cleaning out my closet

Mark my words — if I don’t stop myself while I’m ahead, I will end up on Hoarders in 30 years’ time. The contents of my closet include the following:

  • a tap costume wrapped in three plastic bags to prevent it from vomiting glitter all over my closet (all of Nevada Ballet was covered in glitter for weeks after three of us wore this costume for recital one year. I hate to think what would have happened if they had dressed the entire Youth Company in glittery tutus for Giselle… we would have had to convert the building into a new branch of the Liberace Museum)
  • every note I ever received between the ages of 12-15, a period during which we passed a veritable crapton of notes. I can probably toss the vast majority of these because I don’t think there’s any reason to remember the kinds of horrible fights we used to carry out and resolve through notes when we were 13… but my sentiment won’t let me throw out all the notes the boy from freshman year Geometry wrote me. Hello, I need proof that I once seduced someone ENTIRELY THROUGH THE POWER OF MY HANDWRITING.
  • all of the plastic flowers I got backstage during four years of dance concerts at my high school. Which was a lot, because obviously I was really popular. Actually, no, my parents just always got them for me and there were three shows a year.
  • the kicker: the movie ticket from my first date. In an envelope marked “This is the movie ticket from my first date.”

I’ll save a lot of what I found in my closet. Most importantly, I’ll save the years and years’ worth of diaries and journals that I’ve kept somewhat consistently since seventh or eighth grade. Looking back through my older journals is a TRIP. First off, I have long suspected that I was a certifiable nutball when I was younger and to read what I wrote back then… yes. I was cray. I feel really bad for all those poor preteen boys I had TERRIFYINGLY INTENSE CRUSHES on because they probably had to shell out for some serious protection after all the fear-for-their-lives I instilled in them. Really, in retrospect, my drunk-texting habit doesn’t seem so bad. Judging by the path I was on in those days, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t turned into that lady who wore diapers so she could drive to her stalk her ex without having to stop to pee.

All that aside, I’ve always loved diving back into my old journals to see what psychological meltdowns I’ve gotten over since any given day. It’s one of my favorite activities, and I unearthed some long-lost GEMS in my older journals. (Most notable: the list of “Reasons Why I Should Not Like T_____,” circa 2002. Best reason: “He called me ‘spawn of evil.’”) Before I box up my journals, I want to make a list of the best journal entries of the past 15 or so years, because there are some doozies in there.

But after that? I’m boxing them up. I’m packing them away, sending them to Spokane to the new house, and not looking at them until I get older. They lose their magic when you’ve read them too many times, which is what’s happened with my college journals. I know them cover to cover and I want to forget them again so I can continue to live my life with the clueless, unjaded abandon that has led me on so many adventures. I don’t need to remind myself what it was like to be 18 and miserable, 19 and crazy, 20 and floundering, 21 and sick. I’m 22 and happy and healthy (well, getting there) and fabulous and going confidently in the direction of my dreams. I lived through all that shit already and I don’t need to do it again.

But before then… stay tuned, for you, too, may learn the reasons why I should not like T_____, circa 2002.

only nerds like assigned seating

Today is the first day of classes at Vassar. I do feel a little strange and sentimental about it, but if we’re being honest, has the first day of school ever really been fun? Personally, I spent my first days of school every year in a constant state of anxiety and, um, having absolutely no idea where anything was even at schools I had attended for three years. (Fact: my senior year of high school, I had to ask the counselor where the lockers were. She asked if I was a freshman. When I told her no, I was a senior, she looked at me like she was confused that I hadn’t just gotten off the short bus.)

When I was in middle school, the big anxiety was What Team You Were On (I can’t remember if we said “on” or “in.” Hmm). No, we weren’t debating the finer points of tops and bottoms just yet; each grade at my middle school was divided into four “teams” with whom you shared all of your “core classes.” So woe betide you if you weren’t on the cool team, or the team with all of your friends, or if you just ended up on a team with all the weirdos who still wore jean jackets and light-up shoes. You were on 7-3? Oooh, all the bitchy dance team girls are on that team. Have fun! Or worse — you’re on 7-2? Umm, NOBODY is on 7-2. You’re gonna be so bored. You’re on 8-1 and your best friend is on 8-3, but your crush is on 8-3 and if you get in a fight with your best friend, she can totally talk smack about you to your crush during science and you can’t do anything about it because you’re stuck in the 8-1 hall with that weird guy with frosted tips poking you in the back for the entire 50 minutes of algebra.

Middle school: shit was rough, and never rougher than the days when you learned who you were doomed to spend your year with.

High school was a little better, at least in the rainbow unicorn puppy bubble that was my performing arts high school where we all loved each other and only got bitchy when casting for shows went up or dance class placements for the next year were assigned. But the first day of school was invariably a sweaty, awful day where you tramped around our ginormous campus in the 110-degree Las Vegas heat from one class to another, cursing the gods who put seemingly the entire sophomore theatre class in sixth period chem with you because you were surely going to have to spend the entire freakin’ year listening to a bunch of idiots singing showtunes. I breathed a sigh of relief when the first day passed, block scheduling happened and we only had to go to four classes a day and the teachers all realized that they had to separate the theatre majors before all hell broke loose, never to be contained again.

Then came college. Not just one but TWO first-days-of-classes every year, and so many buildings whose abbreviations on your course schedule make no sense, and you’re STILL sweaty and running around and discovering your third year in that “OB” does not, in fact, stand for “Olmsted Building” (if only I had taken that as a sign NOT to take the Faulkner seminar).

So once you’ve located the classroom in question, you now have the unenviable pleasure of finding out Who Is In Your Class. And the further you get into college, the more fraught with disaster a class list can be. Will you be forced into a ten-person seminar in a dimly lit room with hipsters whose reluctance to speak in class will force you into a semester-long talking binge because you can’t handle silence in an academic setting? Or will that guy who had an academically-induced crush on last semester join you for another four months to learn even more about Walt Whitman’s weird sexual metaphors? And… wait… if he’s there, can you sit next to him? Is that socially acceptable? Should you even sit directly next to someone in a class that isn’t full, anyway? Should you leave a space? Is this like the urinal? What if you don’t leave a space and then EVERYONE ELSE DOES? Do you move? GODDAMMIT, PROFESSORS, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST ASSIGN US SEATS?!

I don’t miss the first day of school, kids. I don’t miss the aimless wandering around campuses that I should have long known by heart, burdened by my tragically poor sense of direction. I don’t miss worrying that my best friend is going to use her yearlong position on team 8-3 with my supercrush to steal him away from me. I don’t miss waiting anxiously to find out whether the professor will sign me into an overfull class or angsting about the fact that I’m sitting across from someone whose roommate I totally hooked up with last year and he absolutely thinks I’m a crazy skank. (That actually never happened, believe it or not, but it totally could have.)

All this said, be it known that I did have to wander the UNLV campus tonight trying to find the building where we were learning music for Sweeney. I guess I’m not out of the lost-on-campus woods just yet.

a very potter history

We recent graduates of the Class of 2011 are the Potter generation: the series bookended our young adulthood and after growing up with it for ten years, we took it to college with us, throwing Potter-themed parties, reading the books for comfort when we were angsty over collegey things, and decorating our houses with cardboard cutouts of the characters. (Okay, that last one might just have been SoCo 3, but we are obviously trendsetters.) Though I hate the movies like any good Potter fan should, I’ll be dragging my tired-grandma butt to the midnight premiere on Thursday, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to analyze where exactly we were in the course of our young lives when each book was released. And I guess the movies too. Even though they’re stupid.

1997: First book released. I read a review in Newsweek that compared JKR to Roald Dahl and immediately dismissed it as a ripoff. (Yes, I read Newsweek when I was eight. Why do you think I didn’t have any friends?)

1999: I’m gonna say this is when I started reading them. I caved in and ordered Sorcerer’s Stone from the Scholastic book order — remember book orders? Highlight of elementary school. Second only to that most glorious of events, the book fair — and read the whole thing in one sitting. Then I made my mom buy me Chamber of Secrets, which I also read in one sitting.

Christmas 1999: Prisoner of Azkaban is in my Christmas stocking. SANTA WIN. I am ten years old and have a couple friends. I make my grandma, who used to work in publishing, read Harry Potter. She likes it. (For real. Patrice Witherspoon Cass was not the type of woman to lie about her opinion on a book to make her grandchild feel better. This is the woman who had strict rules for playing Scrabble with her grandkids — when we got to high school age, we lost “dictionary privileges.” Casses are hardcore when it comes to the literary world.)

July 8, 2000: Goblet of Fire is released. The night before, my fifth grade class had stayed overnight at school for “Midnight Madness,” an event that I still can’t quite believe a teacher would willingly commit themselves to hosting, but it was SUPAFUN. We all stayed up all night and ran around the school and dipped our hands in tempera paint and made T-shirts with the whole class’s handprints and signatures. (I still have mine.) I got home at about seven in the morning and slept for two hours, then when I woke up, the book was in a box on my doorstep. I read the whole thing that day, much of it at my dad’s office, where I used to go on weekends. I would bring a book and read or draw on my dad’s boxes and boxes of green scratch paper, and he would buy me a Dr. Pepper out of the vending machine. I imagine I had a satisfying night’s sleep after that.

2001: I have a vague memory of reading Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the fitting room of Macy’s while my mom tried on bras. Later this year, the first movie is released. Little do I know that some years later, an embarrassing number of LVA students will go through the Quidditch scene frame by frame trying to find our new classmate Julianne Hough clapping when Harry scores. (True story. And yes, I totally did it too.)

2002: The second movie is released, but we probably shouldn’t talk about it because it’s an insult not only to JKR but to the entire filmmaking industry in general. Actually, probably the whole storytelling industry. And children. 2002 is about prime-time for my active Harry Potter fangirling on the Internet. Like, I posted on message boards. I was SUPER INTO IT. In my defense, I never participated in role-playing games. I had SOME standards. But like, at this point in my life, I was kind of more comfortable with my “Internet friends” than my real friends. I continue to maintain that middle school should take place in isolation because NOBODY IS NICE WHEN THEY’RE TWELVE. I never really made that connection before… we now pause while I psychoanalyze the possibility that I spent all my spare time online in middle school because strangers from Australia who also thought Harry should totally get with Ginny were preferable to the real-life company of, you know, bitches. (Not that I wasn’t one. I totally was.)

2003: Order of the Phoenix is released! This was the first midnight release party I attended. I want to say I was at the Borders on Charleston with Lauren — does that sound right? I remember waiting in line around the stationery area and reading all the greeting cards. I didn’t go straight home and read the book; I slept instead and read it all the next day. This is probably my least favorite book and I can explain it in the terms that we Harry Potter Internet freaks used to use: it was the book of Angsty!Harry. Like, I get it, life’s rough when errybody in the club thinks you’re full of shit, but can we please move on? I just got frustrated all the time. Although, in its defense, the “Mistletoe.” “It’s probably full of Nargles” exchange is probably the greatest intro to a first kiss in all of literature.

2004: Prisoner of Azkaban movie. I liked this one because it was confusing for all the fake fans who had never read the books.

2005: Half-Blood Prince! This was the summer that we were slowly starting to get our driver’s licenses. I had my first job working at Tropical Smoothie with Taylor, where I would often see the very kids that made fun of me in middle school, and it made me feel great to watch them process the fact that the bespectacled midget had “swanned.” I went to the release party with Vinny and Jessica, who had just gotten her driver’s license and freaked out because she ran into the gate on her way into the neighborhood. We saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and went to the Barnes and Noble across the street from where I work now and spent the whole waiting period making fun of all the freaks in their costumes. It’s funny to think that this was the second-to-last book and 2007 seemed so distant at that point. The only college I imagined myself at was NYU and I rarely thought past the next day.

2005 was the year that I started to feel like the things I wanted were within my reach. I went on my first date, I was in an LVA show with all the theatre majors, I got moved up to 2B, I got my first job, I got my driver’s license, I got called back for a lead in the next musical, I went to Sun Youth Forum and, for the first time, had someone pay attention to me because I was a smart panda. It was all in the present but I was starting to feel like a force of nature.

The Goblet of Fire movie also came out in 2005. I don’t remember seeing this one. I know I saw it in theatres… maybe on Christmas with the fam or something?

2007: Order of the Phoenix movie comes out. I go to the midnight showing with Lexie and Jessica and maybe Gwen, I don’t quite remember, and I get a stomachache and am thoroughly disillusioned with the whole film franchise.

I graduate from high school and star in a musical and then the seventh book comes out. It is obviously awesome and I am one of the six people on the planet who love the cheesy epilogue, because I’m a sucker for cheesy epilogues and I like to imagine that my own life will turn out that way. A couple months later, I go to college and discover that contrary to popular belief, we have NOT put away childish things.

2010: Michaela and Amanda throw a Harry Potter party for their birthdays and my house prepares by dressing up and taking pictures with our Harry Potter cardboard cutout. Because we have that. We are 21 years old. Harry Potter has given us the gift of eternal youth.

Conclusion: I’ve grown a good eight inches since this book came out. My bangs haven’t changed much, though. Oh, yeah, and I have a degree in English and am fully qualified to analyze this book series through whatever critical lens I so desire. I won’t, though.

But believe you me, I will still hate this last movie. Even if Neville got hot. (Google him. Seriously.)

vassar boys (a heteronormative guide for lovers)

tl;dr version: if you’re looking for your MRS degree, you’ve chosen the wrong school. Vandy takes transfers, I’m sure!

When I started at Vassar, my knowledge of college dating was based entirely on my sister’s experience at Georgetown. Britt started dating her boyfriend approximately five seconds into her freshman year in 2003. In March of this year, she and Matt celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

Fun fact: This did not happen to me at Vassar. Funner fact: This does not happen to ANYBODY IN THE CLUB at Vassar (Devon and Sabrina, may you be the exception). Vassar, on the whole, is no breeding ground for lasting relationships. It’s more a breeding ground for angst. And probably the herp.

Arm yourselves with these tidbits of knowledge of the Vassar dating scene:

1. Vassar Freshman Boy Syndrome: VFBS is a catch-all term for the propensity of Vassar freshman boys to want to sleep with anything on two legs and then never talk to them again. VFBS is neither limited solely to freshman boys, nor is it typical of all of them; I just had a limited scope when I was an angsty lovesick freshie and that’s what I termed it. VFBS is pretty standard practice in the real world, but what makes it kind of hilarious and tragic at Vassar is that in the real world, you can actually hit it and quit it without too much drama. But Vassar is kind of a tiny little place. You are bound to run into your hittee at one point or another, whether you’re in the same English seminar a couple years down the line or you always get Pesto Chicken Ciabattas at the same time on Tuesdays at the Retreat and HELLO IT’S SO AWKWARD DO YOU SAY HI OR DO YOU JUST LOOK REALLY BUSY WITH YOUR IPOD?!

Just be forewarned: the Vassar Freshman Boy (whether or not he is a Freshman Boy. Or even a he) does not want to be your boyf. He may or may not want your phone number. Do not drunk-text the Vassar Freshman Boy. (This is a very important piece of advice. Take it to heart. I’m serious. You’ll remember this when you drunk-text — drext — the Vassar Freshman Boy and he acts like you’re cray cray. I know, it sucks to be beholden to such a cruel social construct. Deal with it.)

You might even find yourself coming down with a nasty case of VFBS. (Ask me about the first three-quarters of senior year.) What do you do? Well, I personally suggest joining an a cappella group that does concerts with groups visiting from other colleges. Or just renounce awkward and say hi REALLY CHEERFULLY to all of your hittees every time you see them. And if one of them turns out to be a stage five clinger? Be kind. Let ‘em down gently. DON’T MAKE FUN OF THEM FOR DREXTING YOU OR KARMA WILL GET YOU.

2. The Retreat is Not a Date: Still looking for The One? After wading through a slew of Vassar Freshman Boys, you might think you’ve come across him! One major indicator of a Nice Boy at Vassar — or a boy who might ask for your phone number, or at least say hello to you when you’re both ordering Pesto Chicken Ciabattas for the umpteenth time during the Tuesday lunch rush — is that they might do the unthinkable and ask you out ON A DATE. Dates are a thing of significance at Vassar. But don’t be fooled! Lunch at the Retreat is NOT A DATE. It may be an indicator that the gentleman in question is interested in getting to know you better… but it’s not a date unless you are OFF CAMPUS. (Unless you’re like, having a picnic in the Shakespeare Garden or something. In which case, gag me with a shovel and stop being so cute. This is an ironic college.)

Note: This does not mean the boy has to pay for you. Ladies split the bill! This has been a Dana Cass public service announcement on dating in the modern age.

3. The Pantless Psychiatrists: You will run into a number of boys at Vassar who want to explain you to you. You think you know yourself? Hell no, girl, the gentleman in the tighty-whities knows all your secrets. Even if you don’t know his last name. He has seen the cereal boxes on your bedroom floor and he will tell you why you do what you do and HE IS RIGHT. This, if you ask me, is the downside of the oft-sought Sensitive Boy. You find a guy who thinks he is super-attuned to your feelings and he decides that he knows them better than you do and that you need to hear about yourself from him. I always want to be like, “Okay, hello, I know I seem like a megaspaz and a hot mess and can barely form a coherent sentence unless I have the powers of spell check, but I actually am fairly self-aware and would really prefer if you would save this for your English composition class.” Be secure in your knowledge of yourself. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, except maybe your housemates, whose opinions you should probably trust.

I may add more to this series, but I’m still a little concerned that my mom is reading this and I don’t want to send her to an early grave. Stay tuned for my memoirs in a few decades.

P.S. Yes, I know this is grossly heteronormative. Unfortunately, I am the straightest straight that ever straighted and vanilla heteronormativity is the only subject in which I have any expertise whatsoever.

smart is a social construct

Welcome to Vassar! This is just like the scene at the beginning of Center Stage when Sandy Cohen tells the new ballerinas and Sergei that though they may have been the best dancers in Podunk, Nofreakingwhere, they aren’t fit to bring Cooper Nielsen cookies for next time here in New York. It’s like this: I know. You were one of the smart kids at your high school. People bowed down to your grammar, your sass, your calculus skills; you might have known more about the U.S. Constitution than your high school dean.

Alas, your superiority complex is about to be sledgehammered. You are one of 2500 here in Vassar’s hallowed halls. The guy down the hall who plays acoustic guitar in his single and stares at his abs in the mirror? The girl who wandered down the hall naked last Friday and then spent an hour puking near (not in) the toilet? That entire table of lax bros who feel the need to bring their sticks to the DC (aside: why can’t they leave them at the gym? Don’t they have lockers? MUST YOU ALWAYS BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PHALLIC SYMBOL)? Every last one of them got into the same school as you. Except for a couple questionable legacies, every damn person at Vassar is as smart as you are.

You, like I, probably kept yourself sane in high school by reminding yourself that everyone around you was kind of an idiot. (Unless you went to fancypants boarding school, in which case, go put on a cable-knit sweater and comfort yourself with the knowledge that Dan Brown was a “fac brat.” Michaela, that was for you, even though I’m pretty sure you don’t read this.) That douchey guy who dated the girl with cankles instead of you? NOT AS SMART AS YOU. The dingbats from your dance class who always got the solos? NOT AS SMART AS YOU.

My first few months at Vassar destroyed my superiority complex. Not only was I painfully single and NOT a member of VRDT, but I WASN’T EVEN SMARTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. Naturally, that was probably a good thing for me to realize, since I was kind of an asshole during high school because I thought I was the queen of everything, and it meant that I had goals to work toward for the rest of college. I graduated secure, once again, in the knowledge that I was the queen of everything (please note that I held a prize ceremony for my friends and me because I was sad that I didn’t get any school-sponsored awards. Guys, I solve my own confidence problems).

What helped me on that path? Well, for one, working hard so that I stopped sucking at all the things I enjoyed doing. But for another… realizing that among the painfully smart student body of Vassar College, there is still a hierarchy.

This is how it goes.

1. Top of the food chain: the academics. They might have a useful major. They might be paying $200,000 for a degree in Medieval and Renaissance studies. But they will be listed ALL OVER your graduation program, causing you to stalk them on Facebook because you’re sure that they never hooked up with anyone you know within the past four years and that’s simply unthinkable to a social butterfly like you. Though it’s not universally true that the smartest of the smartest spend their weekend nights reading Butler and doing their prelabs (which is a bitch, because it sucks when that skanky girl from D Block got Phi Beta Kappa and you didn’t and HOW IS SHE SMARTER THAN YOU SHE WEARS CORSETS IN PUBLIC), there were a LOT of people in my graduating class who were winning prizes who I SWEAR didn’t actually exist.

2. The science kids. I’m going to confess here that I am completely inept when it comes to the sciences. The only reason I got A’s in my high school science classes is because I don’t think my teachers knew how to give other grades. Among the science majors at Vassar, the premeds and the research-bound, there are a number of articulate, well-rounded people who are apparently just good at every facet of academia (bitches). There are also a whole passel of bimbos and bros. I don’t really mean bimbos — I just liked the alliteration — but I swear that of all the girls who looked like they belonged in a sorority at ASU, the vast majority of them were science majors. It blew my mind that the girls who, judging by their Facebooks, spend their weekends taking pictures of themselves making sexy faces at each other in Forever 21 tops (I clearly don’t belong to this category because I am incapable of making sexy faces), were capable of achieving honors in science majors and being accepted to prestigious research programs. Same for the dude bros who play Frisbee yet are apparently chemistry whiz kids: it’s like, wait. You thought it was a good idea to throw a party in an academic building… but you’re going to MED SCHOOL? You’re going to be my DOCTOR someday? (Sorry to use an example from real life, but it’s just too good to pass up.)

3. The verbose humanities majors. A lot of the philosophy kids fall under this umbrella. They are the proverbial acoustic guitar-playing, long-haired, sleepy-eyed potheads who, when asked to extrapolate on the meaning of life, will go off for the next twenty minutes using words with a lot of prefixes and suffixes that aren’t anywhere in your mental dictionary. They’re the kids who decorate their rooms with On the Road or Fear and Loathing posters, but can whip out a 10-page paper on the existential crises of Kerouac and Thompson in relation to intersubjectivity and the apathy of the 20th century. Like… they know big words and they might actually use them correctly on occasion, although usually, they’re just vomiting shit up on a paper and that’s why they aren’t up there with the academic rock stars, because they haven’t actually bothered to learn what intersubjectivity means.

4. The music majors and the drama majors. Aww… your senior project was really good!

Just kidding, guys. You know I love you.

Also, I feel like this is probably kind of offensive, but it’s not like I’m going to see any of you again anytime soon, so whatever.

men and the women who love them

Types of men I am apparently, inexplicably, attracted to:

  • occasionally effeminate yet decidedly straight graduates of all-male Catholic high schools
  • the friends and roommates of men I have already been linked with
  • my hotter housemate’s sloppy seconds
  • those who make intelligent comments in class, no matter how much of a public scourge they are

Type of woman I have been classified as:

  • “messy actress” (due to many pairs of shoes, magazines, and bags of trash on my bedroom floor)
  • “THAT GIRL” (due to pathological inability to have the same feelings for someone that they have for me)
  • “crazy bitch” (derived from “crazy bitch eyes,” a condition I occasionally suffer from when angered) (also possibly due to fact that I have a history of being a crazy bitch)
  • taker of “really intense notes” (in my defense, it’s the only way I can prevent myself from spending entire class periods writing haikus about the aforementioned men)
  • Boo from Monsters Inc., Franklin the turtle, E.T. (due to large eyes, childlike appearance, bangs)

“Can I buy you an orange juice?”

Last night, I took my friend (and schoolmate since 2004!) out for her 21st birthday. We went to Blush at Wynn, which is a lovely club with really exciting lights that flash in time to the music AND aren’t strobe lights. (Strobe lights at clubs, as I’ve learned over the six months since my 21st birthday, are scary. You don’t know someone is coming up behind you UNTIL THEY’RE ALREADY THERE. That puts a monkey wrench in my creeper radar…)

Clubbing in Vegas, for local girls, generally goes like this:

1) Get in free. Smile condescendingly at all the tourists in their LBDs as you pass the line that they’re paying $30 to wait in.

2) Drink. Sometimes we get free tables. Sometimes we get free open bar. Last night, we got free champagne. Otherwise, the best course of action is to stand there looking approachable until someone offers to buy you a drink. Or many someones offer to buy you a drink. Sometimes it gets difficult to rebuff the potential drink-buyers; last night I was driving, so I kept having to turn them down. One particularly persistent creeper offered to buy me an orange juice. I declined, as really, it’s only worth having to put up with some dude following you around if you get booze out of it. (I am a classy, college-educated feminist, for the record.)

3) Observe. There are many species who populate Vegas clubs. Mostly, it’s unattractive-yet-well-dressed men who are OVERWHELMED by the array of attractive ladies in front of them and can’t do anything except sit at their $1000 tables and stare at your ass. There are a lot of short men. As for the ladies, there is one thing that separates them: the women who know how to select a dress at Forever 21, and the women who really need Stacy London’s guidance and a 360-degree mirror. (In actuality, a lot of these women are probably shopping at stores a lot classier than Forever 21, but their dresses look just as trashy and poorly made as mine do, and at least I didn’t drop more than $25 on mine…)

4) Dance. Dancing involves moving around a lot until you find sufficient space and then moving around a lot more until you get away from whatever creeper has attached himself to you at a given moment. It also involves explaining to every single guy who comes to chit-chat that yes, in fact, you ARE from Vegas. I know, right? It’s so crazy! Yeah, I went to high school here! Um, no, I don’t want to see your hotel room. Oh, sorry, I see someone on the other side of the room whom I desperately need to talk to right this second. I’m gonna sprint away now. Meanwhile, the music will generally be exhorting you to Put Your Hands in the Air. Don’t resist. You’re gonna end up doing it. Wear deodorant.

5) Finish metabolizing your free drinks. Realize that you’re wearing an uncomfortably short dress and that there are approximately 59650 small men in your personal bubble. Push your way through the crowd, avoiding any mobs trying to catch a sight of the NBA star at the VIP table, and get to the parking garage. Take your drunk charges to Roberto’s for 2 AM taquitos. Make sure they’re not trying to take off their clothes. (If you are the drunk charge in question, keep your clothes on and try not to vom up chicken tacos on the Summerlin Parkway.)

There are always a few entertaining asides to this outline… like last night, when my foot got stomped on. Twice. Once by a stiletto. On the same foot that got stomped by a character shoe during the musical I was in at the beginning of the month. It may go into hibernation. Or insist on steel-toed boots. We also witnessed a fistfight! It was very exciting, except for I couldn’t actually see anything because I’m a foot shorter than the rest of the world. Alas.