Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The casino bar

The bar is empty when we get there, lit with blue lights and technicolour slot machines. Huge TV screens show identical silhouettes of a dancing naked woman (is she definitely naked, or does she have underwear on? Ah no, she's naked all right I'd say. Sure look at her. Ah there's definitely no knickers there), against a block colour background. Every so often the scene changes, to another naked silhouette, this figure gyrating enthusiastically with an electric guitar.

The guitar isn't plugged in, though, I observe. There's no silhouette of a lead. Unfortunately there is no way the naked woman is actually playing, I inform the others. They nod sagely.

You can't see someone's face, in a silhouette.

The barmaid wears a tiny sequined mini-skirt and a bondage-style leather bustier, with studs on the cups. The back of it is mostly straps. A lot of evenly-tanned skin is on display. It's 'ladies' night', so we each get a rose, handed to us by another scantily-clad barmaid. Our drinks are half-price. The men in the group are indignant.

It is poor recompense for the ongoing mass exploitation of my gender, I explain, as I consider the cocktail menu.

We pose for a photograph with our roses, brandishing them like swords, grimacing. Somebody breaks theirs in two. I shove mine into the back pocket of my jeans. It sticks up behind me like an antenna.

We ask the DJ to turn up the music. He looks at us, looks at the empty dance floor, weighs up the odds that we will attract punters. Considers my antenna rose. He doesn't turn up the music.

We go back to the bar. There are games machines built into the counter, flatscreen panels with a credit card swiper at the side. I press some buttons experimentally, waiting to be served. Most of the men in our group sit with their backs to the animations. They keep their eyes firmly on the counter as they order their drinks. What's with the studs on her boobs, somebody mutters.

The girls scrutinise the animated silhouette closely for anatomical accuracy, make crude jokes, giggle uneasily.

I'm still waiting. The barmaid laughs with a male punter. Eventually she turns to me, her studded bosom still pointed at the men, like cannon on a warship. The smile evaporates. 'What can I get ya', she states. I hesitate. She takes a step back, time is money, whaddya want. I hurriedly order a margarita, immediately wish I'd got a martini, say nothing. She slaps it down in front of me without a word, takes my money.

I wonder if my fist will fit into the tip jar. It's not that far to the door.

Later, I signal to her for a glass of water. She ignores me. I wave. She glares at me, waves her hand at me. Her fingernails have elaborate designs stencilled on them, with some kind of black and gold stripe drawn between the quick and the white. It looks like her nails are dirty. 'I know you want a drink, but there's a line,' she says. Gathers some glasses together, bashes them about. 'I have to serve all these people over here.' She gestures at the two men at the other side of the bar, who are at that moment deep in conversation. 'It's no good yelling at me.'

She turns away from me, her glittering rump an emphatic full stop.

The girls waiting to be served spin on their barstools to face me, open-mouthed with indignant delight. 'You didn't even say anything!' They withdraw from the bar, put their wallets back in their bags. We engage in some collective harrumphing, stomping righteously in a pack as far as the door. We gesticulate angrily with our roses. Where does she get off. There's just no excuse for that kind of rudeness. What a massive tart.

The drinks are half price, though, somebody reasons.

We slink back in.


  1. Yeah it was really weird how they went out of their way to sell the guys drinks but blatantly ignored the women... Also I found the overly S&M flashy sexuality odd too. I bet the manager is a creep.

  2. I get the feeling quite a few establishments in Reno are run by people with fairly questionable attitudes. A pretty bizarre experience, all round.