David Busby illustration
You've got a problem. Months ago, you made a promise to your fiancée that your bachelor party would remain a strictly PG-13 evening (mild violence, adult language), but some of your buddies don't plan on letting you walk down the aisle without earning a merit badge in debauchery.
You don't want to jeopardize your marriage, but you don't want to insult your friends either. What makes this particular predicament so tough is that you've got everything on the line. For your fiancée, whether you keep your promise is an early indicator of how committed you'll be to the marriage. Trust is everything, and she wants to make sure you pass the "smell test" before meeting at the altar.
Second, there's the sacred bond between you and your boys. The bachelor party is just as much a test of loyalty for them. Will you still have time for Steven Seagal Double-Feature Thursdays? Or are you going to be swept away by domestic bliss?
Since the days of ancient Greece, the bachelor party has existed as a way for anxious grooms to purge the tension that builds up before their wedding day. Back then, a wedding party of Spartan warriors would kill a wild boar, roast it over a pit fire and whoop it up all night with jugs of 200-proof grape juice. In the 1950s, they called them stag parties, where fat cigars, dry martinis and a shaky movie projector were standard fare. And the '70s? Well, they were too freaky to talk about.
In the modern age, bachelors have the legacy of Hollywood to measure themselves against. Victory is claimed when the evening rivals the chaos and crassness of films like Porky's, Bachelor Party and, most recently, The Hangover. Men see bachelor parties as a night to reject decent society and crown the most idiotic Idiot King. Anything that involves property damage, fire extinguishers and a night in jail automatically makes for a better evening. And also, quite often, there are strippers.
Strippers may be the "secret saucy" that make a bachelor party the stuff of manly legend, but they are also the icebergs that can snap your Titanic wedding plans right in half. You see, for some women (dare I say, most women), any kind of intimate contact with naked strangers is a deal breaker. The final straw. Game over.
That means you have a decision to make. Lucky for you, it's an easy one.
You choose your wife. You side with the woman who is going to wake up next to you every morning and curl up next to you on the couch every night. You do that because you're the one who got down on one knee and talked her into all this mess. The very least you can do is keep your inner dog on a short leash for one night (and every night thereafter).
"My buddies aren't going to like this," you say? That's why I've prepared some solid strategies for defusing their disappointment:
1. Get practical. Adult entertainment ain't cheap. Argue that instead of just tossing away crumpled twenties like confetti, they should spend their money on a fancy steak dinner, a night of poker or great seats at a ball game or concert.
2. Get competitive. Trash-talk your way into a weekend golf game, basketball tournament or paintball showdown.
3. Get emotional. In your best Braveheart-esque speechmaking voice, tell them this is "my night, my rules." Tell them you've finally found the love of your life, and there's no way that you're going to lose her over one night of lewdness.
If none of these tactics work, you'll have to resort to what I call "running away." I know it's hardly a foolproof plan, but at least you'll be able to say "I do" with a clear conscience.