Recently, I spent a few fun days in Las Vegas. Since I’ve been back, many people have asked me what I thought of Vegas as a city, often with leading questions like:
- “Didn’t you find it kinda shady?”
- “Wasn’t it really gross?”
- “Isn’t everything there so fake?”
The first two are rather boring; I had a great time and don’t really have anything bad to say about a pretty unique city. That last query is an interesting one though, and from day one I’ve been answering it the same way:
Las Vegas isn’t fake at all — in fact, it’s completely transparent.
Before we get to Vegas, let’s start with your hometown or a nearby city. When you walk down a major street where you live, what sort of things do you see? Here in Ottawa, I see a lot of two things:
- Quirky shops with witty names.
- Crowds of people that I know nothing about.
There’s nothing wrong with this (I love my city) but when you contrast it with Las Vegas, doesn’t it seem kind of muddled? If I didn’t already know what places like Zone, Foundation, and Atelier were all about, it wouldn’t be easy to guess just by the sign out front. And while we get the odd eccentric downtown, most people here in Ottawa are a lot like me; pretty nondescript.
Now let’s think of Vegas. First of all, every building in Vegas has a nice, big, blinking sign outside telling you exactly what you’ll find indoors. Is it a hotel? A casino? A gentleman’s club? You can always tell right away, the second you look at it. It’s almost like being completely honest about what your establishment contains is a part of Las Vegas culture. Every business owner in Vegas believes that being loudly and overtly transparent about what you do is the best way to go.
Second, there’s the people you find in Las Vegas. That wholesome-looking guy with a camera? A tourist. That group of girls with goofy tiaras and matching shirts? A bachelorette party. That guy handing out cards for call-girls? Well, you can call him what you want, but you know exactly what he does. Really, you can pick out just about anyone walking down the street and take a pretty good stab at what their night will consist of. Why? Because people in Vegas are transparent about their intentions. They’re obvious.
This is why I find it so strange to be asked if I thought Vegas was “fake”. Not one time did I ever feel cheated or confused or like I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. Everything in Las Vegas is crystal clear, which was incredibly convenient for me as a visitor. Even though it was only a few days I felt like I knew my way around the city, knew some great places to go and a few to avoid, and knew who to talk to and who to stay away from. The level of transparency throughout the city was remarkable.
Do you need a little more Vegas?
Is there anything you could be more transparent about? I know that this blog, for example, could use a tagline that better describes the types of posts one might find here. I’m not being as transparent as I should be about my blog’s content. Is this true for anything you’re responsible for?