In 2007, I was on tour with a children’s show out west. We were in Vegas for several days over Thanksgiving (we had Thanksgiving dinner in the Paris casino. It was weird.) My cast mate and I had obtained passes to get into the Hard Rock club and on a night when everyone else was spent, we decide to go dancing there. That was where I met the Rockstar.
We were dancing on the main floor. Suz, my cast mate, and I were having a blast dancing with each other and having some drinks. I was very helpful at finishing hers because she isn’t a big drinker. We had dressed cute, not planning on anything spectacular happening, we just wanted to dance. We were shaking our asses up on this platform when this guy came up to us and started flirting. We went along with it and he asked us if we wanted to go to the VIP area. When in Vegas, when you hear the words VIP, you go. He said he was with his band and they had bottle service upstairs on the balcony.
Dancing with ourselves
When we got up there, it was clear it wasn’t like a Jay Z-Beyonce VIP section, it was merely a few bottles of vodka and mixers on a table overlooking the dance floor. But it was free. There were already plenty of scantily clad girls up there so Suz and I were extremely confused how we got invited but we proceeded to have a drink and continued dancing. We were soon interrupted by this boy who came up and started grinding on me. I have never really enjoyed the stranger grind so I kind of shimmied away until he realized he probably should introduce himself first. He said he was the lead singer of the band and asked us what we were doing in Vegas. We told him we were on tour with “Babes in Toyland” and he told me that he did that show in elementary school. It was a cute coincidence. Suddenly, this humping stranger seemed more attractive. Well, he already was. The perfectly spiked gelled hair of the prime Blink 182 days and a half way unbuttoned collared shirt. He was a prime Tiger Beat dreamboat. And we kept on dancing.
View from “VIP”
When Suz and I realized how late it was and we needed to catch a cab back to the hotel, Rockstar pulled me aside and asked how long we were in Vegas. We had about two more days. He said they had a few more and asked what I was doing the next night. Surprised, I said I was free and he asked for my number and if he could take me out. He had mentioned he had lived in Vegas, though currently was in Utah, and knew part of the town I wouldn’t normally see as a tourist. A little buzzed and extremely flattered, I accepted. He promised to call me.
Rockstar and myself in the classy “VIP”
He called me. He asked which hotel we were at and came to pick me up. I told my cast mate I was rooming with to keep her phone on and I wouldn’t be late and I would text her every 20 minutes. She walked me out and met Rockstar and made me promise to keep in touch the entire evening. This was one of the stupidest, smartest things I had ever agreed to. But the tour overall was a big adventure for me and again, when in Vegas…
I got in his car and we drove up and off the strip. We were heading to a housing development up on this huge hill. He parked the car on a cliff overlooking Vegas. It was a thin strip of twinkling lights surrounded by nothing but deep blackness and desert stars. It was breathtakingly quiet and beautiful.
A few minutes after we had gotten there, Rockstar got out of his car and picked me a few wildflowers. He got back in the car, smiling, and handing them to me said, “I didn’t have a second to get you flowers so this will have to do.” They were pretty little purple blossoms. I told him these were even better than some store bought bouquet. I still have them pressed in a book somewhere.
From there, we just talked. He told me about his family, his life, his band. I told him about mine. We started talking about music and our dreams. This kid could talk music like my dad and brother can. His passion for it was glowing and vibrant. He lit up when talking about the bands he had been in and how his current band was going to make it. And he truly believed it. It wasn’t just a dream, it was a reality that he was going to make happen. It was inspiring. He turned it to me, telling me how I was living my dream and I needed to value it. It was in that moment that I realize “Fuck yes, I am living my dream. I am in a car overlooking Vegas and leaving in a few days to drive up the coast to perform for kids in places I’ve never been.” It was one of those moments you want to freeze and hold onto.
‘Long Day’ by Matchbox 20 came on the radio. At the same time, we screamed, “Oh my god, I LOVE THIS SONG!” followed by laughter and belting the song at the top of our lungs in the car. I had never even heard it on the radio so it seemed like a mini miracle. We knew every word. When it ended, the song following it was disappointing so Rockstar went into this backseat and grabbed a CD holder and found the Matchbox 20 album and we played the song again. Track 3. Over and over again. We started harmonizing and creating a duet. It was the kind of shit you can’t write or that you do write and wish would happen in real life. Then he kissed me. Respectively, gently, sweetly. A kiss that was very unrockstar but very welcomed. And pretty damn fantastic.
He drove me back to the hotel. Kissed me again outside my room. Made sure I kept my flowers and told me he wanted to keep in touch with me. After a few days back on the road, it was clear he meant it. He texted me throughout his tour and I texted back. We would call each other at night and just talk for an hour or so before we went to sleep. We shared tour stories and bitched about tour mates that annoyed us. Suz was real into it because she had thought Rockstar was sweet and my other cast mates thought it was surprising but adorable the date was so fantastic and we kept it going.
He asked me if he could come see me in New York when I was done tour. He had never been to the Big Apple and wanted to experience it through someone who lived there. I said, “Sure, why not? It would be a blast!” I had this cute boy pursuing his dreams that thought I was the bees knees. I was also returning home to pieces of a broken heart from a recent break up so I was beyond thrilled to come back with a man to brag about. But, again, what happens in Vegas should really just fucking stay there.
Rockstar came to New York. He stayed with me. He bought me a Tiffany’s bracelet because I had told him of my love for Tiffany’s and that I had never owned any thing from there. It was extremely sweet and touching and probably the last moment of normalcy. In the few days he was here, it was very clear he was actually more of a rockstar than I wanted. He was a drunk, he was loud, and he had a very odd religious and conflicted past that became clear when he kept mentioning Mormons and Park City and how his family and him don’t speak any more. He complained about his band and how he quit and was pursuing a solo career. In a matter of months, everything I thought I knew about this kid had flipped or…OR he had just been lying the whole time and I had fallen for it. The latter is most likely.
Rockstar left New York after drunkenly telling me he loved me. I mumbled I love you back and immediately felt dirty for lying and saying words I valued on someone I clearly didn’t. We kept calling each other and he was starting to be sweet and normal again until he got angry at me that I couldn’t afford to come to Utah to see him. He used everything he had done and said to me against me, making me feel guilty for not being ‘there’ as he wanted me. Then he said he didn’t want to talk to me any more. I was upset for about a day and then I was fine with it, especially after my friend told me when we were out playing pool together, Rockstar kept grabbing his ass. I think Rockstar had some inner struggles he was dealing with and needed to come to terms with.
A few weeks after this ‘breakup’, I was remembering our perfect first date and called him to get closure. It had ended badly and I really had enjoyed having this boy to talk to during the tour and he kept me company and made me feel wonderful when I was hating myself. He helped me appreciate it what I was doing with me and who I was. So I called him. A guy answered in the worst British accent I had ever heard. The conversation proceeded like so:
Me: Um, Mark?
Bad British: Sorry, no. This is…uh… Colin.
Me: Ok. Um, is Mark there?
Fake Colin: No. I don’t know Mark. This is my number.
Me: Interesting because this guy Mark had this number a few days ago. You sure you don’t know him?
Fake Colin: Don’t know him. This is my number. I live in England
Me: So you live in England but have a Utah number?
Fake Colin: (long pause) Yes. I lived in Utah. But now I live in England
Me: Ok. Well, Colin, as someone trained in dialects, I think you need a little bit of work on your accent but great try. I gotta go.
I waited a few days and tried again. Same story. Different name, same bad British accent. It became clear this Rockstar was not going to be mature so I gave up. A few years later, I get a Myspace message on my page that I forgot I even had. It was from Rockstar. He asked how I am and apologized for his ‘friends’ faking accents (I am sure it was all him) and told me he was getting engaged. Yay? I just responded with congrats and that it was fine and I was pissed at the time but I appreciated the apology.
That was the last of Rockstar I’ve heard. I hope he is happy with his life because he helped me be so happy in that moment in mine. I don’t let what happened after ruin the perfect first date I had. I am glad I took the risk. Yes, he could have killed me in the desert and I’m sorry, Mom, that I went on this date and you probably will give me a lecture later, but as always, I am grateful for the story as I am for all my stories, even if they end in broken hearts. I still have that Tiffany’s bracelet (I mean it’s a 200 dollar white gold bracelet, I ain’t throwing that shit away.)
Reach down your hand in your pocket
Pull out some hope for me
It’s been a long day, always ain’t that right
And no Lord your hand won’t stop it
Just keep you trembling
It’s been a long day, always ain’t that right