G-Smash got invited to the Saturday night Olympia After Party at Rain, a club in the Palms Casino, and I was lucky enough to tag along. Before meeting up with the usual crowd at the Alligator bar at the Orleans, we walked down the strip, eating pizza and drinking beer like the classy ladies we are, making occasional pit stops in some of the fancier casinos. G and I enjoyed comparing the custom scents that each casino-hotel complex has pumped through its ventilation system. Treasure Island smells like spicy rum; the Aria is suffused with vanilla mixed with cinnamon. And what does our cheap-cheap hotel smell like? An unforgettable combination of feet and mould.
Drinking in public is thrilling and we had a great time getting ready, stashing cans of beer in our purses. Just before leaving we sent the following text to my partner, who was playing in a poker tournament at the Venetian:
“About to hit the strip. Packing purse. Bud Light, check. Panties, check. Toothbrush, check. Vagina wipes, oops all out.”
Oh yes, it was the height of hilarity, my friends. But the fun had only just begun….
Can I first say how great it is to be a girl in Las Vegas? Men we didn’t even know—nice, lovely men–drove us to and from the Palms, no charge, and we drank for free all night. Glen Livet makes me very, very happy. I downed lots of it—straight up of course–and then began to dance with a close friend named Mr. Glowstick. We could have danced all night, and that’s just what we did, until the lights went on at 4 am and they kicked our asses out. Sadly, I then became separated from Glowy and we did not spend any more time together. Actually, I seem to recall tossing him down G’s bra, lighting up her cleavage in an impressive fashion. But that’s enough discussion of the party hijinks.
During our second day in Las Vegas, all three of us headed over to the Convention Centre, lining up to enter the fitness expo. I was bored so I took a photo of the entrance. Now you can see what I saw for about 10 minutes.
Once inside we were handed huge plastic bags for collecting free samples of protein powders and bars from booths promoting nutrition, weight loss, and muscle gain. There were plenty of activities too, with power lifting performances—how I love those strong women whose faces puff up like tomatoes when they squat with five times their body weight on their backs—chin up competitions, costumed super heroes, and even The Incredible Hulk himself. I can’t remember what he was selling, but I saw him later with his much younger short-skirted wife, chowing down at the seafood buffet at the Orleans Casino. Insider’s report: Lou Ferrigno likes crab legs and is not afraid to attack the dessert cart. Continue reading
I am writing this blog in Las Vegas, where I am attending the Olympia Weekend 2010. Obviously this is a serious research trip for Feminist Figure Girl. I am here with G-Smash, a heavyweight bodybuilder planning to network, and my partner, an enthusiastic poker player who has never been happier. He is able to play in tournaments to his heart’s content, knowing that I will be drinking free vodka sodas at the Alligator bar with G instead of resentfully crying into my pillow back in the hotel room. Ha. Like I have ever done that in my life! Immediately after arriving yesterday, we headed outside to drink cans of Bud Light while swimming in the hotel pool. Fuckin’ A!
The Olympia events started that first night, with G and I taxiing it to the Orleans to ‘meet the athletes’ (my partner went somewhere else, wearing sunglasses and a baseball hat). At the Orleans, all the competitors were sitting behind tables laden with photographs and posters, alternately signing autographs and standing up to pose for pictures with various devotees and wanabees. Was I one of them? Hell yes. The social event was very crowded, with what seemed like hundreds of people lined up to see Jay Cutler, Mr. Olympia 2009. He did not interest me, though I like his frosted blonde fauxhawk. I like it even more on his poseable action doll, which includes an alternate hairstyle as an accessory (Word of advice to children of the 1970s: do not try to stretch its arms like pull taffy; they will break). I rushed to see my idol, Iris Kyle, Ms. Olympia five (and now six) times running. An image of her back hangs over the desk in my home office, each huge and well proportioned muscle clearly delineated from the other. Strangely there was no one in front of Iris’ table at the Orleans. We walked right up, blurted out awkward statements of our love for her, and then grinned crazily while standing beside her for photos. I wish I could include some shots—those who know me can check them out on facebook—but at least I have pasted below an image of her on stage during prejudging, so that you can see her wonderfulness for yourself.
During my birthday dinner a work colleague asked me what it felt like to write so much. This question gave me pause. Most people question me about the physical challenges of becoming Feminist Figure Girl. In previous blogs I have addressed the embodied experience of working out, considering endorphins, muscle failure, and the sensation of health, but I have not analyzed the literary side of things. And I should. Feminist Figure Girl is, after all, a writer.
In an early entry I mentioned my sore back and the tendonitis in my wrists, conditions produced by the repetitive stress of using a keyboard and mouse (the latter is now in the garbage). These bodily traces of writing were not caused by blogging; they resulted from past academic projects. These days I don’t write more than I used to; I write differently. While I continue to produce scholarly texts–I sent a book manuscript to a publisher in May, an article to an editor in July, revised a book chapter yesterday, am currently working on another that is due by the end of September, and must complete a chapter for my writing group which meets in early October–I now also blog for pleasure, potentially addressing a broader audience. I love writing this blog, and I am getting positive feedback about it. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy writing for more formal venues as well, particularly when I interpret contemporary art. I have never understood professors who dread writing or find it difficult; for me it is the best part of this career and I feel uneasy if I don’t do it on a regular (ie daily) basis. To summarize: I won’t be jumping off a ferry because I can’t finish a manuscript like John Goodman in Treme. Actually, I think he simply stepped into the Mississippi River, otherwise there would have been a noticeable splash. Continue reading
I just altered my ‘About’ page to change my age. It was my birthday this week and I am now a ’43-year-old female professor.’ Around 12 friends joined me for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant–my favourite kind of food–and drinks afterward. The celebrations had begun earlier in the day however. First I had had a bath instead of a shower (what time wasting luxury!) and then I did a yoga class at the gym, following the advice of several women who had said that the instructor was extra hot eye candy. I quite liked him, for both his focus on technique and the way he corrected me by grabbing and then lowering my hips (thanks!), but he is not really my type. Continue reading