To the predator at the pool…

I was in Las Vegas yesterday. For one day. I watched you as you first worked your ways and good looks on a new friend I had met on this girls weekend. A trip to celebrate my best friend’s 50th. A trip that was supposed to be a girls weekend full of good laughs, responsible drinking, nightly entertainment, male attention, and connecting to new friends.

Instead, and not wholly surprising, it was full of excess, inside a shark infested pool.

But, my new friend wasn’t buying into what the predator in you was up to. You thought because of some beer induced meaningful conversation between you that she was interested, and I watched as you circled, flirted, and nudged when you thought no one was looking. But she didn’t ‘need’ you. She also hadn’t lost self control with her drinking to put herself in a vulnerable position to be preyed upon. Not to say that drinking and flirting is predatory, but it was obvious that you were out to get something or someone.

So you waited it out. Waited and drank and told yourself you’re like everyone else here. Drinking and socializing. But I could tell, and without reading your energy, that this was the facade. Your conversations were weighing out who was going to be your next and hopeful victim. Oh, you would’t call it that. But for me, someone who was sober and noticing what she notices, you were sending beacon lights out of what you were up to.

I had stopped drinking hours before. I had my shot of tequila at the airport at 5am. Where we had been up since 3:30am to catch a 6am flight to southern California to meet up with my best friend’s friends I hadn’t met yet in person, and, fly together to Las Vegas. We had champagne, we had food. We had laughter and fun. We had more champagne. But that’s where it stopped for me and I switched to water. This for the rest of the day.

I’m 50. I don’t need to drink to the point of no return to have ‘fun’. I know my stopping point. It isn’t just because I don’t want a hangover. It’s not just because now it would take me 3 days to recover because my body takes longer than most to process alcohol. It’s not just because it would help me to pace myself because I would enjoy the upcoming planned events later in the day and evening. It’s because, I don’t ‘need’ to drink, binge drink, or get drunk, to have fun.

But my best friend didn’t stop. She doesn’t know her limits. This, proven out by another and different trip we recently took together.

The sadness came when it turned out that your next victim would be my best friend.

But my sadness wasn’t just because you had found someone I care about as new prey, it was because I now realize that you were also — hers.

Yes. She had been circling you. That started when she realized some of the attention had gone in another direction. So she switched tactics and started to go to work.

She waited patiently and listened to you at the side of the pool as you tried to impress our other friend who had her wits about her. My best friend came back around a little later when you were by yourself and I watched as she manipulated the information from that prior conversation to her advantage. I saw that you knew exactly what she was doing and so you placated her. You knew she was drunk. And, you knew by what she was doing that you had the advantage.

That’s when my eyes and ears really perked up. You thought no one was watching. You played a little bit of hard-to-get and toyed with her. Your ego was so imbued now by the drinking and the attention that at another point you were taunting her to remove her two piece top from across the pool. You were so much in your element that you openly shared what you thought and what you were doing with those around you.

But I saw you. I saw how my best friend now had become the prey and mistakenly thought she was still in control. She was vulnerable and drunk. Her cards were all out on the table and you had her.

That’s where I stepped in. She was ready to swim over to you and do whatever you wanted with her.

But I stopped her. And, I shared with another friend in the area to keep an eye on you — that she was in too vulnerable a state and you knew it and were preying on her now.

At this point of her inebriation and possible upcoming black out events, we’d tried to subtly stop my best friend. But her drive to get her needs met and to continue with the attention she was getting was too strong of a pull.

She never wavered in her predatory focus. And, you were counting on this. And even though we were successful in getting her back to our side of the pool, you then swam over to claim your prey, with blatant disregard of our voicing what we saw going on.

Did you think just because everyone else in the pool was drinking that there was permission to take advantage? Because you thought everyone else was oblivious, or, that they they weren’t and you didn’t care?

— — — — — — — — — — — — -

I tried to figure out why I felt so disgusted when I left the pool and headed back to my room.

It wasn’t because my best friend was embarrassing herself by having you stand between her legs which were now spread eagle floating atop the water while her back was up against the side of the pool in broad daylight. Or, that her arms were stretched and flailing a bit out of drunkeness trying to keep her balance while you tried to make-out with her and feel her up.

Or, that the people in and outside of the pool looked on in disgust but couldn’t keep their eyes off of you because she was so drunk and vulnerable now.

Or that our friend, who I had warned that you were a predator and playing her, was now clapping at this act, because she was drunk, too?

Or, that I was watching my best friend act out in her desire to be desired, trying to prove that she still ‘had it’ at 50 and a mother of 5?

I wasn’t leaving a vulnerable friend with a predator, I realize now. I left the pool with two predators. One just more vulnerable than the other.

I was torn at the time about leaving her there. But I was so disgusted by the behavior and what was being allowed by anyone and everyone. There was this permission to celebrate it, commiserate about it, watch it. It was important right then that I take care of myself now.

I went back to my room and rested and contemplated leaving. It was our first day in Vegas of a 3 day weekend trip. Could I endure another two days? Another two days of adult women drinking to excess and having screaming matches to one up each other? That were so entangled and attached to one another that they had no boundaries and denied the drama they desperately needed to fill the void in their lives? That professed they were good christians while gossiping and backstabbing and judging others? That were so needy for attention that they MUST be heard? That their opinions were right because they made it so?

Shoot, I had witnessed this same behavior from my best friend in our last trip together and stopped what would have happened there. She was again vulnerable and a young kid was preying on her. And even though she was puking he was still willing to wait it out so he could stick his **** into her.

Here’s the thing. On that prior trip, I felt I was dealing with a drunk (my best friend), AND a predator (the young man). Two separate entities. But I realize now, I was dealing with two of the same kind. One just more vulnerable than the other.

Because of all of this, I had had enough.

I made up my mind.

I packed my things and I left.

And….I never felt so liberated.

Liberated that I had tried to do something, but couldn’t control the situation and at some point had to let it go.

That it was now up to the universe to intervene. (Which I soon found out it did. Thankfully, on this trip she is safe again).

Liberated because I didn’t have to endure a weekend full of babysitting predators in different stages of behavior. Or, having to watch out for the predator in others.

I quit THAT job today.

Our friendship is broken.

But the one I have with myself is stronger than it’s ever been.

#WhatHappensInVegasHappensEverywhere