Bachelor parties Guys, rum, and strippers what more can you ask?

We've all seen Bachelor Party, right? You know the one: Tom Hanks acting all crazy, hookers and mistaken identities, coked-up donkeys, etc.

Nobody I know really has the cash for renting out fancy hotel rooms, but beyond that particular stumbling block, that movie sets something of a gold standard for the quantity of insanity that every good bachelor party needs.

There exist innumerable options for the groom's going-out fiesta. I've heard of rafting trips and gambling junkets and sporting events and the like. But somehow, everyone I know ends up throwing identical bachelor parties all with the same three ingredients: a bunch of guys, Bacardi 151, and strippers.

BUNCH OF GUYS This seems pretty obvious, I know, but you can't underestimate the effects of girl-lessness on a herd of boys. It's something like a one-day fraternity– you've got a lot of catching up to do– but it looks more like high-school football practice. Feats of strength, drunken macho posturing, newcomers forced to run a shoddily formed gauntlet, etc. Even the most latent barbarians fully bloom into what you'd call total assholes on any other day of the year.

BACARDI 151 Bacardi 151 is never, ever a good idea, and its popularity astounds me. At a recent friend-of-a-friend's bachelor party, the 151 flowed freely, both for drinking and fire-breathing purposes. Thirteen of the 17 gentlemen present barfed by the end of the evening (including one who was rescued from soiling a tent in the nick of time when he was found frantically pawing at the door and slurrily moaning "Get me out of this dome..."), making the casualty rate an astounding 76 percent.

(It's no coincidence, I suppose, that the Oxford English Dictionary traces "bachelor party" back to 1922, where its connotations include "binge," which, in turn, is defined as "a heavy drinking-bout; hence, a spree." When I think "heavy drinking-bout," I think Bacardi 151, and maybe Southern Comfort, too.

STRIPPERS Unlike Bacardi 151, strippers are always a good idea. Not because they're particularly pleasurable or fun– honestly, I find the whole concept medium-repulsive– but because having a stripper around is always a fantastically awkward experience. Never underestimate the bonding potential of a solid dose of awkwardness from time to time.


Example #1: A couple years ago, some buddies and I took up a collection and rented a stripper for our boss' birthday party in a garage. Said stripper rolled up, right on time, and promptly locked her keys in her still-running car. She was sizably freaked out about running the car out of gas in the parking lot, and besides, her portable light show was in the back seat. Nothing that a bent coat hanger and a bit of self-taught backdoor wizardry couldn't fix, of course, and the show went on with minimal delay. Her act came to a hasty end, though, when someone leaned against the garage door opener and flooded the room with a little more light and publicity than strippers tend to be comfortable with.

Example #2: Most D.C.-area bachelor parties, so far as I can tell, wind up at the Camelot, "Home of Washington's Most Beautiful Showgirls." Even the parties that aren't supposed to end up there seem to anyway. But my favorite part isn't the show at all– I like watching the shift change from outside on the sidewalk, particularly the game of picking out who is and who isn't actually a stripper (it's not that hard). Imagine the opening sequence of Metropolis but replace them all with strippers. Then imagine the aforementioned friend-of-a-friend– who may have yelled something along the lines of "she's got her boobies on my head!" during a lap dance– running into that same set of boobies smoking a cigarette out front of the club, and trying to make conversation. How do you talk to a woman whose anonymous and voluptuous bosom just moments ago sat perched on your forehead? I have no idea, and friend-of-a-friend didn't seem to either.


There's always a sense of urgency about a bachelor party because it's the groom-to-be's last chance to reaffirm some nebulous sense of guy-ness. And guys want to go out with an epic party, simple as that.

Thomas Pynchon, in a short story called "Low-Lands," writes of a man named Dennis Flange. This Dennis Flange gets married but doesn't have a bachelor party. His buddies, led by a military man named Pig Bodine, are a little put out and cajole Flange into going out for a beer after the reception. The situation gets out of control and "a beer" turns into a two-week cross-country debacle that ends when the boys wind up lost and penniless and have to take a bus home.

Now that's a bachelor party. Every groom should be so lucky.


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