[2009 Nightlife Issue]

Ladies getting away with murder!

Team Hangover’s Jack Colton has a bone to pick with you, Vegas …

Illustration: Dan Sipple

In a country whose very foundation demands equality and fairness for all, it is ironic that most people have no problem whatsoever with the lopsided way that local women rule the Vegas nightlife roost. And we men are expected to, and do, willingly pay for everything!

Before anyone starts writing heated letters to the editor, we understand that women put up with a lot. Wearing those high heels alone could justify a free cocktail, and dealing with an endless stream of awful pickup lines and ass-grabbing would be enough to make anyone consider just staying at home.

But imagine the public outrage if women suddenly had their own lane on I-15 that would get them to their destination faster, or if men were the only ones expected to pay for gas at the pump, or if groups of eight or more ladies all of a sudden started getting comped mortgages for the month of October. “Pfft! I’m not paying for these pants. I’m a local!”

In terms of the Vegas nightlife scene, this is pretty much already the case: separate lines, no cover charges, free drinks, dinners and even the occasional free surgical enhancement. We are separate and not equal, and this is most commonly chalked up to, “Hey, that’s just Vegas!”

Its okay, I’m pretty

The sexual disparity is not limited to the consumer’s experience, either. Anytime a new club opens and the hiring frenzy begins, the same unbalanced standards are applied to applicants for bartending positions. Guys had better be very well-connected and extremely good-looking, and have an impressive bartending resume to stand a chance of actually getting hired. Even so, if hired, they will probably still get stuck with a second-tier schedule.

Ladies, on the other hand, get on-the-job training if their bartending skills are not up to snuff, just as long as they are good-looking and willing to squeeze into a sexy uniform. And while there can be little argument over whom you would rather have as a cocktail server, and no argument whatsoever over who looks better in a corset, have you ever ordered a Long Island Iced Tea from a new and barely trained female bartender? Finishing the drink could easily be an elimination challenge on a reality television show.

It is obvious that the law of attraction and the customer will always dictate what any successful Las Vegas operator must offer at his or her venue. But one must question if the sexually infused race to have the most women drinking for free in a club, eating at no charge at a restaurant and laughing at even the thought of waiting more than two minutes at a rope hasn’t created an unnecessary monster that may never again be tamed? An “I’m-a-local-lady-rex”?

Are we to believe that Las Vegas nightclubs would be 100 percent populated by males if they didn’t institute these aggressive promotions to physically bring in local girls, or is the battle of the mini-skirt more easily equated to that of the Las Vegas gentlemen’s clubs paying taxi-cab drivers ridiculous per-person fees to deliver customers that probably would have come in regardless?

Our modern nightclub “girl wars” evolved long ago, along with the growth of Vegas nightlife itself, but Kalika Moquin, a marketing manager for Light Group, likens what led to our current state-of-affairs to insurance. “A guy goes out with one intention and really one intention only: to meet girls. And if the club doesn’t have any, it’s a pretty sure bet [he] won’t be coming back.”

But I thought girls just wanted to have fun?

Sure, we can all agree on the obvious need for clubs to fill their rooms with a good girl-to-guy ratio in order to stay successful, but is there a club in existence to which girls will willingly show up without being comped and bribed?

The prosecution would like to introduce into the argument Exhibit A: Canada. A quick trip to Vancouver will bring you into a world of nightlife where everyone waits in line, everyone pays, nearly everyone is stylishly dressed and the girl-to-guy ratio still manages to stay in the magical 1:1 range.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or who you know,” explains area nightlife guide Matt Coolen, “everything in Vancouver is run by event promoters who take a comped cover or free drink as money being taken directly out of their pocket.”

But there are two crucial differences between Vancouver and Las Vegas—Vancouver isn’t nearly the nightlife destination for tourists that Vegas is, and bottle service has only recently come into play there. So the rules are different! And while Canadians may still believe that women’s money is just as good as men’s, our tourist-driven market has long subscribed to the notion that simply having more girls will bring in far more money from the guys.

So Vegas lets the girls have whatever it takes to bring them in.

Thank you for gracing us with your presence

One inevitable side effect for the girls who are constantly the object of everyone’s affection—at least so it seems to this male nightlife writer—is simply losing perspective, or becoming jaded to all of the lavish things being thrown their way.

Dan Yllanes, a marketing manager for Tao and Lavo who specializes in escorting between 30 and 50 girls into the clubs each night, has keenly observed the local-girl mentality and what happens to the liquor bottles once his large groups of ladies descend upon them. “They will stay at our tables just long enough to kill what bottles we have available,” says Yllanes, “move to someone else’s table for some free drinks until those run dry, too, and then will eventually get bored and go to another club to do the same.” The similarity to Alfred Hitchcock’s famed horror movie The Birds is striking.

Men, we made our beds

It’s a business decision, and it all comes down to a simple formula: The girls bring the men who are willing pay for whatever it takes to impress them. A club filled with girls also helps to increase the number of bottles ordered by customers, keeps male customers coming back and ultimately makes for a better party.

But what keeps the local girls coming back once they’ve gotten bored of all the free perks? Why do they go out? Moquin says simply, “Girls go out as an excuse to get dressed up, dance, drink for free, hang out with their other girlfriends, stage a run-in to make an ex jealous and yes, maybe meet a guy. But [hooking up] is way lower on our priority list than [it is to] the opposite sex.”

So guys, there you have it. The next time you are tempted to complain about the girls whisking past you in line without paying cover, consider for a moment how we as a gender have made our own bed by caring more about getting laid than the women appear to.

Of course, that probably depends more on the girl, but we’ll reserve that discussion for another time.


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