Chances are you associate at least one of the following with bachelor parties: tequila shots, strip clubs, bad choices.
The customary bachelor party has come to be understood as a booze-fueled celebration of lecherous behavior, a plunge into the depravity of the male brain. It’s as if the event’s primary purpose is to create stories so scandalous that they can only be shared among other men at poker tables and in man caves for years to come.
But, as I gear up for my own wedding next year, I have to wonder: Do guys really aspire to The Hangover-level debauchery? I know I don’t, but I asked a few of my friends to weigh in.
1. “The whole point of a bachelor party should be the celebration of the groom. It's an opportunity to knock an item off your bucket list with a couple of close friends. For some men, that might mean a night in a seedy strip club, but most guys that I've spoken to would rather skip that kind of night. I actually haven’t been to any bachelor parties yet, but I am helping to plan one now. There is already a lot of talk about how the groom will get a chance to vent any last-minute anxiety or doubts about the rest of his life. At the same time, the bride is out of his league, and he's a really lucky guy. He's definitely going to get a lot of grief for that.”—Val M
"It's an opportunity to knock an item off your bucket list with a couple of close friends."
2. “I like the tradition of the bachelor party, but I don't think of it as one last night as a free man. It's a fun time to get together with your closest friends. I went to my brother’s bachelor party this past summer. He actually didn't want one. He just wanted to go to dinner, but I talked him into getting a boat and going out on the lake with a bunch of guys. We hit up a couple of bars, and didn't go by any traditions or visit any strip clubs. It wasn't anything extravagant, but it was what my brother was comfortable with.”—Zack W
3. “Bachelor parties can often be utterly clichÃƒÂ© and banal, but when elevated beyond the usual tropes, they’re an an excellent opportunity for a guy to make a lasting memory with his friends. Strip clubs are always within reach, but you can probably do better. How many times in your adult life do you have an excuse to climb a mountain with your best friends?”—Matt T.
4. “For the most part, men care more about experiences with their friends and family than they do material possessions. This is why we put so much thought and effort toward planning a bachelor party, but never bother with wedding showers. We would rather share an incredible experience with the people we care about, because the best gift you can give someone is your time. And even though the groom is the most celebrated person during the bachelor party, the reality is that everyone that attends gets to share in the fun as well.”—Scott M.
"We would rather share an incredible experience with the people we care about, because the best gift you can give someone is your time."
5. “What sticks out to me about bachelor parties is the awkwardness. Sometimes you don't know everyone involved, and that can be weird—especially if alcohol and strippers are in the mix. In theory, I get the point of the event, and I see how much fun they could be. I believe that a hypothetical 'last night out' with the guys is a valid reason for celebration. However, I think it should be up to the groom how the celebration is spent. I also think the groomsmen should be respectful of what the groom wants. Forcing him through some kind of unwanted, embarrassing strip club misadventure can be a little rough if he’s not into it.
I didn't have a bachelor party, per se. But I hung out with my buds the night before. We mainly drank and played pool. I was content with that! But, if you decide to go wild, I can only suggest that you be sure to brush your teeth and wipe the glitter trail off your face before you meet up with the entire wedding party. Women are very perceptive!”—Logan W.
6. “At bachelor parties, we talk about a lot of the same shit we talk about any time we have an excuse to hang out and drink entirely too much beer together—just more amplified. You tell a few stories you can't repeat at the wedding, you laugh at each other a little more, and maybe the single guys Facebook-creep the bridesmaids. Then you allow for a few minutes of sincere praise—'She's an amazing woman, you're a lucky bastard'—before you determine that you're the last one awake and pass out on the floor using an inner tube as a pillow.
I've been sworn to secrecy on the good stories, so I'll just say this: The best bachelor parties don't involve The Hangover-style bacchanalia. Most guys I know aren't interested in a Vegas blackout. The last three I've attended have involved cabins in the woods that back up to lakes. We bring fishing poles, fill coolers with good beer, and spend the day throwing frisbees and footballs and grilling eight different kinds of meat. You loosen up, repeat some old stories, tell a few new ones, and further cement the bond that is the sole reason you're all there in the first place. And then you pass out on that inner tube again.”—Mike D.