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THE LAST BACHELOR PARTY * By ZACH SELWYN
Last week, I received an email invitation to the bachelor party for a guy at work I barely know. His name is Nick. He’s 33 and marrying a nurse named Rachel. The wedding is in Woodland Hills in October and the bachelor party was being planned by his younger brother. How I made the bachelor party invite list, I have no idea. Nick and I aren’t particularly close and we barely acknowledge each other on the set of the TV show we work on. We’ve shared a few beers on weekends and a YouTube video or two, but to say we’re even that close would be a stretch. Still, I’m 37. I have two kids under six. I pass out nightly at 9:47 while watching SportsCenter. I pee sitting down at night because it’s more comfortable. I immediately made an executive decision. I am GOING to that bachelor party.
In the not-so-recent past, I would have declined the invitation on sight. However, I am now looking at this bachelor party as my last chance to really do something crazy. Be it Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas or even a local pub crawl around Hollywood, I am GOING. Yes, I am going.
See, amongst my closest friends, my bachelor party is collectively known as the “worst bachelor party of all time.” Celebrated in 48 beer and whiskey-drenched hours in Las Vegas in early Fall, 2004, 15 of my friends from all different times of my life fought over where we should eat, argued about which strip club we should peruse and complained about my lack of participation in the “Bachelor Scavenger Hunt” game they put together a few nights before.
In their defense, it wasn’t their fault. It was MINE. I was so infatuated with my fiancee that I refused to do anything that might be considered crossing the line. I turned down my buddy Ari’s offer to pay $500 for me to have a double naked lap dance from two Russian sisters in a private room where “anything goes.” I decided to turn down the hits of pure MDMA my buddy Derek brought – opting to drink Miller Lite instead. I even had a chance to bite sushi off of the naked body of a gorgeous Japanese woman – but opted to use chopsticks instead. I was a downer the entire weekend – but in my mind I was preserving the sanctity of my upcoming marriage and honoring the woman whose hand I would slip a ring upon.
Now, looking back at that Las Vegas weekend nearly eight years later, I can’t believe how STUPID I was.
Dumb, dumb dumb, stupid dumb. What was I thinking? I guess at the time, instead of enjoying the 21-year-old stripper attempting to grind my crotch into sand during the song Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue, I was thinking about the joy my fiancee and I shared when I proposed to her. When the guys all did shots of a scary looking drink known as an “Adios Motherfucker,” I passed – afraid of puking or getting too drunk and upsetting my fiancee. I was in a protected zone. A zone not unlike the one Ed Helms has in The Hangover films. I was, literally, a huge God-damned pussy.
The point of this story is to kindly offer up advice to all prospective husbands out there planning a big blow-out bachelor party. My advice? Ask your fiancee if you can POSTPONE your bachelor party until you are about eight years into your marriage. Trust me, you need it a lot more than you did a month before your wedding day. If I could gather my buddies again and go BACK to Las Vegas for my bachelor party today? FORGET IT. Those two Russian strippers? Puddy in my hands. Derek’s MDMA? Swallowed. And that naked sushi dinner? Let’s just say I would have been balls deep in yellowtail. I’d give one of my children to have those opportunities again. Because as you get older, become a parent and a responsible adult, those little hedonistic moments you used to take for granted never happen anymore. Case in point? Last Tuesday I literally snuck out of my house after my wife and kids went to bed to go to Yogurtland. FUCKING YOGURTLAND.
Two old college buddies, Ryan and a guy who went by the nickname The Sauce, were behind my “Bachelor Scavenger Hunt.” They created an elaborate list of activities I had to accomplish before the night was through. If I got 75% of them, I’d reach “Legendary Bachelor Status.” 50% meant I was an “Accomplished Bachelor.” 25% meant I was deemed “Worthy.” By the end of the night, I completed 2% of the activities on the list. The worst score in the history of their Bachelor Party game. I was not ashamed back then. I even took pride in my refusal to play along with games like “Grab a Stranger’s Tits.” However, every time I think about my pathetic score, I am dying for a shot at redemption.
The one game I did decide to play along with was called “Bird on a Wire.” It required my using my forearm as a “shelf” of sorts to a girl with large breasts. The boobs rest on your arm like a Falcon on a leather gauntlet preparing to be hoisted into flight. You hold the pose for three seconds and your friends check the activity off of their list. Well, directly following a few beers at a casino bar in the Palms Casino, we found a willing participant. I slid my arm beneath her heaving mammaries and held it for three seconds. My friends applauded. The sheer shame of my activity hung heavily over my head for the rest of the night. So much so, that when the rest of the activities came out, I turned them all down in fear of the guilt I would carry with me forever. Jump in the Caesar’s Palace fountains? Uhhm, no. Start a food fight at a buffet? Forget that. Pose with a fully-clothed girl in the “Reverse Cowgirl” position on top of a limousine? Get the fuck out of here. I had done the “Bird on a Wire” thing, and I was retiring from the game. Disappointed, Ryan and the Sauce mumbled about my lack of participation throughout the rest of the night.
Why men have to engage in the most primitive and testosterone-laden activities as a way to celebrate their upcoming nuptials, didn’t make any sense to me at the time. I thought the women I knew- like my wife – had done it right… They chose a select, mellow location – like vineyard or a boutique hotel in Palm Springs – and treated themselves to massages and five-star dinners . They got their nails and toes done and wisely spoiled themselves while feverishly flipping through US Magazine and gossiping about reality TV. The craziest thing they did was sip Mojitos through “penis straws.”
My friends all wanted to gamble, drink, drug, bang and eat. When my brother caught me texting my wife that I missed her from a bar at 10:30 at night, he promptly took my cel phone and told me I was not allowed to use it the rest of the trip. I was miserable, and only half-wishing that I was in Sonoma County with my wife at a spa retreat. So, I did what I know how to do best: I drank through it.
Don’t get me wrong. Many women out-party the men at bachelorette parties. About three years ago, in Lake Tahoe for a gig with my band, six jiggly 20-somethings streaked across the stage I was playing on while wearing condoms in their hair and t-shirts that read “Buy us a shot, She’s tying the knot!” These grotesque partying wildebeests proceeded to do Jaegermeister shots on top of the bar, flash their shaved Britney’s to everybody willing to take a peak and make out with any college kid able to take his mind away from Beer Pong. It reminded me of the terrific term my old friend, the late comedian Greg Giraldo coined when describing a pack of drunk bachelorettes. He called them “A gaggle of squawking twats with their A Hard Man is Good to Find t-shirts.” Perfect.
At the end of Saturday night at my bachelor party, my old friend Rick threw a punch at my buddy Dave while we were in the after hours shit-show known as “Drai’s.” The argument was over who was talking to the hot waitress first, even though both men were married at the time. It was a weird scene and made everybody uncomfortable – but no one more than me, suddenly forced to break up a fight between a friend from college and a friend from work. Two guys I had known forever, but two guys who were also married. My first thought was, “Why would a married guy even hit on a waitress?” Now, eight years into my marriage, I totally understand. It has nothing to do with actually sleeping with another woman, it has to do with seeing if you can still flirt. It has to do with seeing if you still have GAME. It has to do with hoping that your slight post-wedding weight gain and thinner hairline affects your ability to be desired by someone of the opposite sex. It’s why my grandfather held the country club waitress around the waist while ordering a pastrami sandwich and why my stepfather recently told a hostess at a Mexican Restaurant to “bend over, he was driving her home.”
I cant make this stuff up.
On the flip side of things, it goes the same for my wife and her friends. The women who spent their bachelorette weekends at the spa now have similar thoughts about what they would have done differently as well. I asked my wife what the biggest difference would have been during her wine tasting weekend. Without hesitation she said, “There would have been a lot more cock.” I am so glad we’re married.
Yesterday, Nick’s brother sent out an official group email to the bachelor party. Turns out, he rented a cabin in Big Bear and wants to spend the time hiking, barbecuing and drinking local micro-brews. Nick seemed to applaud the situation, and even sent out a follow-up email stating “Thank GOD were not doing it in Vegas!” I suddenly slunk low in my desk chair. What? No Vegas? What are we gonna do in the woods, trust-building exercises? Fishing? Pinning Weeblos badges on each other? Fuck that.
My one shot at redemption was shattered. My ego deflated. I replied to the email by saying that I had a “family thing” to do that weekend and I couldn’t make it. After all, if I’m gonna go camping, I’m taking my son and daughter with me. I don’t want to go play “Ookie-Cookie” with nine dudes I barely know in a cabin in the woods. To tell you the truth, I was horribly disappointed in Nick. I even emailed him and told him so. I told him that someday he’d look back on his bachelor party and want a re-do. He’d want the strippers and the drugs and the precarious situations. He’d want a memory of a final throw-down together with his friends that defiled humanity as we know it. I urged him to change his plans and go to Sin City. Reno. Even fucking Laughlin. His stance was strong. Big Bear it was.
So, I’m no longer going to Nick’s bachelor party. The sad thing is, after Nick – I don’t have many single friends left. The one wild card is my younger brother, who is still unmarried. If I can convince him to go to Vegas, I might have a shot at reclaiming my manhood. Then again, he’s an outdoorsy guy, so a Big Bear situation might present itself again. Nonetheless, until he gets engaged, I will be forced to celebrate my adulthood with my children, going to the park, the beach and the mall for recreation. I will find my kicks by running on a treadmill rather than “making it rain” at a strip club. And I’ll be cheering on YMCA youth basketball games rather than playing “Quarters” on a barstool.
And if all else fails, there’s always Yogurtland…
ZACH SELWYN * August 23, 2012