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The Truth about Bachelor Parties

Or, an Experiment in Too Much Information


An unidentified man we’ll call Papa Smurf is snatched away from his lovely bride-to-be. He is forced to drink Wild Turkey during a six-hour drive through the desert, headed straight for that den of hedonism, Las Vegas. Upon arrival, he is made to dress up in an ill-fitting Elvis-inspired jumpsuit. Silicone-filled breasts are shoved in his face while tourists clamor around for shots with The King. There is no sleep allowed: only booze, and lots of it. Impaired judgment leads him to double-down at all the wrong moments, and his unfamiliarity with the workings of a one-piece jumpsuit, combined with his reluctance to take time out for potty breaks, results in an unfortunate suit-wetting incident. When the weekend is over, he is returned to his fiancée haggard, smelly, and broke.

Who would do such a thing to poor Papa Smurf?

Why, his best friends, of course. This was Papa Smurf’s bachelor party.

While it’s little wonder this male-bonding ritual sends shivers of fear through the hearts of so many Smurfettes, I decided to pump my bachelor friends for the dirt, to determine whether most bachelor parties really are as bad as cultural lore would lead us to believe.

Brainy Smurf shared tale after outrageous tale of debaucherous bachelor shenanigans, including one in which a regulation bowling ball was chained to the groom-to-be’s ankle and left there to be lugged around for the entirety of the weekend-long party. Vanity and Clumsy Smurf were forced to undergo the costume treatment, similar to that which Papa endured during his tenure as Elvis. Vanity was dressed up as Snow White, left on the roadside, and then “rescued,” only to be deposited at a remote Hooter’s where he was forced to take part in a tabletop tango. Clumsy got off easy, ensconced in full-body chicken-suit regalia that hid his face from the curious rubberneckers on Tahoe’s South Shore. Yes, it appears the humiliation factor is an inextricable part of the bachelor party experience, though the Smurfs I interviewed had trouble explaining exactly why. Brainy theorized that “It’s a preview of the demasculization that happens when you get married, a preview of biting your tongue and not saying what you want.” Interesting, and insulting, too.

Regardless, for most Mrs. Smurf-to-Bes, the primary worry has more to do with naked women than with their future hubbies suffering a little (or even a lot of) embarrassment. I asked the Smurfs if strippers are required, and their answers ran the gamut. Brainy Smurf believes they are; in fact, his own brother requested a stripper-free bachelor-party experience — a plea that was taken under advisement and quickly tossed aside in favor of eight naked ta-tas.

But Handy Smurf disagreed, saying, “I think this actually depends on the bride. If she’s comfortable with her sexuality and her man’s fidelity, then yes, strippers are required! If the bride isn’t comfortable, then strippers aren’t worth the trouble. Also, from what I’ve seen, strippers are more for the single friends and unhappily paired men than the groom, who’s typically wishing his friends weren’t such dudes in the first place. Strippers are also a good temptation test for the groom — if he’s too happy about the strippers, maybe he’s not ready [to get married]. If a man can look at a hot naked lady sensually gyrating before him and say, ‘But I love my fiancée,’ then he’s definitely ready.” Strippers as litmus test: that’s a new one. Even the raucous Brainy acknowledged he can understand the fears of worried wives-to-be, but claimed that, in his experience, the stories of grooms engaging in deal-breaking extracurricular activity are akin to tales of Kentucky Fried Rats — the stuff of urban legend. “Bachelor parties are potentially very dangerous — there’s the historical pressure to get crazy, then when you add alcohol and naked women, bad things can happen, but I’ve never been to one where the groom-to-be does something horrible.” Papa Smurf agreed, adding, “Anyone who cheats during his bachelor party is scum.” But let’s just say the groom-to-be looks like he’s considering doing something horrible. Would it be a sin worthy of man-card forfeiture to pull him aside, and suggest that, perhaps, taking part in this unnamed horrible activity might not be prudent at this juncture?

Papa Smurf doesn’t think so. In fact, he believes it’s the duty of the future groom’s cronies to keep him in line — although Papa’s motives are somewhat questionable, and decidedly self-serving. “The groom has a responsibility to have a great time and stay north of the stripper’s pole. Should he start to go south, it’s the job of those present to make sure the wedding goes on as planned. Plus, for those present at the party who have wives, if word got out about some wrongdoings, it would probably please the wives to know that those present helped to quash the situation, versus sitting back and doing nothing about it.” For the record, Papa Smurf is married.

But what, I wondered, is the point? While this question just left Handy Smurf confused (“Point? There’s supposed to be a point?”), Papa and Brainy found plenty to pontificate about, and their eyes lit up when discussing the pros of hanging out in estrogen-free environs. “The point is for all the guys to go out and have fun, period,” Papa said. “This is one of the last trips that the boys do. Once married, trips seem to involve couples more than just the boys. When it’s just the boys, we can eat at buffets, fart excessively, and gamble until the sun comes up and then goes back down again.”

Brainy echoed the value of the freedom to fart and forego the drudgery of maintaining standard personal hygiene, before briefly venturing into the realm of the sentimental. “Purely male bachelor parties are a good opportunity for quality time with people you don’t hang out with or aren’t able to see that much anymore.” But in no time, Brainy’s mind found its way back to the gutter. “One function is to get you so dirty that you look forward to a lifetime of cleanliness,” he mused. For the record, Brainy Smurf is single. So, what’s the moral of the story? Boys will be boys? Smurfs will be smurfs? Trust conquers all? Maybe. But maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe, when it comes to bachelor parties, ignorance is smurfy bliss.

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