That One Time...
When I was 19 (18 or 19... either way I was a teen)... I was working inside the Hard Rock at a show inside the Joint.
The Joint in Las Vegas was our Roxy, Viper Room... It was cool. It's become larger now, but then (even growing up) it was the answer to Rock 'n' Roll in Vegas. Small, intimate, cool.
Here I was on Saturday nights getting the chance to be there, back stage and on it, roaming the halls where I had seen (or wanted to see) all these rock Gods and Goddesses play.
OHHHHHHH I loved it!!!!
The show was really cheesy... But I didn't care... I was young and this is cool! I got to do this.
Some nights I danced, other's I sang... I was so happy to be there, I didn't care what I was doing.
Getting ready in rooms that have Leopard floors, food getting delivered to us, doors open to the pool. We were little happy girls dressed in our tacky rock decor (fishnets, black belts, wrist bands... you get it.)
One job each night when we were getting ready was to "get the booze"... most of us would roll our eyes in the thought of "who's gonna go this time?" and I would normally say "I'll do it" (I didn't care, I was young and wanted to drink... I was always a good kid... here's my turn to be a little naughty.)
I also took a co-worker with me... we went in teams. Why? you say.... Would you walk into a dark hotel room alone? Same way you hold your friends hand going through a haunted maze... this was a two man job.
Down the hall, to the elevator, to another hall, into another room. We knew the door number and it was always cracked open (you know the hotel door latch flipped so the door wouldn't close all the way.)
The room was dark, and shit was everywhere... But we knew where we were going.
A voice from the bed would say "Hi girls" and in our routine way we would say "Hi (Enter Person's Name here)"... (Same way your Grandparents would ask you as a kid "How are you and you would reply "fine" in unison.)
We would stuff the bottle of vodka into one of our bags and take a few cups as well as carafe's of OJ or Cranberry... say good bye and bounce.
We got what we wanted... back to our fun.
That was it.
You got back into your dressing room with a shy of relief. Like getting out of the haunted maze and laughing out the discomfort.
This was the routine.... week after week.
Well one week... the routine went a little different.
(Not the hotel booze routine... let me explain.)
I went to work that next weekend, and a lot more people were in the hotel. I don't remember what exactly was going on... maybe an MTV or a whatever thing... but there was a lot of names and faces about.
We were always asked to get to the hotel a few hours early so that everything went as planned... and we didn't mind. There was always something to do.
The Hard Rock has a lot of shit in it, one thing we all love is a Starbucks. You know that shit.
So many of us girls would meet up with one another standing in line. Then with our Juicy track suits on, Von Dutch bowling bags on our arms, and Vanilla Latte in hand... we would make our way over to check in at the venue, then to the elevators to get to the dressing room.
Now let me explain what I looked like then. Blonde, baby blonde long hair, tanned from a tanning bed skin, and Christina Aguilera just went "Dirrty" and we all wanted to be her.
So there's that.
Here's this young girl, who just got out of her Silver Mustang, walking in with a latte, and is heading to take her clothes off.
Ok, so walking to the elevator... I lock eyes with this guy. "Do I know him? How do I know him?". I couldn't recognize him because he looked half homeless and half man who has been land locked in the mountains for years and was just found.
But oddly I thought I knew him.
His big blue eyes lit up and these exact words came out of his mouth "WOOOO HOOOO" loudly... and he began to run towards me and chase me.
In all my shocked, like any normal person would... I ran. I ran fast. I ran so fast I thought I might lose my latte... I found I door beside the venue (not where I was going) and ran into it... and then kept running till I got to the dressing run up the back hallways.
Once I got to the room... again laughing out of discomfort... A couple of the girls who had seen this happen gave me the strangest look.
"I can't believe you just ran away from (Enter Name Here)"
Me: "No way that's him?"
Them: "Yes it is."
Now I'm completely dumb founded.
Me: "He was charging after me."
Them: "So" enter in their giggles here.
As I sat down, and I was still confused (why are they laughing, they saw what happened)... I now compose myself.
"Lauren are you gonna go grab the booze?" someone says.
Oh yeah... the booze... how can I forget. Must have been that a mountain man, who two girls just told me was a guy I had dreamed of since I was little, just chased me, and now these "not so nice girls" I work with are laughing at me because of it.
Fine... Booze run.
I take my booze buddy, and off we go. She asks me nicely "are you ok"... I answer yes but then I think I should work out more because that run just exhausted me.
Get to the propped open door.
"Hey Girls"... "Hey (Enter Name Here)"... get our shit... and then something happen... the voice from the bed in the dark room said "Hey do either one of you want to go to the pool tomorrow?"... My booze buddy says "Sorry I can't." Me in my confused exhausted was-that-him-or-an-actual-homeless-person state said "Yeah sure I'll go." The voice from the bed (you dare not look over because, well, you know) said "Thanks Lauren you're the best."
And we got our shit and left.
Once walking back to the dressing room, my buddy said "You know they're just gonna make you promote at the pool tomorrow."
Her: "Yeah they want hot girls to pass out flyers for the show."
In my younger state, I didn't want to then say I won't do it.
And once back in the dressing room a few of the other girls said they were going so I thought (as I looked out from my dressing room at the huge beach style pool) yeah but I'll be there doing it... So I didn't mind my absent minded answering anymore.
Fine... normal. Just a bunch of underage girls drinking, dancing half naked, B-list party going celebs everywhere. The usage.
Next day. Wake up... bathing suit. Done.
The Producer of the show had called us all who said yes and asked us to stop by the office first. Of course this is where we were given the boxes of flyers to hand out. (Great... Booze Buddy was right.)
Walking into the hotel, four girls in bikinis holding large boxes... a man with a hotel pool uniform and a radio stop us.
"Where you girls going?"
"To the pool."
"Yeah, you're more then welcome to come, but you can't bring those boxes in. We've told them before we don't want those flyers littering the pool up."
All of us look so confused on what to do. The guy enters in with some logic.
"Look check the boxes with the bell hop, and come back. You girls can go around and talk to people about the show."
Now we all are looking at him like "that's a great fucking idea"... and in our young-can't-wait-to-go-the-pool glory... we do exactly what he says and come running back.
We get our wrist bands, and boom. Done. In.
Now what I never realized about our lead guys room (the one we get the booze from) is that it looks out onto the pool as well. Of course I didn't realize this because it was always dark. But that day, from his room... he was spying on us to see if we were doing what we said we would do.
He must have seen us without the boxes walking around...
In the mean time, one of the girls I'm with see's someone she knows. It's her boss at her other job... and he has a cabana.
Boss is a great fun guy who is literally this young Mexican man who in good family tradition says to us "have and order whatever you want" and he means it.
We love homegirls Boss! We love Mexican man.
As a little time goes on... now I see bearded mountain man walk to a cabana next to ours.
"Oh shit... it is him" I thought to myself as I looked over and realized it was the dude of my young girl dreams that chased me around the hotel.
He see's me, he has no interest in the young girl who ran away from him.
Whatever... Mexican boss is fun and we're having a good time.
Now one girl gets a phone call. Its the producer of the show... he says "someone" saw us at the pool and we aren't doing our "job".
The girl explains that they wouldn't let us bring the boxes in, but said we could talk to people about the show.
"Well that's not gonna work, so we're gonna need you girls to go to the mall's and promote."
The girl responds "we're all dressed in bathing suits and just have cover ups. Not actual clothes."
The Producer: "Then go to the mall in your bathing suits."
In shock... the girl said no (also had her Mexican boss in her ear hearing this said "Fuck that" and told her to hang up the phone).
All of us looked at each other so dumb founded... he wants us to go to the mall in our bathing suits... gross.
So back to our fun, and fuck that guy.
A little time went on and the fun and the drinks add up to "you gotta pee" time.
In our true girl form, we ask someone to come with us to go to the bathroom... and I grab my buddy and go.
On our way back, we see something happening in our Cabana. We stop. We look up and Mexican boss is talking to a security guard.
Our stuff is at the bell hop so we aren't so concerned about going back to the cabana for it.
But what's going on?
Then I see our two friends getting escorted down the stairs of the cabana and they are heading towards us.
What I can now see as the sun isn't in my eyes anymore, is that Producer is with the security.... and as I turn around, lead guy who gets us the booze is walking towards us in the other direction (not in any shape of the other gorgeous pool guests... just saying), and me and my bathroom buddy are locked in between on a bridge that at the moment leads to no where.
We were trapped.
But why? We weren't allowed to bring in your stupid flyers and we don't have other clothes to go to the mall.
I see fingers point from the Producer "those two" (meaning us), and I see large guys coming at us. And from the other direction lead-booze-man (in all his disgusting glory) says in his wanna-be way "get em out of here".
I don't even know what the look on my face was... but before I could turn around... the security was ripping my wrist band off and just as he was about to walk me out... the man from the front who let us in in the first place comes over.
"What are you guys doing?"
Producer: "These girls work for us, and they aren't doing their job..."
Guy cuts them off "I manage the pool, I let them in, I told them they couldn't bring in the flyers. You have no right to come to my pool and be rude to my guests."
Producer: "Well I was asked..."
Guy cuts him off again: "I don't care who you asked..."
Right then Security cuts him off: "Well they don't have wrist bands on so they have to leave."
And before anybody could cut anyone else off anymore... here comes Mexican boss acting like a fucking BOSS.
"You want wrist bands... I got fucking wrist bands." And he pulls a shit ton out of the pocket of his swim trunks.
"These girls are my guests too." Said our Mexican friend.
Now Pool Manager reaches in his pocket... "They're my guests too" and he has more wrist bands.
It was like we hit the lotto of wrist bands and in true Oprah form, everyone can have one.
Before we know it... wrist bands are back on our wrists and our Producer/Lead Guy were both sneering and huffing over the turn of events... and our necks needed a chiropractor from this tennis match of events.
(Side note: breaded actor man was watching the whole time, probably wanted to get his ego back and have me kicked out too. He didn't know the force of wrist bands I had behind me.)
Ok here we are, in wrist band/flyer gate of 2005... and now we are left on a bridge... all parties have walked away... and we can go anywhere we want... and all I want to do is go home.
In polite style, I head back to Mexican Boss's Cabana... Have a baby sip of a drink, thank him so much, vent a little bit about what dicks those guys are, and the say I'm tired and head out.
On the way out... Pool Manager is there... I say thank you, he gives me a wink... and off to my car I went.
I was so confused. Like what the fuck just happened.
I called one of the other Producers who loved me. He was just as confused, asked where the other flyers were... he told me not to worry and that he'll pick them up later. And then he said I'll see you next weekend.
The whole week goes by, and at this time I have no idea why I went to work (or want to) that next Saturday is beyond me. But I did.
I went to head up to the venue for check in... Producer (the fuck from the pool who wanted us to go to the mall in bikinis) was in front. He's never there to check people in. I look at him... he looks at me. I know what's going down.
"Sorry you don't work here anymore."
Me: "Are you kidding me?"
Him (smiling): "No."
I gave him a look... made no seconded thought, and went to that back door that I had escaped to from the chase the weekend before.
Now I'm fucking pissed. Walking the back halls to get to the service elevator that takes me to another back hall to get to the dressing room, I got worked up.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!"
I find my way to the dressing room, went inside... and said nice and loud to all the girls there "hey guys, I just got fired because I wouldn't wear a bikini to the mall."
Everyone stopped (not the two girls who giggled at me before) but the other ones.
The lead dancer looks at me and says "what?". She didn't know the story about what had happened the weekend before... she was so confused.
Lauren, why would Lauren get fired?
I gave everyone a break down of what went down... looked around for the other girls and pointed out that they were not there. Lead dancer called them... yup, they got turned away.... and how did I even get up.
"I know the back ways." (I'm just smart thats all and I got chased the week before... I digress hahah)
Lead dancer (all of a few years older then us) was angry too.
"Guys if Lauren can't dance tonight none of us do, and if we don't they don't have a show."
My eyes shot out. I didn't actually think anyone would back me up... but here they were (not really the two gigglers but at this point they had to join in).... and one call from Lead Dancer was being made to Producer.
"Did you really fire Lauren and (Enter Names Here). Great... so now you have none of us."
Everyone packed up their shit and started to leave.
Holy fuck! Is this really happening! Bitches are doing a walk out... this is awesome!
The Producer see's us all walking away from the elevators on the casino floor... Von Dutch Bags and Latte's in tow... Runs over.
You see show time is in 2 hours... and this guy is about to not have a show.
Producer: "Are you guys serious?"
Lead Dancer: "Are you?"
Producer: "Girls girls, just wait. Can you please go upstairs and wait so we can sort this out."
Lead Dancer: "If you do it to Lauren, what will stop you from doing it to us?"
Producer: "Will you all please go back upstairs, Lauren you too, and we'll sort this out."
Lead Dancer: "If Lauren can come then yes."
Producer: "Yes Lauren can come."
In the mist of this... Pool Manager walks by, I give him a smile, he gives me a wink that looked more like "You Go Girl"... and we all take over velour asses back upstairs.
Waiting, waiting... I look around at the circle that has formed and say "thank you guys" and all of them say "of course."
Now did this job pay much... nope. Did I have another job... yup. Did these little punks running a show think the half naked girls would just lay down and take anything... I'm more then sure they did. And the three other girls who had left, let them.
Here I was.... not knowing that sneaking up those back stairs telling these girls what happened would set this little sit in into play. But it did.
(Irony, the doors were open and I could hear the loud noise and laughter coming from the pool. Hahah... fucking pool.)
Then the Producer came into the room. "Lauren can you come into the hall." I looked around at my mini tribe and left my shit on the floor... sure I'll come in the hall.
Once outside the door, I see the lead to the show, as well as my other Producer buddy who loves me, and here this little bitch who I used to come to his room to grab booze, is coming to me to ask me if his show could go on that night.
"Lauren I'm so sorry...." and I blocked out the rest. Something about a misunderstanding, and that I'm welcome here, and the other Producer has a sort temper. And blah blah blah.
I looked at him, and I said I would do the show that night (I already knew I was never coming back)... but that if he doesn't treat people right... this will happen again.
He agreed, he said sorry a few more times. Came in and talked to the girls, and then we all reluctantly got ready.
After that night, I never went back to that show. I think we all knew and understood that. It was the fucking point.
Later on in my LA life, I had heard that that show was coming here. Young girls I met out here were beyond excited to work there... I warned them all, told them a lot of stories and in true form, what happened to me, happened to them. 10 years later! (Other shit went down too, like not paying us on time and shit like that.)
Did those fuck heads change... no.... (I even ran into "lead" at the restaurant I helped create... asking my owner for help... I looked at my owner and said "Not that guy, he's a douche." He said "He's known for not paying people for their product. I'll never work with that guy." And deep down I felt better haha. Yeah douche, everyone knows.)
Whats the point of this all?
It's up to you in the moment to stand up for you. If I said yes to any of that shit... I wouldn't have known I was enough to walk away or to not except that bullshit.
Men chasing you, I don't care how famous they are... Men demoralizing you, threats, demands... I don't care who's handing you the pay check out there. It's not right.
There are good, amazing, supportive men out there (Pool manager, Mexican boss, Bad Ass owner)... and their are good, amazing, supportive women out there (My dance tribe that day... even the giggling ones) ... they are in your corner. They have the extra wrists bands and they will walk out with you and take their lattes to go.
And then there are fuck faces that you need to stand up to.
You are never alone, and you are never less then someone standing in front of you even if you're in a bikini.
Did I take the drinks... yeah. Did I dance half naked... sure did. But what I didn't do is lower myself or allow myself to be treated like shit.
AND NIETHER SHOULD YOU!!!
I don't care what someone's "position" is... or what they could "do" for you.
It's your job every second of YOUR LIFE to make sure you like you when you look in the mirror and lay your head on your pillow at night.
And maybe, just maybe... life's little chest game rolls back around to you 10 years later and you still have someone who can't look you in the eye because you respect yourself so damn much.
All my love and RESPECT to you all,