Yes, the title is ironic.
This was sort of a Dating Disaster, but seeing as there was no actual dating involved, it doesn’t quite seem right to label it as such.
Many years ago, I went on a press trip for a game launch in Las Vegas. There was the usual bunch of British journos, and a large contingent of American writers. We flew to Vegas and arrived at around 4pm. We then decided that the best thing we could do would be to get absolutely fucking shit-faced, to keep us awake. Fortunately, the game company had organised a series of events that would help facilitate exactly that.
The first thing on their agenda was taking us all to a live kareoke event, where people could sing kareoke with a live band backing them. I vaguely remember a guy from Wired belting out a particularly impressive Metallica cover.
Anyway, within a half an hour I’d managed to get talking to a girl who was pretty much the only female games journalist there. She was American, and she pretty much blew my mind in the space of about thirty minutes. She was quite short, had bright red hair, and was one of the quickest, most sarcastic girls I’d ever met. Conversation with her was like holding onto an out of control freight train, belting down the tracks at 100 miles an hour as I tried to keep up with her jokes, asides and vaguely flirtatious remarks. It was proper Howard Hawks-style His Girl Friday banter, and every line I came up with, she managed to top it effortlessly.
She got all my references, all my jokes, and it was totally exhilarating. Of course the crazed lack of sleep, and massive amounts of booze probably heightened things, but still, I was kind of in awe. Then, there was a moment. The music seemed to stop, we were just staring into each others eyes, and I suddenly realised that this was the golden moment. She slowly leaned in for a kiss, and I did too. This was it I thought - I’ve finally met someone who gets me on every level, that can not only keep up, but that makes me work hard in return. And then, just before our lips touched, she suddenly pulled back and screeched “Aww - you were totally going to kiss me then!”
I reeled back, stunned, and at that precise moment, the announcer called her name. She walked away from me, and I stared as she climbed up on stage and performed a note perfect version of ‘Call Me’ by Blondie.
I was hopelessly besotted.
Unfortunately, the night took a bit of a turn at that point, and suddenly it was my turn to act like a dickhead. Although I don’t think she was similarly impressed. After downing enough vodka to drown a Russian, the guys from the games company had decided that we were going to take the party to the next level, and told us that we were all taking limos to a big Vegas strip club. The Girl was going, so I followed in a puppy dog-like fashion. I got into the limo behind hers, and some young, drunk, American journo jumped in beside me. I introduced myself, and so did he. “Oh hi, I’m [INSERT NAME HERE]. I write for [INSERT NAME OF NOTORIOUSLY HACKY US GAMING WEBSITE HERE].” Now you have to remember, I was pretty jetlagged/drunk at this point, and so I hollered “[INSERT NAME OF NOTORIOUSLY HACKY US GAMING WEBSITE HERE]?! You guys SUCK!”, which I thought was hilarious. He, unfortunately, did not think it was hilarious, and burst into tears on the spot, asking himself between sobs why people kept saying that.
Unfortunately, this drunken joshing backfired horribly, as when we got to the strip club, it turned out The Girl was one of his buddies, and she spent the next hour consoling him in the corner. Realising that she was pretty much a lost cause, I turned my attention to the room. It was the first time I’d ever been to a strip club, and being Vegas, it was a clusterfuck of dry ice, lasers and tits. “So what’s the deal here?” I asked one of the dudes from the game company. “We’ll pay for your first dance,” he said, not taking his eyes off the silicon valleys that were parading themselves in front of him.
A few seconds later, a girl walked up wearing a stars and stripes bikini. She wasn’t particularly attractive, but I was drunk and feeling a bit sorry for myself, so when she asked if I wanted to go for a dance, I said yes. She said “Oh shall we go over there, it’s a bit quieter?”, and as I was starting to sober up a bit, and feel a bit self-concious, I agreed. We went upstairs to a room, where she started gyrating. It was not very sexy, and I was starting to feel a bit queasy. “Do you want a drink? Maybe something to eat?” I think I somehow managed to order a Gin and Tonic, which came promptly, accompanied by a cheese board. I cant remember what the dancer looked like, but for some reason I remember every inch of that cheese board, its wooden curves, the rather sad looking biscuits, and the limp looking bit of Monterey Jack that was sweating it out under the bright lights. Bafflingly, there was a strawberry on there too.
Realising that I wasn’t particularly bothered, the girl stopped dancing, and someone came over with the bill. It was $900. I pretty much instantly freaked out. I was only earning about $700 for the article I was meant to be writing, and that was meant to be covering my rent. I was broke as balls at the time, and didn’t know what the hell I was going to do. The cheese platter alone was $550. I started trying to explain that I didn’t have that kind of money. Within a few moments, there was suddenly an extremely large Russian Bouncer standing beside us. He had a ponytail - he looked like he’d just stepped off the set of an 80’s action movie, in which he’d be credited as ‘Bodyguard #3’. I tried to explain the situation. “Perhaps you haff credit card?” He suggested, letting his jacket fall open to reveal a big fucking gun in a holster. I don’t know what sort of gun it was, but it was really fucking big. “Not with me!” I said, panicking. At this point, the stripper started screaming “Just pay, it’s better if you pay!” The Russian pulled the gun from his holster. “Perhaps you could check your pockets?” Realising that it was a lost cause, I pulled out my wallet, and the Russian put his gun back in it’s holster, and put my card through one of those big chunky zip-zap machines that create a copy of your card. As I signed the carbon my hands were shaking. “Thank you very much” said the Russian.
My face as white as a sheet, and my legs almost totally gone from under me, I somehow made it back down the stairs to where the rest of the group were sat. I saw The Girl leave with the IGN dude, shooting me a dirty look as she left. The games company dude slapped me on the shoulder. “How was that?” he yelled. “Here, this is for the dance!” and he handed me a crisp $20 note.
I think the point of all this is really that, no matter how sexy I find them, I probably shouldn’t be allowed near funny dickhead women. Or, probably, any women. And that you’ll probably get tucked up if you go to a Vegas Strip Club when drunk off your face.