Hey Dudes. Joe the Intern here. Although we’ve been back from Bloggers in Sin City for just over a week, we’re still trying to recover and get back to normal life at Skinny Dip headquarters. For those of you who have read Simone’s previous posts about Bloggers in Sin City, you know that it’s the most epic of all epic weekends. Amazing people! Magic Guitars! Margaritas! Epic Dance Parties! Sore Feet! It’s Simone’s favourite weekend of the year and I should know – she never stops talking about it. The other day, Simone came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Joe, I think people are sick of hearing me talk about Vegas. Plus, I’m not really sure I can do three fabulous years of #BiSC justice. You should write the BiSC re-cap post this year.”
Although I’m kind of nervous about writing MY FIRST BLOG POST EVER*, I’m honoured to be of service. Besides, Simone says she’s OK, but the other day I caught her trying to pour cereal into a coffee mug, which leads me to believe her case of Vegas brain is way worse than she’s willing to admit. When I asked her about it, she just mumbled something like, “Because Vegas. All the feelings. Tequila. Sickness. Strugglebus. Bed.” So, it’s probably a good time for me to step in.
(*SIMONE SAYS IT’S OK TO USE ALL CAPS SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT VEGAS)
Finding out I was going to Bloggers in Sin City was one of the most exciting non-danger fighting moments of my life. It was 5:30 on Tuesday morning and Simone was getting ready to head out to the airport when she said to me: “Guess what Joe?! There’s room in my carry-on. You’re coming too!” I couldn’t believe it! I was going to Bloggers in Sin City! I was going to meet all the people I had only seen on Simone’s computer screen! I started to do a happy dance around Simone’s bedroom just like I had seen her do when she registered for the event in January. As a guy who doesn’t really “do” clothes, I pack light and was able to jump into Simone’s purse just in time for her Dad to drive us to the airport.
I was kind of nervous about going to Bloggers in Sin City for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’ve heard that everything is bigger in AMERICA which, obviously is kind of a concern for me. Secondly, I’m not your typical guy. Yes, I have amazing cheekbones but I’m also a bit on the short side and am currently clothing challenged. Would the people like me?! Would I have to spend the whole weekend explaining to people the tragic story of how I lost my pants?!
When I walked into the BiSC registration suite, my palms were slicked with sweat and I felt more naked than I ever have in my life. However, when I looked around everyone was laughing, smiling and tackle hugging. I instantly felt better! Some people even knew who I was and said they were looking forward to meeting me! Some of the bloggers even wanted me to pose for photos. Yes, ME! I couldn’t believe it. Soon everyone gathered around and wrote their Twitter handles on their forearms so we’d all remember each other. They even gave me one! Bloggers in Sin City had just started and I already felt like I was part of the gang.
The next day was pool day. Given my current wardrobe situation, public swimming pools make me a bit nervous. Especially when I walked through the gates and immediately saw a sign that said “Proper Swimming Attire Required” It’s hard to find a decent swimsuit when your underwear is fused to your body. I’m glad I pushed through my fear though because pool day was actually a lot of fun.
The only thing that made me mad was when a guy named “Rocco the Sex Criminal” came up behind Simone and started grinding his man parts into her without asking. When he pinned her against the bar and forced her to dance to “Hip Hop Hooray” I balled my fists up in anger. Dude, let her go! She just wants to order a margarita! My battle instinct kicked in and I suddenly wanted to throw a million grenades at Rocco’s eyeballs. However, without any explosives at my disposal, I did the next best thing. I waited until the coast was clear, then I ran over to the Sex Criminal’s cabana and put a bunch of rocks in his shoes. Don’t tell Simone – but, when no one was looking I also peeled off a used bandaid from the bottom of a deck chair and dropped it into his beer. That should teach him!
The weekend was full of doing and seeing lots of interesting things. I went to fake Venice, fake Paris, ate my first In & Out Burger and hit up happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s (I enjoy their reasonably priced drink specials.)
I got glamorous and had delicious cocktails at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, saw Caesar’s Palace, did shots at Gilly’s and went to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” (a real defining moment for me. So many unitards!)
I watched Simone ride the mechanical bull at Gilly’s which was really cool except for the fact that the operator was a pervert and set the bull to the “humping setting.” Once again, I was overcome with the urge to launch grenades into someone’s eyeballs, but instead I talked myself down from the ledge. I told myself “Joe, think of what you learned in anger management class. You’re in Vegas with people who love you. Have a drink and chill” – which is exactly what I did.
I accompanied Simone and some of the other BiSC-uits to the Neon Museum where we saw lots of cool, old signs. While trying to photograph a weird mural of an eagle crying, Simone dropped her iPhone through the chain-link fence of an abandoned lot. I tried my best to help her retrieve it but I was too short. Instead, Simone had to get a broom from the museum while I cheered her on from her purse. In the end, Simone and the broom were victorious!
Although I got to see and do lots of fun things in Vegas, the best part of the whole weekend was the people I met. I made so many new friends. We had lots of good talks, posed for photos together, ate this delicious thing called “Brunch” and had some pretty sick arm wrestling competitions. FYI. I won every time because I’m strong and handsome like that.
At one point during the weekend I had this amazing moment where I realized that this ramshackle family of bloggers liked and accepted me for exactly who I was. I belonged.
At the Farewell Brunch, almost everyone put on wigs and then started talking about their feelings. Hearing everyone tell stories about how much Bloggers in Sin City has changed their lives, gave me ALL THE FEELINGS. There was lots of hugging and crying. I really wanted to hug and cry too, but I don’t have tear ducts. Instead, I passed Simone napkins from the buffet so that her blue wig hair wouldn’t get stuck to her tears.
Simone has told me all about Bloggers in Sin City – the magical friends she’s made there, how Vegas has healed her broken heart and how going to the event has really pushed her to live life fully and be the most authentic version of herself – however, it’s hard to understand the intense feeling of love that permeates #BiSC until you’ve experienced the weekend yourself. BiSC-uits are some of the most creative, hilarious, smart, ambitious, goofy, quirky, loving and supportive people you’ll ever meet. As a guy who recently got separated from his platoon and is going through a bit of a career change, being around this much love, support and positivity was truly magical.
Bloggers in Sin City has taught me that despite my size, my heart is huge and expansive, with enough room to accommodate 68+ “strangers” and then some. From congo lines, roller-coasters, mechanical bulls and swimming pools, to flying across the country to meet people I’d never met before – I’ve learned that it’s OK to be myself and that I shouldn’t be afraid of the fun things in life.
Whether you’ve had a bad day, or you find yourself floating in a pool as your body rapidly fills up with water, being part of this experience means there’s always 70 or so people ready to pull you out of the deep end.
When Simone got up at brunch and said, “You guys are my tribe. You’re my people” – I understood. Even though we are far apart, I am yours and you are mine. Always. Thanks for being part of the best weekend of my life.
Yours in nakedness and ripped biceps,
Joe the Intern.
(I’m on the Twitter now and you can follow me here)