The standard stag party is both better and worse than you think.
Springtime in these United States means one thing: Wedding season! And, despite movies like The Hangover and Wedding Crashers reminding us that guys can have fun at weddings too (hello hotel room sex), most of us dudes only get amped about getting married because of the accompanying bachelor party.
The bachelor party is a time-honored male tradition right up there with knowing you can beat your dad in a fight, "exploring one's own body" for the first time and taking your first girlfriend for granted. That is, it's a seminal moment in a fella's life, in which everything that follows will be completely and irrevocably different.
Perhaps because of the perceived dread at "having one vagina for the rest of your life," women sometimes imagine the absolute worst of a stag party. And it's not, typically, justified.
Despite the "anything goes when it comes to bros" nature of a film such as The Hangover, there are some general, unspoken rules to an American bachelor party.
1. An invite to a bachelor party in no way, shape or form implies an invitation to the wedding. Sometimes, an invitation to the wedding is not actually appreciated.
2. Gluttony shall be indulged in. Rich food, booze and the like will be used to excess.
3. A strip club will be visited. It's tradition, but not to worry. Actual sex is typically outside of the budget of most partygoers.
4. The bachelor shall be embarrassed but looked after. If everyone has a humiliating story, fine. If a spanking from an exotic dancer is what the bloodthirsty Romans want, then they will be entertained. However, the bachelor will be protected from injurious, legal and moral hazards. Generally, some of the big man's sundries will be covered by the crew.
5. Boys will be boys. When a bunch of dudes get together, they have to compete over something. It may be gambling, golf, a hoops tournament or endless games of beer pong. When dudes get together, they like to crank some adrenaline, establish dominance and spontaneously challenge guys to a chicken fight.
6. Money will be spent. Bachelor parties typically involve group outings. The aforementioned drinking, eating, gambling and strip club visit will cost some coinage. Even if the scratch runs a touch high, everyone will pony up with minimal grumbling.
7. To have fun, you must travel. There's something about shenanigans that just go down better out of town. Hangovers seem a little less vicious from a motel bed. Not very many cities in these United States fit the bill (nightlife, gambling, great food, etc.): New Orleans, Las Vegas and Miami are the best options, in that order. If a fella wants to go to Reno, Tijuana or Thailand, you have license to worry.
8. Terrible things will be said. When a bunch of dudes get together, the language gets salty and the insults get creative. Manhood will be challenged, physiques will be ridiculed in a manner that is degrading, non-long-term sexual conquests will be discussed and regular check-ins with home base will be fodder for jokes with whip crack noise punchlines. And many sentences will begin with, "You know how I know you're gay?"
When this Lord Of The Flies episode ends, we will behave like solid citizens after our sleep gets back on schedule, and you'll have back your old, reliable husband, fiancé or boyfriend.
Please keep the Las Vegas motto in mind when you need the actual, factual details of the weekend, and remember that dumb sh*t happened, not terrible sh*t.