Elle Severe Presents

No Kids Allowed

In Bitch Please, Random, Rants, Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 by Elle Severe

To all the morons who think Vegas is a family destination: It’s NOT.

Not joking. Your children are not welcome here.

I’m moved to write this because every time I go to Vegas I see kids.  Everywhere.  I’m not sure why; absolutely NOTHING about Vegas screams “KIDS WELCOME”.    I apologize in advance for how judgmental this post will be, but the reality is that children do not belong everywhere and this is especially true of Vegas.  Before you get all over me about this, please note that I am both a parent and a Vegas lover.

I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you bring your baby to Vegas, I’m just saying you’re a terrible parent if you bring your baby to Vegas.  Las Vegas is for adults, period.

In the early 90’s there was a push to make Las Vegas a family destination.  Three new hotel/casinos were built with  child-friendly themes: the pyramid shaped Luxor, the pirate-themed Treasure Island and the medieval castle, Excalibur.  The idea was to make it seem like children were welcome while drawing in the parents in the hopes that they would gamble, eat and drink.  It worked for a little while. Though both the Luxor and the Excalibur are still operating today, both have taken hard financial hits.  Because parents and children still flock there, they have lost out on other customers and clientele, so both hotels are suffering financially and are now a little more run-down than they should be.  This results in them charging lower prices and therefore attracting a lower economical class of hotel guest, thus ensuring the cycle of crappy hotel to continue.

You can hear The Sirens from a mile away…

Treasure Island threw in their cards pretty early and re-branded themselves as The TI.   They went from having a massive pirate show out front every hour, to having a Sirens of the Seas show.  The Sirens are scantily clad, obviously.  The only casino on the Strip that is full blown parent/ kid friendly that has survived long term is Circus Circus. I think this is because it’s further down the Strip away from the real action.  History lesson aside, the bottom line is that children of any and all ages do not belong in Las Vegas.  Ask yourself this, is it smart to take kids to a place known all over the world as the “Sin City”? At its most basic level, do you want your beloved progeny in place known for its debauchery? Las Vegas is called the City of Sin for a reason.  Several reasons.  Good reasons.

Believe it.

The first time I ever went to Vegas in the early 2000’s, 24 hours in I turned to my husband and said, “This is DisneyWorld for adults”.  Every vice you have, or want to have, or need to have satisfied, is at your fingertips.  Alcohol, drugs, gambling, food and sex are everywhere and for a price (both emotional and financial) you can have any of it, some of it, or all of it.  All you need to do is open up your wallet and you can eat at a buffet fit for kings, you can drink until you fall over, you can gamble until you are flat busted broke and you can watch naked girls dance on a pole until the sun comes up; in some cases you can do all of these things at once.  You can do this in moderation or in excess but believe me when I tell you it’s encouraged to do these things in excess.  Point blank:  Vegas is awesome – for adults.

Alaskan King Crab legs for days, son.

You will lose.

Personally I go to Vegas to get away from my kids.   I have found that there are times in my life when I need a break from them.  I love them, I want to be with them and pretty much everything I do in my life centers around them.  But sometimes I need a f*cking break.  I need to have adult time whether it’s alone with my husband or with a group of my girlfriends; the reality is that everybody needs a little time away, it’s that simple.  So when I see kids in Vegas I get annoyed for two reasons, number one, because they do not belong here and number two, because they are infringing on my grown-up time.  I will also be honest here and say that I am openly hostile to people with children in Vegas.  Yes I am.  Too bad.  Now if we’re at Storyland, I’m kind and patient and even try to pretend that other people’s kids are cute and charming (they aren’t), but in Vegas, you get the stink-eye.

 

This really happens; all day, everyday.

 

Let’s start at the very beginning: the flight to Vegas.

You’ll start out the evening classy, but you’ll end the evening a sloppy ho.

Since 2002 I have been to Vegas no less than 12 times, each and every time, without fail, no matter what time the flight is, there is always a gaggle of people, guys or girls, who already drunk or seriously buzzed before we even board the plane.  These people have already indulged and that’s fine by me because they’re adults and we’re on our way to Vegas.   I personally have been known to take a couple of happy pills on my way to Vegas, ostensibly to prevent anxiety or a migraine, so even myself, a responsible party-er, is under the influence.   And if people aren’t already drinking before boarding the plane, you bet your ass they’re getting drunk on the plane.  I have to believe that the flight attendants heading to Vegas know that they are going to be on their feet serving drinks pretty much the entire flight.  Now children on a flight to Vegas is unavoidable.  Maybe you have family out there, or friends you’re visiting.   I have friends in Vegas and at some point I will be bringing my children out to meet them, so kids on the plane to Vegas is fine, I get it.  But be warned, you may end up sandwiched between a group of awesome bros who just can’t wait to get their drink on if they haven’t started already.  So already the ride to Vegas is a dicey situation and once you arrive in Vegas, shit gets real, and fast.

This is just the beginning.

Once off the plane and in the airport, which is very clean and welcoming, there are slot machines and bars.  That’s fine.  That’s not an issue.  However, once you leave the confines of the terminal and are in your cab heading toward your hotel, the billboards start.  These billboards advertise everything from Vegas shows to the hottest strip clubs to the raciest lounges.  There are ads for magic shows and buffets too.  But if you’re a kid, guess which ones are going to catch your eye? This can’t be helped, human nature is such that we are naturally drawn to the naughty.   In the back of the cabs there are free booklets that advertise these same things and inevitably there is always an ad for the latest Vegas showgirl cabaret with a picture of the lead dancer in the least amount of clothing possible.  And that’s just the ride to the hotel.

I typically order two of these upon arrival.

Check in areas areas at the hotels are clean and classy and smell nice, everyone is cheerful and happy to help you out.  Once you’re checked in, it’s time to head to your room.  Because Vegas wants you to gamble, it’s a foregone conclusion that in order to get to your room, you must pass through the casino, and once in the casino area, all bets are off:

Just a regular Tuesday on the casino floor.

1. Vegas still allows smoking in the casinos.   You cannot smoke in restaurants or clubs, but smoking is still allowed in bars and designated sections of the casino floor.  The casinos do their best to combat the smoke and the smell, and most do a great job, but the bottom line is that people are still smoking; smoke floats and lingers and hovers in the air and swirls around….so is it a good idea to walk your brand new baby, toddler, 7 year old, 12 year old or 15 year old through that? Simply put, no.  It’s not 1972 people,  smoking around kids is not okay.  Sorry.  We are better informed about the dangers of second hand smoke and more importantly, do you want your kids reeking of that? I don’t.  It’s gross.  If YOU want to walk through a smokey casino, by all means, please do so.  But since your sweet little baby can’t voice his or her opinion, don’t you think it would be best to make a good parenting decision for them and just not do that? Do you really need to be in Vegas so badly that you’re willing to have your infant’s brand new pink lungs exposed to that garbage? And I’ll be perfectly honest with you, when I’m in Vegas, I’m part of the problem; I will absolutely indulge in a cigarette or two or 50.  Hey, I’m in Vegas, in keeping with the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mantra, my rule is that whatever damage you do to your body in Vegas stays in Vegas and doesn’t count in the real world.

Go Go dancers be dancin’.

2.  In the casinos, in an effort to draw you in, there are scantily clad women everywhere.  These women are cocktail waitresses serving drinks to the masses, go-go dancers dancing on the bars, showgirls and Cirque performers and regular women of all ages wearing less clothing than they should.  The fact is, most of Vegas is scantily women.  Vegas is built on scantily clad women and that’s fine, for adults.  I’m old enough to know that the objectification of women is wrong and inappropriate, but if you think it’s okay for your 7 year old son to see that shit, then fine, but please don’t act surprised when he becomes a hyper-sexual 12 year old, a perverted 15 year old and a date-raping 22 year old.  I have no evidence or back-up, but my parental instinct and my gut tell me that it’s not okay for little boys and little girls to see sexual imagery coming directly at them for prolonged periods of time.  I have to believe that won’t end well.

Drinking is sport.

3.  Other than war zones and South Central, Vegas is the most volatile place in the world.  Think about it, you have  thousands upon thousands of people in a condensed, overly populated area drinking and gambling and LOSING.  They are getting drunker and broker by the second.  I don’t know about you, but when I lose money, I get really mad, really quickly.  And if I’m drunk, forget it.  I will lose my mind.  Let me take a moment to tell you a quick side story: My first trip to Vegas I saved up a tidy little sum to gamble, I drank like a fish all day and at 2am decided it was time to gamble.  I got my quarters, settled into a slot machine and proceeded to lose every penny.  I was so angry and frustrated I hadn’t hit it big that I began crying so hard and for so long that security came over and asked my husband to immediately remove me or risk me being arrested.  My husband manhandled me back to my room where I continued to sob uncontrollably for two hours.  Then I ordered room service, ate a burger like I was David Hasselhoff and passed out in my own filth.  And I’m a nice, decent, fairly normal human being.  So imagine how everyone else is behaving.  I mean, you are relying on complete strangers to behave around your children.  That’s an awful big leap of faith.  I don’t even trust certain family members to behave around my children so if you think I’m going to chance it that people in Vegas are going to be mindful of them, guess again.  It’s about protecting your children, which is your duty.  Sure there is tons of security in the casinos, every corner and crevice of the casino is on camera and monitored, but anything can happen in a split second.  Think how good you’ll feel about yourself if your kid is hurt in a Vegas casino.  That will be a story for the ages…or DCF.

Ask yourself this, is everyone really getting out to pee? You already NO the answer.

You will get lost. And no one will give a crap.

4.  The pools.  At most hotels there are multiple pools with all kinds of people standing around either hungover or already drinking in the hot sun.  Do you know what it would take to set off a full scale bro brawl? I’ll tell you, not much.  Now clearly in the nicer, more upscale hotels that attract a high level clientele, your children will be more protected in the casino and pool areas, but they’re not anyone else’s responsibility.  No one is going to save your kid if he/she begins to drown while you’re off getting yourself a third Miami Vice (pina colada and strawberry daiquiri in one drink, delicious).  I’m a strong and avid swimmer, but if I’m drunk I’m not saving anyone.  Why the hell should I put myself at risk for your kid? I got my own, so no thanks.  Furthermore, don’t ruin my buzz, I’ve paid way too much for it. This past summer I celebrated my birthday in Vegas.  At the MGM pool with my husband and friends, two kids about 10 and 11, brother and sister, began fighting in the deep end.  At first everyone ignored them because we’re all too self-involved to give a shit, but as the screams got louder and louder, people started to take notice and get this, ready? Not one single solitary soul did anything.  Including myself.  On purpose.  Why you ask? Because those weren’t my f*cking kids and they don’t belong in Vegas.  More importantly, their mother was nowhere to be found.  When she returned, with her bikini top askew and carrying drinks, I had a brief thought that I should be calling some sort of protective services, then I remembered that I didn’t give a f*ck.  And that, my friends, is pretty much how everyone in Vegas feels. I should probably apologize for that but I’m not going to.

“I’ll trade you my TIffani for your Sabrina”

5.  The Strip.  On the Strip there are people hired to hand out what are essentially trading cards of hookers.  People grab them, look at them and either pocket them or drop them.  Take a second to think how cool that would be when little Timmy looks down at the ground and realizes that he can collect a full set of Vegas hookers to trade with his friends back home.  I’m not even going to expound on that.

Just because it’s a “dry” heat doesn’t make it less hot.

6.  The weather.  I’ve been to Vegas at all times of the year.  Here’s a real shocker for you, it’s hot most of the time.  And in August, it’s hot as Hell, as in actual Hell, as in Hades.  So no, I don’t think you should be carrying around your 3 month old baby up and down the Strip when it’s 110 degrees.  Last August my friend Claire and I saw a man holding his little baby in his arms, when I tell you that I couldn’t tell if the child was dead or sleeping I’m not exaggerating – the sight of that limp, sweaty little baby in his arms as he obliviously strolled down the Strip in the beating sun made my stomach sick.  Claire and I couldn’t even believe it.  What parent does that? There is NOTHING on the Strip so awesome that you need to have an infant with you.  That was not the only time we saw that.  We saw kids passed out in strollers and flung over shoulders and crying and hungry and tired.  It was sad.  All I could think of was, for what? I just don’t get it.  Is a visit to the M&M store worth the risk of of sun stroke?  All those poor kids needed rest, how about going back to your cool room and letting that baby sleep in comfort? I assure you that the cheap t-shirt vendors are not going anywhere.  I’m also not saying that you need to work your sightseeing around nap time, put the kid in a comfy stroller and just tour the hotels, inside,  where it’s cool and comfortable.  How about at least keep it off the Strip during the hottest part of the day?

All day long…

One one of my last trips there I was walking through the new Cosmopolitan at around 11pm when I noticed three young women dressed to the nines walking through the casino pushing a carriage.  These young ladies were decked out in club gear; 6 inch stilettos, full make up, coiffed hair… these girls were workin’ it.  The only thing throwing off their ferocious game was that pesky stroller with the infant in it.  So where the hell were they going with that baby?? Da club?  I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assign them the following back story: they, and the rest of their family and friends were in Vegas for a family wedding.  One of the girls just had a baby but still wanted to attend the wedding so she brought her baby with her.  This works out because her parents are also there for the wedding.  Having not drank or otherwise misbehaved for the last 11 months, New Mommy decides she just needs a night out with her girls.  She and her sister and girlfriend got all dolled up and were walking through the casino heading to Mom’s room to drop the baby for the night while she and the girls had some good old fashioned clean Vegas fun (which is an oxymoron).  That’s the story I have assigned her because nothing else is acceptable, nothing.

I have a friend who wants to bring her children to Vegas because she heard they have a nice aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  I had to gently tell her that firstly, that aquarium is busted and secondly, no.  You want a good aquarium especially for kids? SEA WORLD.

I allow for the fact there are times and situations where your child might have to be in Vegas.  The family wedding I mentioned up above, or maybe you’re there on a day trip as you head to the Hoover Dam, or you’re in town visiting friends and just wanted to bring the kids over to the see the pyramid or the Eiffel Tower…fine, so be it, that’s cool.  But anything longer than a day in Vegas and you are asking for trouble.  Not only will you not have a good time, but neither will they, and neither will I.  And be prepared to have to answer questions you had hoped to not hear until they were in their teens.  Kids grow up fast enough these days, I’d prefer they don’t do it on the Vegas Strip.

I’m sure you have your own opinion on this, and it may differ from mine, but I will tell you right now that I will not be swayed.  While I was writing and researching for this piece I came across an article that said “Vegas as a Fun Family Vacation!”, I didn’t even spend 2 seconds reading that nonsense; I stand firm in my belief that children do not belong in Vegas.  Bring them to DisneyWorld, that’s where children belong.

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