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Ode to the Vegas lady

Desert Companion's 2014 Best of the City issue is on its way! Included among the blurbs on the best food, culture, shopping and lifestyle amenities are a few writerly odes to superlative aspects of Las Vegas. Until the February edition arrives, here's a bonus ode to whet your appetite.

Perhaps your first thoughts when contemplating the women of Las Vegas are of barely 21 tourist babes tugging at their miniskirts and teetering on their platforms. Or the cocktail waitresses of the high-end casinos, with their push-up bras and eternal quest for a pair of comfortable high heels. Or the trophy wives with their whipped-up hair and worked-out glutes. But the most exalted figure in our female pantheon is what the French might call une femme d’un certain age, and whom I have always called The Vegas Lady. Somewhere past 50, probably even 60, but still maintaining her aura of mystery and style, she embodies the mixture of glamour, independence and can-do/gotta-do spirit that it takes for a woman to survive and thrive in Sin City.

She could be sitting in a lounge in North Las Vegas, wearing a tailored jacket and discreetly glittering jewelry, a fedora tipped over one eye, the gloss of her perfectly manicured nails shining in the glow of a straight flush on her video poker screen. Or perhaps she’s walking to a bus stop downtown, a bit of sashay and a hint of spring still in her step, dressed in a snappy leopard-print trenchcoat and Jackie Onassis sunglasses.

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But even more than a fabulous outfit, the Vegas Lady has a backstory. That old dame with the blue rinse and bedazzled jogging suit may well have a few tales that will enchant and amaze you. She could be the first lady dealer or the last surviving showgirl, perhaps a made-man’s moll or a senator’s ex-wife — maybe a businesswoman who went from bootlegger to restaurateur, keno runner to casino owner. Next time you see a group of older ladies at the casino coffee shop, clustered over a round of pie and light ’n’ sweet coffees, give them a smile — and slow down as you pass, in case you can catch a story about the days of Frank or Elvis. 



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