Yes Bob, You do have a choice - The LifeStyles Convention
By Dave Schwartz

I would like to talk to those of you prairie dogging your way through a circumspect life. The guy that always arrives at work at the same time. The gal who eats the same boring lunch at her desk each day. Come on, you know who you are. You’re the one who came across this article "by accident." You’re the one with the business hairstyle and the beige suit working each day in a cube-farm wishing the boss would leave early so you could too. You’ve stolen office supplies and you drive your car too fast. You are Bob Beige, predictable, safe and boring. I know how you feel. We all occasionally stand in front of life’s mirror. It’s a disturbing process of self-evaluation and disgust. But it’s healthy. It forces us to consider alternatives.

And that’s what this is about, alternatives. Now I didn’t write this to complicate your life. But well, you do have a choice to make here. You can continue ripping off office supplies in an ongoing effort to get terminated over that 59 cent manila folder that you’ve stuffed in your bag or you can do something really crazy, something that only your whack neighbors or maybe that long haired co-worker would do!

It should be clear to you that a situation like this calls for a little freethinking, which we both know is a dangerous idea. One minute you’re considering an alternative to fossil fuels and the next thing you know the problems in the Middle East start to subside and my buddy Doug has to junk his ‘57 Cadillac Sedan DeVille! One minute you’re sneaking out of the office on a Friday afternoon at 3 o’clock and the next you’re on your way to the 2005 Lifestyles Convention in Las Vegas!

One of the great pleasures of being a writer is living an experience and then laboring to share that experience, replete with all the hues and haze necessary to bring the story to life. If we do our job correctly the reader is informed. If we screw it up, it comes off like a bad acid trip! We here at DaBelly occasionally meander off the beaten path, but only to push the norm; expand the known. As a writer, I’m paid to consider a world of alternatives. And trust me, I’m using the word paid very loosely here! As a writer, I’m obligated to ask the question, to dig up the detail, to find the answer and "to boldly go were no man has gone before." Al right, now that’s just crazy talk. Ain’t nobody going into space here! I’ll admit that I’ve taken my beatings in the pursuit of the written word. Just ask the administrator of pain, my esteemed colleague and Grand Inquisitor, Naughty Mickie. But I’m proud that so many have read the articles and considered the subject matter and that is often what makes my journey worth taking.

Over the years many of you have followed our visits to the various Lifestyles events. We know because we read your e-mail and answer your questions. Lifestyles has been one of the more popular diversions we’ve featured and because of this, we’ve never been shy about revisiting the topic.

With the convention less than a month away, I sat down with Dr. Robert McGinley, founder of the Lifestyle Organization and new CEO, Dixie Kinnee. In the ever-lasting pursuit of offering a better experience, McGinley and Kinnee have been making subtle changes to enhance this year's summer event. With each coming year, we’ve learned to expect one phrase from the Lifestyles team-- "bigger and better."

The word Vegas means a lot of things to a lot of people. Whether it’s the classic casinos of old Vegas or a more modern resort atmosphere, posh elegance has long been the rule. For the second consecutive year, the summer Lifestyles Convention will be returning to old Vegas and the renovated Stardust Casino. When I asked McGinley’s about returning to the Stardust, his answer was practical.

"One of the reasons is because they have an extraordinary convention center. You can get to it without walking through the casino, as you may recall. Other than that they are extremely cooperative. They are one of the most cooperative groups that we’ve ever worked with."

Discretion has always been a vital concern of the Lifestyles team. Each year they strive to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for the convention attendees, as well as the other hotel guests. As conventions go, it is important to point out that this a social rather than working environment. Days are spent lounging at the pool, gambling or attending the various seminars presented by notable guests and the nights are filled with themed dances and parties.

I asked about this year's dance themes.

"This year we have a new look. We have a Hollywood production company producing our event," Kinnee explained. "The production company is doing all four nights. They are providing DJs for all the dances and they’re also providing the lighting. We’ll have four different themes. The first is ‘Naughty School Night.’ The second night, which is also our awards night, is the ‘Tiki Beach Party.’ On Friday evening, our party theme will be ‘Bikes and Babes,’ we’ll actually have Denver's Choppers there. They are carting in four or five of their custom choppers for us. And on Saturday evening it's ‘Feathered Fantasies Masquerade Party.’"

Each year Lifestyles offers a variation on the Masquerade theme and it’s always a favorite of the women.

McGinley continued, "As Dixie said, [Thursday] is also the awards night. Each year we give the annual Lifestyles Award. We’ve been doing this for many years and we’ve always picked someone, a publication or an organization that we feel has contributed greatly to the promotion and understanding of human sexuality. Some of the people we’ve given the award to over the years have been legends. This year we’re going to make an award posthumously. The award is going to Dr. Alfred Kinsey. We have been in contact with the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and they’re going to display the award."

Kinnee continued with a rundown of activities. This year Lifestyles has once again taken over Stardust’s East Tower, "On the penthouse floor there are three major suites, The Presidential, Senator's and Governor's. Each night there will be three hospitality parties and they will be hosted be a different club or resort. And that will be a controlled event, you won’t even be able to get on the elevator without the proper wristbands."

During the day Lifestyles also offers a complete roster of seminars designed to educate and titillate. A variety of topics are skillfully presented. During the nights a sense of adventure is your only bounds. There are many activities offered and I suggest anyone who’s interested to click on the link at the end of the article.

Over the past several years Lifestyles has grown to be more than just the Las Vegas convention. What started as a travel agency that catered to adult destinations, has blossomed into a cluster of companies that satisfies specific needs. Several years back, McGinley and crew opened the Desires Resort & Spa on the Mexican Riviera. I asked McGinley how the resort was doing.

"It’s going fantastic and before this year is over, there are going to be some very incredible announcements in that direction. The Desires Resort is doing very well and in addition to that, our travel agency, Lifestyles Tours and Travel, is primarily responsible for the success of the Hedonism Resorts and of course we are going to continue with the Hedonism Resorts as well."

Earlier this year Lifestyles hosted the "Spring Beach Bash" in Ft. Lauderdale Florida and coming up in September they’re hosting the International Convention in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

"We are pretty excited about that," McGinley beamed. "We have been working in Mexico now for close to two years building quite a following. There are many Mexican couples involved in this lifestyle, but it has taken a while to build an email and mailing list for this event. We have hosted a convention before at the very exclusive Acapulco Princess Hotel, but this will be our first real large convention. It’s a takeover of the 300-room Qualton Club Resort, which is right on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. The hotel is built like a U with the opening toward the beach. The pool area is elevated above the beach and is quite private. That entire pool area will be clothing optional. This is an international event, as we bring Latin and American couples together. And it’s a combination tour and convention. Through Lifestyles Tours and Travel we are offering a one-week hotel takeover. The first several days’ couples are encouraged to experience all that Puerto Vallarta offers. Then, starting on that Thursday through Sunday, is the convention. So anyone purchasing that one-week takeover also gets the convention. And then there’s something that is really unique, not all of the details are complete, but we are working to finish. Besides Puerto Vallarta being one of the favorite vacation destinations in Mexico, it’s also an art colony. There are many art galleries all within walking distance from the downtown area. So what we’ve done is contact the galleries and we are coordinating an art walk. Now this is not a part of our convention, but it will be going on at the same time as our convention. It will be promoted all over the city for everyone to attend. The object, of course, is to build a broader following for Lifestyles throughout the region."

The growth of the Lifestyles Organization has been remarkable. McGinley and Kinnee were proud to mention that convention sales this year are up 30 percent from previous years. I asked if they felt this was due to mainstream America gaining a better understanding of the lifestyle or if it was more a case of "regular" couples discovering the convention.

"Obviously we are a business and we’ve got to make money to stay in business," McGinley said. "But beyond that we have always had a vision and that vision has been to affect our culture. This may seem like a fool’s dream, but nonetheless that’s who we are and part of our intent. And part of the intent is to seriously make the idea of what used to be called an alternative lifestyle more mainstream, we want to bring the two closer together so that human sexuality is not so frowned upon. Doing things like giving artists who do erotic work a venue, a place to show their work and making the public aware of it is all part of what we do. We have two objectives, as a business we try to make money and secondly to have a cause and effect that is positive from our viewpoint on our society. I think we are gaining ground in that direction and there is a very important point. We have never marketed the Lifestyles Convention as a swinging convention, it is obvious that a great deal of our participants are into swinging, but others are people who just like the freedom of the idea dressing sexy and going out. Many women, for example, are not into swinging, but they can go to the pool and sunbathe topless if they want and they love it."

Kinnee continued the thought, "As a woman I think this is important to share. You are safer at a Lifestyle event than you are going to a bar somewhere because if you say no at a Lifestyle event, no means no. I believe that women, for the most part, are treated with a great deal of respect. Far more than going to a bar. We always provide security and a nice clean, safe environment for all of our customers."

Over the years, our encounters with the Lifestyles Organization have been truly rewarding. They have taught us and surprised us, but more importantly they have allowed us to teach and surprise ourselves. They have allowed us entrance, however briefly, into worlds that we hadn’t considered. And each year, without fail we walk around the convention like so many others, with a foolhardy grin on our faces.

"We’re giving people a choice." Kinnee concluded.

And now, some 2,100 words into this article, you're asking yourself what you should do. You can be Bob Beige the rest of your life and no one would fault you for that. After all, you are saving at least $10 a year ripping off office supplies. Or there’s the alternative. It should be clear to you that a situation like this calls for a little freethinking, which we both know is a dangerous idea. But still in the back of your mind you remember that ad you saw on TV, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!"

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