Ah, the Las Vegas Strip.
You’d think I hate Las Vegas based on my aversion to greed, mass consumption, and gaudiness – but on the contrary, I sort of love it. While the Strip is built on gambling addictions, cheesy simulacrum, and mass amounts of waste (from water fountains to water bottles), there’s a freeness in the four mile stretch of indulgence and exhibitionism that I appreciate and almost relish in.
American culture is so go-go-go, earn-earn-earn, that sometimes we collectively lose sight of ourselves. What I believe to be inherently American is this guilt I feel whenever I have the chance to relax. I may have been over worked and exhausted for weeks, but the moment I get to take a break I think of my desire for rest or fun as a flaw. But everyone else is constantly working hard, so why am I tired? Why do I deserve to go do this cool thing? What’s my issue?
Two weeks ago (just one week before the inauguration) I spent two nights in Las Vegas with my boyfriend, celebrating our seven-year anniversary. Wow, we’re getting old! But beyond commemorating our time together, I felt like this trip was the chance for the two of us to truly cut loose – something we desperately needed in the wake of the Trump-era.
So here’s my very basic theory about the Las Vegas Strip…
While people visit from all across the world, Vegas is mostly designed for Americans to deal with inherently American issues. Our culture is so stifling (work hard, make money, do it yourself, be proud, be strong, be this, do that) that a place like the strip almost needs to exist. A culture like ours requires a place to escape to and let go. We need a space where some of our most visible laws (no gambling or public drinking, restrictions on smoking) are not only demolished, but their inexistence is wholly embraced. On the strip you can essentially do whatever you want – to a point of course. And while this freedom leads many to go completely overboard, the opportunity to escape the restrictions of American laws, American culture, and American life are worth celebrating. Even the abundance of street performers and shows play into this necessary escapism.
I needed those two days on the Las Vegas Strip. Yeah, I spent more money than I should have, drank more than I could handle, and didn’t get enough sleep…but was it worth it? Absolutely. While that goddamn gaudy gold Trump Tower shined off in the distance (and every time I saw it I felt like I was in a dystopian future), I was able to somewhat escape the reality that had been causing me stress for an entire year, but particularly the past few months. Donald Trump was about to be inaugurated, and my heart and soul needed a break. I needed the Last Vegas Strip.
PS: If you get the chance to see Britney Spears in Vegas, do it!!!