An Inside Look at Bachelor Parties

What really goes on when the guys are alone



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This is a wedding magazine. My job is to write about the bachelor party, ostensibly for the grooms and groomsmen out there. Let’s be honest, though: men aren’t buying this issue.

Weddings are and should be about women. That’s because most men don’t spend their adolescent years sketching elaborate tuxedos in their diaries, dreaming of the day they’ll get to wear one as they march down the aisle.

The only way men will get a hold of this article is if: (a) The bride assigns it to be read; (b) The mother of the bride assigns it to be read—or…(c) Someone else got to the Sports Illustrated in the dental office first.

Still, even if weddings are all about the bride, the men do have a minor role in the event. You’ll have to show up, comb your hair, and wear that rented tux. Your reward for doing this, the payoff for being an afterthought, is all supposed to be delivered in advance: at the bachelor party.

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It is believed that the bachelor party evolved from a customary dinner that Spartan soldiers would throw for the groom on the eve of his wedding. Apparently, after a few months, even the Spartans got bored with this ritual, and somebody interrupted dinner by shouting, “Hey Stavros, get the projector. I got some porn videos we can all watch to celebrate Demetrius’s commitment to lifelong love and respect for the woman he cherishes!”

Of course, watching explicit pornography to validate a man’s love for one special woman doesn’t make much sense, but it’s a hallowed tradition—perhaps because it’s become one of the only times men can admit to watching such cinema. And there are other bachelor-party rituals that seem to have stood the test of time. Toasting, for example. Today, that honorable outpouring of love and respect usually entails highly concentrated spirits poured into tiny glasses and then rapidly ingested by all in attendance.

Afterwards, there’s typically a need for a little fresh air. This need, combined with man’s hunter-gatherer tendencies, means one thing: road trip! Today, bachelor partiers roll in gargantuan chariots around town, metaphorically symbolizing the travels that life’s questions bring. Ultimately though, life’s questions are answered succinctly with two words: strip club!

In these bastions of masculine lore, the groom and his men once again celebrate two of the central themes in men’s lives: (a) Love of the female form; (b) The abiding adolescent desire to hoot and holler at it.

Very often, a special ceremony is planned in which the groom is joined on stage with one or more of the interpretive performers, who then proceed to simulate ritual mating acts accentuated with aerosol whipping cream, handcuffs, and/or colorful feathers. And his comrades customarily will document the evening through crude photography that will then be shared liberally with the wedding guests. Aah, friendship!

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Somewhere during the evolution of the bachelor party, however, the bride and/or her mother decided that such goings-on for the groom and his cretin acquaintances were not acceptable. Somehow, they seized control of the bachelor party and replaced it with an aberration known as “The Jack and Jill Party.” What’s that? The answer depends on whom you ask. To the organizers, it’s a co-ed get-together where the couple is showered with practical gifts for their home. To the drunken male reprobate, it’s the end of the world.  However, we must admit, the risk of hospitalization, incarceration, or complete humiliation is lower when passed mini-soufflés replace the more traditional Jello shots.

Still, we men deserve the bachelor party; we deserve to celebrate the waning days of independence with our best buddies. But there’s a way to party like a guy without causing lasting matrimonial damage. (Brain damage, I’m afraid, comes with the territory.) Don’t measure a bachelor party by the number of warrants issued, stomachs pumped, or women objectified; measure it by the wistful smile and knowing nod for a soon-to-be married fellow who is sent home at the end of the evening knowing his friends care about him and wish him luck. And then slip the limo driver an extra C-note and head with the gang into the city, because Scores is open all night.


Tom Schreck’s funny murder mystery, On The Ropes, A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery, debuts in September. He invites you to visit www.tom




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