Las Vegas brings back sexy: From Playboy to Hooters to shows that shock Grandma
LAS VEGAS -- There are dilemmas and then there are pure Sin City conundrums.
A dilemma is whether you should stay home to watch "Lost" or join the crew at T.G.I. Fridays. A Las Vegas conundrum goes something like this: The topless pool, the show with the Broadway production values, serious critical reviews and all nude women and then the Playboy Club or the bar with the model types in super short kilts, the $150 show with the sexy Cirque du Soleil acrobats in the see-through garb and then amateur female mud wrestling?
And that's just a Tuesday night.
Yes, sexy is back in Las Vegas. Of course since Justin Timberlake came up with that catchy song title, you've probably heard that sexy is back everywhere. There are lawnmower salesmen trying to convince customers that the sexy is back in cutting your lawn.
The difference with Vegas, is it's true. This city went through that nearly disastrous, almost Disney-style PR campaign to attract families in the mid 1990s (one that tourism officials now refuse to even acknowledge). And there are still plenty of strollers rolling down the large sidewalks of The Strip, to be honest. But there's also a renewed sense of adult fun.
This movement has nothing to do with the guys handing out flyers for strippers eager to put on a private show in your hotel room. This sexy is largely much more sophisticated (though Hooters is a big player) and definitely more mainstream accepted. Celebrities like George Clooney, Prince and Paris Hilton are all happy to be linked with it.
This is no Hugh Grant-Divine Brown situation. This Las Vegas sexiness cannot be spelled without the big "B" of business. If the devil's sitting on your shoulder, he's doing it with a state-of-the-art credit card machine and full corporate endorsement.
There is a virtual arms race to bring sexy back going on in Las Vegas right now. Correction: a virtual chest race.
Hugh Hefner has come in, smoking jacket blazing, opening up the first Playboy Club in 20 years anywhere on top of the already hard-partying Palms Casino. Playboy Bunnies bounce around in those iconic bunny ears and you pay a cover charge to get into what's essentially a high-limit gambling lounge with extra quality skin and an exclusive atmosphere.
Hef's competing with Hooters - which beat Playboy to the punch - with an entire casino filled with Hooters girls.
The concept doesn't need much more explaining than that.
The surprise may be that Las Vegas' new sexy emphasis is creeping into the high brow as well. Many of the Broadway-style shows in the mega casinos' mega theaters are going risqué like never before.
The Luxor has a theater show called "Fantasy" in which eight beautiful women in lingerie act out popular fantasies - such as a hookup with a mysterious secret agent or a cowboy in a barn. It's all set to a dance beat and choreographed by Chris Judd, the former Mr. J-Lo (no joke).
The Rivera's "Crazy Girls" is a cabaret — you know what your parents used to see in Vegas — that breaks into full nudity. It's all supposed to be very sophisticated and tasteful of course.
One of the most telling anecdotal signs that Las Vegas debauchery is back may be the Mormons who say that they're going to Mesquite, Nev. for their golf getaways now because things are getting too crazy in Sin City again. Not that there's anything wrong with Mesquite, Mormons or a little restraint.
They're just not a Playboy Bunny's scene.
As Paris Hilton might say, "Well, duh!"
So, what does all this sexiness mean to your Las Vegas golf game?
"You're going to be rushing to make a few of those tee times," Chicago area golfer Ken Connolly said, laughing. "I can pretty much guarantee you that. The nights in Vegas go later then you've planned. Something's going to come up."
It might just be a Hooters Girl who decides to sit in your lap.
One local golf pro told me he's certain Vegas leads the nation in rounds played with a hangover. Of course with all this skin around, many visitors hope they have more than a few drinks to shake off in the morning.
You're still not likely to get that type of thing on a Las Vegas golf course. The cart girls at the $500-round tracks like Cascata may be able to occasionally give a Playboy Bunny a run for her ears. But Sin City golf isn't outwardly pushing sexiness as a sales pitch yet.
Then again, give it some time. It's Las Vegas. Sexy is back. Golf is sure to follow along.
October 30, 2006