas you’re used to - it seems this trip to Vegas is one where you’ll remember every second, and that’s a bit jarring and unusual for men.  You’re used to coming home with hazy memories and clothes that reek of cigar smoke.  Couples Vegas is a Vegas where when you wake up, everything is peaceful, and you simply begin your day.  This is the part - the daytime part - where as a man, I stepped into a woman’s world and was a bit lost.  See, for our anniversary, I had presented my wife with a certificate saying we would go for a long weekend in Vegas, and during this time there would be no poker, no golfing, no cigars, nada. It was a good bluff on my part, but she called me on it - she’s picked up on my tells.  This was to be HER weekend, and we would do whatever she wanted to do; she’d earned it.  My wife works extremely hard, is a great Mom, and as of this writing has only attempted to murder me in my sleep a couple of times, as far as I know.  The dinners and shows on this trip were a bit out of character for us, as we usually low-key it in those areas, but there’s nothing particularly unusual about them.  The spa trip was the star of the weekend, and it was a world as foreign to me as victory is to Cleveland.  
As I relate the events of Spa Day, I will include side notes to explain the trickier parts to the guys out there among my faithful readers.
On Spa Day, we woke up, had breakfast, showered, and went to the spa, located at Aria.  We arrived, checked in, and were shown to our personal spa suite.  We were to stay in this suite all day, and the various masseuses and other spa practitioners would be coming to us at scheduled intervals.  Apparently, this is a big deal, as Carolyn (along with every subsequent female she’s told about it) was very excited about this fact. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: I learned that usually during an all-day spa experience, you have to walk from room to room to get the different treatments (massage, facial, manicure, etc).  Yeah, I don’t get it either.  Since these rooms appeared to be a maximum of five feet apart, I can’t imagine how stressful walking between them could possibly be, but she was thrilled about it, so I was thrilled as well.)  After being shown around the suite and its various rooms, our hostess left and Carolyn informed me that step one was to take a shower.  Since we had showered at out hotel no more than forty minutes previous, I inquired as to why another was necessary.  She informed me, in a tone of voice you might use to explain the space-time continuum to a particularly slow-witted chipmunk, that “It’s just something we have to do, OK?”  At this point I knew I should stop asking questions and just roll with it.  While she was in the shower, I explored the suite; I must say it’s pretty fantastic, kudos to the folks at Aria. A shower and bathroom roughly the size of the house we’re hopelessly underwater in was on one end, followed by the treatment room, and finally the “family room,” which consisted of a huge sitting area with a high end couch and chairs, a giant hot tub, and a plasma TV that was at least sixty inches.  (*NOTE FOR GUYS* I knew the TV could get ESPN.  I also instinctively knew that if I attempted to turn it to ESPN, even while she was in the shower, she just might slip a fin-ski to one of the practitioners to “accidentally” punch my manstuff.  I’m not a rookie.)  After my shower (During which, I could swear my hair said “Didn’t we just do this an hour ago?”), we sat in our robes for awhile until the masseuses arrived, and I was asked to choose which scent of oil I wanted for my massage.  When I said I didn’t have any idea, and asked if there were pros or cons to any of the scents, the three women exchanged one of those woman looks where they all but roll their eyes and put a dunce cap on my head.  The masseuse then held the tray of oils closer to my face, in the same way you would jingle your keys in front of a screaming infant to pacify him, and when I finally blurted out “Peppermint” I seriously thought she was going to tousle my hair and reward me with a Scooby Snack.  The two of them then held up towels, told us to drop our robes and lay on the table, and they then draped the towels over us. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: If I saw another guy who began to give me guff about going to a “girly spa,” my planned response was “I was naked in a room with three chicks, and I DIDN’T get arrested for it.  Top that, jerkface!”  You know, to highlight my maturity.)  I won’t go into detail about the massage itself, except to say that it was indeed a relaxing situation.  I think it lasted nearly an hour, and I dozed off a couple of times. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: It’s not like the “massage” videos you see on the internet.  OK, it’s kind of like the first free clip, but nothing like free clips two through four.  If that’s what you’re after, you need to go to a different part of Vegas.  FYI, this being a different type of massage is the reason that when I was laying on my back, there were no tents in the room.  If you get my drift.)  After the massage, we had a break.  A break from what, I’m not sure, but we had a break.  “Man, I can’t take that lying down relaxing anymore.  Let’s go sit for awhile!”  As we lounged in the hot tub and on the couch, we noticed that at some point during the massage, our hostess had snuck in and brought a tray of fresh fruit and some sparkling water.  The smile on Carolyn’s face was all I needed to tell me that this was exceeding her expectations.  Plus there was kiwi, and I love kiwi.  Sometimes it makes me a little gassy, but that’s what the bubbles in the hot tub were for, right?  Next item on the agenda: the facials. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: Again, different than those you’ve seen on the ‘net)
Having never been through one of these, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  There’s even more oil involved in this than there was in the massage.  (Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose a scent this time.)  My face was smeared with more oil than Kyle Busch’s pistons.  Is there oil on pistons?  I’m not a car guy.  Anyway, it was pretty oily.  After she slathered me in the oil, she rubbed it into my skin in a hard, angry fashion, like I had slept with her sister or something.  She would place her thumbs on either side of my nose, and move them outwards in opposite directions, with a force that could only have been designed to split the skin in two and expose my nose cartilage.  After my skin valiantly remained in place, she gave up and in an apparent attempt to blind me instead, placed a steaming hot towel over my eyes - think the same level of hot as the one Babu gave Kramer in the Pakistani Dream Cafe episode of Seinfeld.  I seriously began to wonder if I owed this woman money or something.  After the towel was placed, I laid there for quite awhile with nothing happening.  Both of the facial technicians had left, and they were probably in the family room, going through our pockets, spitting in my sparkling water because of whatever it was I did to offend them, and plotting what they were to do to me next. “Hey, let’s put pickles up his nose! We’ll say it’s good for the skin, the idiot won’t know the difference!  Haha!  Hey, turn it to ESPN so his wife stabs him later.”  Well, there were no pickles involved, but this woman really hated my nose, and was out to redeem herself after failing to split the skin.  Once they returned, the towel was replaced with a new one (just as hot, in case there were a few remaining rods and cones in my eyes that had somehow not melted) and she began jabbing my nose with what felt like a particularly nasty Cat O’ Nine Tails, or perhaps an experimental military superheated Trident of some kind.  I later found out that she was in fact, using industrial tweezers - which she must have recently removed from the surface of the sun - to “excavate the blemishes” from my nose. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*:  “Excavate the blemishes” means “pop the blackheads.”  I know.  Women pay for this, yet they say the stuff WE do is gross.)  Either I have a ton of blemishes on my nose, or I slept with her sister AND I owe her money AND I poisoned her Parakeet, because she went after me with the vengeance of a Kraken.  Once at football practice, I took the crown of a linebacker’s helmet directly into my mandanglers, and that was a cakewalk by comparison.  I fought back the tears as best I could, or maybe I simply couldn’t create any because my tear ducts had been heated to the point of only producing lava.  This medieval nose torture technique went on for what seemed like weeks. If it was an inquisition, I would have told them whatever they wanted to know.  I would have admitted to being the second gunman on the grassy knoll, writing “Gigli,” and being responsible for The BCS, if she’d promise to stop.  I was seriously about ready to jump up, grab this woman by the throat and yell “WHAT’S YOUR FRICKIN’ PROBLEM, LADY?!?”  Then, mercifully, it was over.  She removed the towel from my eyes (I regained my sight slowly, like Han Solo in Return of The Jedi), and began to slather even more oil on my face.  Based on how much this woman hated me, I half expected it to be battery acid, but it was quite soothing.  After the technicians had gathered their things and left (and I THANKED them, what the hell is wrong with me?), Carolyn looked at me and said “Wow, facials really agree with you; you look fantastic!  You look like you’re wearing makeup!”  (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: If a man says this to another man, a throat punch is justified.  Several, in fact.  However, in woman world this is considered a compliment.)  She was extremely happy with the outcome for both of us, so again, I was happy. If all I have to do to give my girl some joy is endure an hour of searing, inhuman pain, I can do that.  Although, if I ever see that woman on the street, I’ll have some words for her. After I check to see she doesn’t have her tweezers, of course.  
After another hot tub break, we ordered lunch, and it was top shelf.  I had a steak salad and some lobster bisque, Carolyn ordered a panini the size of Rhode Island, and we split some sushi and a fruit & nut plate.  Every single item was delicious.  Again, kudos to Aria for an absolutely magnificent spa suite experience, and I’m not just saying that in the hopes that they’ll send me some free certificates or anything to the address they can easily get by emailing me at steve@starspangledcomedy.com or finding me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stephenthomascomic.  Not at all.
The remainder of Spa Day consisted of several hot tub “treatments,” wherein different salts, herbs, and for all I know pastas were dumped into the water and we sat in it.  It smelled good, I guess, and my wife thoroughly enjoyed it, so you know what? I enjoyed it too.  The last hour in the suite was ours to do with what we wished, so we sat in the hot tub for awhile.  I did learn something about hot tubs: as much as guys like to joke about sitting near the jets for certain adolescent reasons, the bigger tubs have jets too powerful for your manstuff to be directly in front of, if you take my meaning.  Lesson learned, we stayed in the hot tub until we got a little dizzy, then moved to the couch.  She put on her robe, and I sat there in my altogether.  Hey, I had an opportunity to be naked in public, I was not going to pass it up.  After a bit, Carolyn asked if I wanted to turn the TV to ESPN.  Years of marriage alerted me that this was a trap.  “No baby, this is your weekend,” was my reply.  Seriously?  She thought I’d fall for that one?  What am I, a rookie? (*NOTE FOR GUYS*: It wasn’t during the playoffs of any major sporting season, so it’s not like I missed anything.  Timing, baybee.)  I got a smile out of her for that one.  NOW ... This is the point where if it was MY spa experience, there would have been sex.  You know, as a reward.  (Of course, if it was MY choice to go to a spa, I’d have rock hard abs, Carolyn would have actually been a man named Karl or something, and I’d be living an entirely different lifestyle.  I’d also probably be a better dresser, and more successful in Hollywood, but I digress.)  There was none.  After all, it was her weekend, and she deserved seventy two hours of not being pawed at; so even though I had spent an entire day nude in a room surrounded by various women, I parked the car.  I love my wife so much, I will not have sex with her.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.  
As we were gathering our things, Carolyn asked if I enjoyed the experience.  I said yes, and I meant it.  I got to spend the day with the woman I adore, doing something that makes her wildly happy - that’s the definition of a good day for me.  She asked if I thought she looked better after all of the treatments.  Now, I think my wife is beautiful no matter what, but I told her that she did look great, anyway. (*NOTE FOR GUYS*:  Notice I said she looked “great,” not “better.”  Again, what am I, a rookie?)  She was absolutely thrilled with how she looked and felt, so when we got all dolled up and went out that evening, she radiated that confident beauty around the room, and I only had eyes for her. (My eyes having cooled and resumed functioning shortly before dinner)  
Let me say this to the guys out there: if you have the opportunity to give a weekend in Couples Vegas to your woman, do it.  She’ll appreciate it more than you can possibly imagine.  You’ll also have more fun than you think.  The Dallas businessmen and the Cologne Boys may try to take away your Vegas man card, but just remind them: Eight hours naked, a dozen women in and out of the room.  That’s right, I am One Serious Bastard.  I think.

For the two previous Las Vegas Trilogy articles, click HERE for "25 year Old Vegas" and HERE for "Forty Plus Vegas."
As always, friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stephenthomascomic, or visit my website at http://www.starspangledcomedy.com.