Ladies, you might be surprised to learn that bachelor parties are not always fun. In fact, they can be rather grim. Your fiancé might actually prefer the comforts of your delicate embrace over a wild night of mindless drinking and poorly thought out choices.
I’m sure that seems counterintuitive to most. The point of a bachelor party is to run amok one last time before emotional dependence, moral imperatives, and legal requirements force you to rein it in. No more late nights or “unread” text messages. More importantly, no more secrets. I assume that’s why this noble tradition started, to give men a chance to get every last moronic impulse out of their system before the end times.
In the mind of the average engaged straight male, a bachelor party is supposed to be a lot like The Hangover, except without the omnipresent gunplay (or maybe with, depending how far deep in the American South you are.) It has to be, right? In order to do what society demands of you (i.e., ceasing to do dumb shit after 7:00 PM) you have to engage in a variety of self-indulgent, self-destructive acts and cram it all into one night.
Invariably, disappointment will set in when the threshold of enjoyment is so high. If it’s not the “most insane night of your life,” then it’s a massive failure that can only be corrected if you are unlucky enough to have to get married more than once.
My bachelor party was spent inside a smoke-filled casino on the California/Nevada border. If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing a porous, tourist-trap state border, I highly recommend it. Each state puts their best foot forward to express their unique cultural advantages. The California side of the border emphasizes ski resorts, cabin-themed hotels (not actual cabins), and reasonably priced restaurants. The Nevada side is just there to cater to your every lascivious whim. There’s a smattering of casinos, a few ostentatious sports bars, a hookah lounge — which seemed to have a strict policy that required patrons to be wearing backwards visors and cargo shorts at all times — and convenience stores that sells aspirin, large bottles of water, and flip-flops, i.e. everything you need to have a great time in Tahoe.
The casino in question, a delightfully casual spot called Harveys (such a rebellious establishment that they don’t use apostrophes), had a litany of drinking options — bars, in-hotel convenience stores that sold $7 loosies, the deceptive “free drinks” on the casino floor, and my personal favorite: the celebrity-themed nightclub experience. Harveys sports a little joint called Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina. Spend a few hours with your pals in Cabo Wabo Cantina, and you might get the impression that the human race is going to do just fine because true love is real and everyone is hooking up all the time. Tongues were doing things to other tongues that tongues physically should not be able to do. Some of these make-out sessions I observed looked like they might devolve into a competitive headbutting contest, they were so violent.
The question for the groom-to-be in these situations is, “What am I doing here?” Gymnastic make-outs are not in the cards. Drinking until I black out isn’t as appealing as used to be. The cover band playing 80s metal hits rendered talking impossible. I ended up standing at the bar, sipping a tepid Bud Light from a fucking plastic cup until I decided enough was enough. Sure, that’s probably not what Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar had in mind when he designed his chain of Cabo Wabo Cantinas. He probably wanted people like me to take off their shirts and hump everything in sight while pausing occasionally to do body shots off a barely legal waitress. Sorry, Sammy. I blew it, brah.
My bachelor party just made me feel lonely. Watching all those drunk maniacs sucking face like they were trying to find a contact lens in someone else’s mouth simply highlights the fact that most people who don’t have to hunt for their food use most of their free time trying to mate. We’re constantly grasping for affection in any way we can get it. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a shitty casino bar, in the back of a mini-van, or in the bathroom of a Cheesecake Factory, as long as the other person is breathing. I guess my bachelor party reminded me why I’m getting married in the first place. Maybe that’s the point.