Jul. 02, 2007
Breast misting is a delicate art. You don't want to go straight for them. You need to pretend you're equally intrigued by other exposed areas of the body.
"I try and go everywhere," said Travis Emmons during my training. "No concentration."
As the "mood director" at Tao Beach, which opened on May 5 at The Venetian, it's Emmons' responsibility to stroll the deck in search of sun-worshippers who are insufficiently moistened. On a searing June afternoon, about 20 of them were attractive women who won't be sporting tan lines until August.
"It's not that big of a deal," said the 22-year-old with a mullet haircut and a case of SPF 50 sunscreen. "I'm born and raised here, so I've known about these European-style pools. This just happens to be one.
"It's not why I took the position or anything."
Emmons, a Western High School graduate who hopes to own his own nightclub one day, said his main job is "just to make sure everybody has a good time."
That's why he lent me his party hat.
"Nobody else gets to wear the hat," he explained.
For Emmons, misting topless babes may not be a big deal. For me, it's more action than I've seen at one time in my entire life.
"It feels so good," said one, who refused to give her name, as I put my Misty Mate personal mister to work. Mood directors fill it with 16 ounces of the ice melt-off from a cooler behind the bar.
This sure beats the hot-tar roofing I did last week.
"Oh, please," the woman continued, cupping the underside of her breasts to prop them up.
This is more graphic than some of the adult films I've ordered in hotel rooms (I mean that my friends tell me they've ordered).
Mist works because of a process called evaporative cooling. (Please enjoy the science lesson. I think we both could use some cooling off.)
"When that fine droplet of water comes in contact with your skin, heat transfers from your skin to that water," explained Dr. Lawrence Tirri, professor of biochemistry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Then the water evaporates and cools your skin."
It's the same process that makes both sweat, and swamp coolers, work.
"But I don't think you're going to feel any more than 5 or 6 degrees of difference," Tirri said.
Come to think of it, neither sweat nor swamp coolers work either.
"Come on, let me show you," Emmons said, motioning toward the entrance, away from the deck. This occurred after he answered a two-way radio call requesting that he "run a table."
"When people get to the front door, I introduce myself and introduce them to the waitress," he explained. "I'll tell them about all the amenities. Then I check on them and make sure they're happy."
I wasn't budging. Although aerosolizing water for the chilling of breast skin is not a mood director's only responsibility, I informed Emmons that I required a much more thorough understanding of its intricacies before moving on. Weeks of research, possibly, lay ahead.
I approached Kayla, 28, of Huntington Beach, Calif., by the pool. At Oceanside High School on Long Island, N.Y., this voluptuous blonde would not have looked at me. On this 105-degree Sunday, however, there was longing in her eyes (in addition to blue contact lenses).
"I already told you -- misting is not a big part of my job," Emmons said, growing annoyed at my narrow focus. "It's mostly hosting and promotion."
Emmons was hired by Tao Beach after busing tables at Jet at The Mirage last year.
"But, by day, I promoted the club," he said earlier. "I'd hit the streets and try to meet people. And in that, I learned a lot about different ways to spark conversations casually."
The most essential requirement for a mood director, Emmons said, is being "someone who everybody likes."
This has never been a specialty of mine.
"What the (expletive)?" asked the guy seated under an umbrella at day bed No. 50, directly behind Kayla.
The last straw for my misting career began when I could not adequately reach Kayla -- even after pumping up the Misty Mate for added pressure. There is another way to increase its range, which Emmons showed me earlier, and that's to render the device itself topless. When the attachment that distributes mist in all directions is removed, the pressure increases to near Bellagio-fountain strength.
However, this move is for professionals only.
"Dude, you soaked those guys!" Emmons said. (Mis-misting, by the way, is one of the only ways guys can get misted at Tao Beach.)
Umbrella people are never to be misted, much less hosed down.
"I'll take my party hat back," Emmons said.
One week after my stint, Tao Beach's co-owners decided to require tops on all female sunbathers.
Fear and Loafing appears every Monday in the Living section. Levitan's previous adventures can be found at www.fearandloafing.com.