When thinking of Las Vegas, boobs, lucite heels, shots of tequila, and hangovers come to mind. There is also the memory of a conversation about hair between me and my friend, Chloe, during our first trip to Sin City.
“The lack of humidity makes my hair look great,” she said. I nodded in agreement as my curls were also extra controlled and frizz free.
“I think I may move here,” Chloe stated sarcastically.
Leaving New York City for Las Vegas was something she had never considered before. And though I knew she was joking we chatted about what life in Las Vegas would be like.
“Fake boobs!” I shouted.
“Stripper friends,” Chloe added.
“A shittier love life than the one I currently have in New York City,” I concluded.
Chloe agreed. In a city that celebrates partying till you drop (or drop it like it’s hot), and where most men are on vacation and looking for a good time, Las Vegas doesn’t feel love-friendly. What would be the likelihood that I’d meet a resident of Las Vegas who didn’t have an addiction to women and booze? Or date a non-stripper with small bosoms? Or wine and dine me and open doors?
Slim to none.
Hence, my uncharacteristic indifference toward meeting Paco, a resident from Las Vegas whom my sister, Adriana, insisted I meet during my last trip to Vegas, where I attended the Latina Lifestyle Collectives Conference. Yes, Paco was cute (my sister showed me his photo on Facebook). Yes, my sister hyped up Paco (“He’s sooo niiiiiice!” – Adriana) like he’d win me over like Cristian Bale (my celebrity obsession). Still, I walked outside of the Tropicana Hotel with female friend and escort in arm (the bloggers thought I’d be kidnapped; it is Las Vegas) thinking, “This is a non-date.”
When Paco approached, my friend, Ani, loosened her grip and whispered, “He’s cute!” I nodded, seemingly unaffected, though I felt a surge of mingled hope and calm. I shrugged it off to spending three days with blog talk, brand talk, and too much estrogen.
“This is a non-date,” I reminded myself, replying to Ani’s girlish excitement.
Shortly after, Ani returned to the Tropicana and Paco and I walked side by side toward the MGM. I was pleasantly surprised when he opened the door. When we arrived at Diego Restaurant, he opened the door once again and asked for a table for two. At our table, Paco stood by the chair I had mentally designated for myself. I guess he wants to sit there, I thought. As I inched myself toward the other seat, he pulled out my chair so I could sit down.
I was stunned. I thought these gentleman acts only existed in movies and 18th century novels. Paco didn’t seem to notice my confusion. And I began to take notice of him.
He has a great laugh. And we laughed a lot. He has dimples and, when he smiles, his eyes crinkle. His wit and sarcasm seemed to match my own, and though I am much more energetic in nature, Paco wasn’t intimidated. We spent three hours together at Diego Restaurant and I enjoyed my time immensely. Paco was cute and “sooo niiiiiice,” just like Adriana claimed. He was thoughtful enough to take me to a Latino restaurant where salsa played in the background. He even opened the passenger door of his car and drove me to a club where I’d meet my blogger friends from the conference.
How we left it off was as nonchalant as how this non-date turned date began. “We’ll hang out when I come to New York,” Paco said. I hoped it to be true.
Then, my gentleman from Sin City drove off into the strip. I found my girlfriends at the club and enjoyed myself, but kept thinking of him. As I danced the night away with new friends, I ignored the advances of drunken men. I tried not to trip on the lucite heels that surrounded me, if only to avoid being buried by enormous fake breasts. I thought about the gentleman in Sin City and hoped for another open door.