I am the parent of two small children, so I don’t have a lot of free time. I’m constantly wiping noses, adding numbers, spelling out words, breaking up fights and – my most favorite duty of all – cleaning. So when I get to spend an entire night alone with my husband doing something that doesn’t involve video games, mops or princess movies, I’m all over it. There’s nothing better than getting out among other adults and letting my repressed swear words come out. Thank God we live in Las Vegas, where there’s never a lack of things for the grown-ups to do.
It’s nice to know that if I wanted to stay up all night and dance until dawn, I could. Sadly, I’ve learned that I’m no longer the wild-and-crazy gal I was before the kids were born. In fact, I’m perpetually exhausted and can’t stay up past midnight. Standing in line too long makes my feet hurt. People invading my personal bubble space – walking into my path, stepping on my feet – irritate me. I get a lot of that on the Strip. No offense to tourists, but they spend most of their time looking up when they should be looking where they are going. I understand it, but I don’t have a lot of patience with idle gawking anymore. I use that all up on my kids during the week!
So, come date night, my hubby and I don’t go down to the Strip unless we have a clear, previously arranged destination or have show tickets and dinner reservations in hand. Mind you, I haven’t given up hope for club dates completely. Whenever I’m on the Strip, I make sure to make friends with as many bouncers as I possibly can, because they’re the one who are going to get me into the clubs later on, when motherhood proves less exhausting. Added bonus: Almost every casino and most of the clubs on the Strip will put locals on their VIP list, which means I won’t have to stand in line to get in.
Boring dates are not an option. When I get a break from being a mom, I want to have fun!
Fun to me is meeting new and interesting people, eating a meal with my hubby (without having to get up from it 20 times) and dressing up in ways that I never do when the kids are around: with high heels, lots of cleavage and makeup. A lot of my dates entail business or work-related parties hosted in one of the casino ballrooms around town. These parties are always exciting and lavish – very over the top. I can’t remember one that didn’t have an extravagant ice sculpture behind the food table or exotic floral arrangements that I could smell from my seat.
I always manage to have a good time at these parties, even when it means mingling with a bunch people I don’t know. I’m not a shy person, but a little champagne, some lip gloss and lots of sparkling eye candy goes a long way toward boosting my confidence. The night doesn’t have to end when the food and drinks are finished off, either. Exit the ballroom and you’re in the casino, where there’s always gambling and live music close by. I almost wish the casinos weren’t so accessible, because I’ve spent too many nights staying out way past my bedtime. I regret some of those late-night decisions at 6 a.m. the next morning, but I hate to go home when I’m winning at the tables.
One of the best events my husband and I attended in 2008 was “Signature Chefs,” produced by March of Dimes. It was held at the Venetian in one of its huge ballrooms, and it was one of the tastiest events I’ve ever been to. There’s never a lack of great food in Las Vegas, and March of Dimes brought together 40 of the city’s most popular chefs to serve their signature dishes. Everything went to benefit the charity, including the proceeds of a silent auction before the dinner. The food was incredible, and I got to shake hands with many of the chefs, including the chef-host of the night, Tom Moloney, executive chef at Aquaknox.
My favorite recent date was a Tears for Fears concert at the Mandalay Bay pool. The music stage actually sits in the pool, so we brought a blanket and relaxed on the “beach” sand while we watched the show. After a few songs, we moved up to get a closer look, which meant we were knee-deep in the pool right up against the stage! I remember thinking, “Where else can you watch a concert standing in a swimming pool, with a beautiful casino surrounding it?” The best part of the date was that the tickets were free – thanks to a Web site that offers last-minute free and discounted sell-out tickets to Las Vegas residents for shows. Although tickets to the smaller-venue concerts are hard to come by, the ones that are available are worth the wait.
I feel really lucky to live in Las Vegas because I’ve never had a boring date night, and I know my husband and I will never have the dreaded, date-destroying conversation, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know … where do you want to go?” In fact, I already know what our next date will be: dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Roy’s (I recommend their pineapple martinis), and then on to Luxor’s “Titanic” exhibit.
Date night is something I definitely look forward to. It keeps me going in those tense moments when I don’t think I can take another day of screaming and whining. Instead of banging my head against the wall, I just remind myself that here in Las Vegas there is always something fun and interesting to do and I will soon be back to normal. As my husband always says: “Happy wife, happy life!”