A popular country song some years ago had a line that said, "The girls all get "purttier" at closing time."
I have not spent any time in bars or taverns except vicariously through film, but I have noticed that the lights are always turned low for the desired ambience. Both girls and guys look better in subdued light. The flaws in skin, hair and other parts are not so apparent. Often when the lights are turned up reality comes crashing through like a rock through a picture window.
Ava Gardner, a bombshell in Hollywood of yesteryear, said about her many marriages, "Men go to bed with the Barefoot Contessa and wake up with me" and it isn't the same.
A furniture dealer once had an ad that asked, "Does you furniture look alright until just before company comes?" I have noticed that furniture in the house looks fine but many flaws are revealed when it is taken out to the yard for an auction. In the glaring sunshine scratches and dings shout "look at me." Missing legs and feet are apparent as are the sagging cushions and worn arm rests. Faded paint and varnish scowl and glower at prospective buyers.
I hate to stand in front of those three way mirrors in the haberdashery store. They show every body and facial fault. My bald head shines like a silver dollar in a mud hole; my face looks like it has worn out three bodies. My stomach looks like I swallowed Jonah and the whale.
Florescent light bulbs cast a pallor on my face and I look like Bettlejuice.
Carnivals look different in the day time. One of the great disillusionments of my youth was going to a carnival in the hot steamy light of an afternoon. The ride jockeys looked dirtier, the rides were dirty and greasy, the dusty ground was littered with paper, the music garrulous, the gas driven generators were louder than a cheap suit; the mystique was gone.
Such is Las Vegas. At night she is a seductive bejeweled woman with shiny lights, hot music, beautiful people who weave through the darkness and shadows like the staff and distaff in a loom. The enchanting sights and sounds reach out like the smooth hands of a masseuse luring passers by inside. Enchanting shepherd's hooks pull unsuspecting sheep into the pen of iniquity.
During the day she is a weather worn hag with her slip showing, an unfiltered cigarette dangles from barn red lips, dirty broken fingernails look like she could snatch a musky out of the lake and carry it off to a mountain crag, a toothless boozy grin and a voice that sounds like a 30 wheeler being dragged down the road by a bulldozer despoil the illusion.
She looks like the counter in a Greyhound Bus station; ripped seats, scratched tables, dirt around the corners and under the tables, chipped paint and worn counters. A naked diurnal Las Vegas does not have the lure of her nocturnal sister.
Larry Vandeventer grew up north of Calvertville, graduated from Worthington High School and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168 or by phone at (317) 839-7656. He has written five books about his experiences.