Monday, June 19, 2006

Of thongs, invite only parties and secret Mexicans; the Vegas lingerie show

I'm in Vegas with Laura, her husband John and our
friend Tony. We're shopping for panties and interesting clubwear as well as saying hi to established suppliers. We're staying at a big suite at
Mandaly Bay, in a tower overlooking the Strip. We feel
quite swank with it all. We have marble tubs and TV sets seem to be on every flat surface and wall. There are 5 in our suite. We're overlooking the entire Strip and it really is beautiful in a very loud glowing way.

We take a cab to the Rio and I am scolded by the cabby for not giving him a 100% tip. I come really close to losing my shit but decide to just go and enjoy the show.

The show being held at Rio is quite appropriate as the show is a
damn carnival. Naked, half naked, feathers, whips, panties and strap-ons. It is not for the timid. It is loosely organized into areas of toys and
paraphenalia and areas of clothing. It is not a huge show, having only about one hundred vendors, so we walk it all.

In toys we see art glass dildos from Phallix like a
Venetian glass blower's wet dream near booths selling
firehose length rubber two headed dildos that look, and are about as appealing, as rubber novelty dogshit. We suck on lolli-cocks and toss the lube samples into our show bags. Tony drools over the roses made of black feathers. I like the bikini made of the same candy they use to make candy neckalces but we all
agree that you would get sticky.

In clothing high end silk lingerie mingles with
stockings that go to an 8X. An 8X? There is no human
alive and capable of having sex that wears an 8X and I
suddenly fear for the livestock of America. Then I
fear for myself because I can think of such a thing.

Buyers ask if the boots will fit a male calf as well
as a female because drag queens need a perfect fit
too. Light up shoes with dice embedded 8 inch platforms
catch your eye until you notice the ones with glitter
filled liquid, like a snowglobe. Audibly tan models
pose with their asses hanging out of badly constructed
underwear, smiling thinly at the innuendo laced
comments of the male buyers.

We find excellent club wear. We find dresses that are fresh and interesting. J. Valentine has big puffy outfits with hearts that will make strippers look like elves, always an excellent thing. We see the rainbow Brite costume in person; Laura does not like it but I tell her she has to order it. We're not the target market for it but those crazy kids will like it. All of the things we wind up buying will sell like crazy but Rainbow Brite will wind up being a runaway seller
at Halloween.

We also find stupidity. Someone who Laura had advised about the clothing business has repaid her by copying her clothes and by hiring the same photographers and
models. She has done her best to copy it but she still gets it all wrong. The shoes are off, the props are from the wrong era and almost all of the clothing is

We stop by the booth and we are cattily sweet "Ohmigoodness. Look at this! Just like the dress you did two years ago." Tony and John practically blush at
how over the top we are in being nice in that bitchy way women have. We deconstruct the catalogue as we walk away. It's crap. It's crap in a way that only a
purist would understand but Laura's customers are purists.

Laura explains that she is not mad that the clothing is almost identical to her previous seasons. She had told the woman what photographer she used. SHe gave her advice of all kinds.

What gets her is that she specifically asked her not to use the same model
for at least a year so it would not look so similar. She didn't listen and made a point of getting that model. The catalogue just makes us realize that imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery but you should try to at least imitate it well.

This is a much smaller show than the gift show but it is draining in a
different way. There is a weird undercurrent to lingerie and the spin-off world of porn and sex toys. Anyone can carry a purse but how will the sexy pirate
costume look on a woman who is not 5'10 with ass cheeks as big as a clenched man's fist?

There is also more after hours fun planned than at the
LA gift show. This is Vegas-the ads say that we have to get
wild and crazy and it all stays here. Invites are
being thrown about, plans to meet in bars and rumours
abound about the party ... we had better go find Anwar.

How to describe Anwar? Joyous letch springs to mind.
He delights in seeing how far he can go with you but
would probably die of shock if someone took him up on
his offers. Then he would come back to life to take
you up on it. He tells us that Mike is throwing a
party. Mike is a very tall burly guy with long blonde
hair who is strutting the show in full lingerie clad
drag. His nails are as impeccably manicured as mine.
Laura chats with him and we make plans to go to his

We get there fairly early and the party is already
packed.There are guards in the halls checking our
creds out: who exactly do we know? We squeeze in-the
suite has so many people crammed in it that I can feel
the floor move. We walk through, noting the sex hobby
horse device and the bondage set up and have just
noticed the girl on the couch with no pants when the
party is over. It's been less than a half hour.

We quickly discover that what happens in Vegas stays
in Vegas because nothing actually happens inVegas. It
is all sound and fury signifying nothing-parties are
shut down quickly by casinos intent on keeping you in
their bars and on their gambling floors. The house
always wins.

We go down to the lobby. Everyone is in the lobby
intent on making something happen but nothing does. We
get a drink and watch half the bar try to pick up Penn
Gillette of Penn & Teller. He and I make eye contact
in the way that really tall people do. I say I think
he is cute and someone next to me tells me he is
really into bondage. So not my thing; I sigh and we decide to go.

We get into the cab and ask the cabbie to take us to a
liquor store. We go in, leaving the meter running, and
buy booze. We get back into the cab and continue our
conversation with our driver. I am in the front; the
others are in the back.

Our previously pleasant and normal chatty driver begins to talk
about the changes in Vegas while we are stuck on the
Strip. He blames it all on the damn Mexicans. I stifle
a laugh and make eye contact via the rear view mirror with Laura.
Laura begins to egg him on by answering everything he
says with "Damn Mexicans." He says that they paint
their houses like Easter eggs and take all the jobs.
Laura continues to echo him, asking him about the
colors, while John and Tony busily poke her in the
ribs. For the record John is half Mexican/half Dutch
and Tony is half Mexican/half Apache. We're beaneros or beanero lovers all.

We finally get to the hotel and tip less well than we
would have if he had not turned into a racist. As I
get out of the cab I look at the driver and say
"Mexicans. Secret Mexicans."and I point at them. I
see something dawn in his eyes and I think he flushes.
I hope he flushes.

Laura and I leave early the next day to go to the show
and to finish placing orders while John and Tony try
to go to the aquarium in Mandalay Bay. We try to get
on the road early but fail . Our reward is to promptly
get stuck in a 5 hour traffic jam due to a big
accident. We put the car in park on the freeway and

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