Friday, 13 November 2009

Stag DON'Ts

Manflet don't do stag dos.
I didn't have one - it probably would've blown my secret wedding plans. Nick only had one because his bride kicked him out the house so she could have a hen do, and even then we just drank Red Stripe in a metal bar til closing time, then got the bus home. What happens in the Crobar stays in the Crobar. (mostly air guitar.) And when our resident swinging pimp bachelor Jason ties the knot, I won't expect any strip clubs - just a lot of scotch and a little spooning.

Until recently, I've managed to avoid all the real stag dos (sorry Nick) I've ever been invited to - having had other plans, no money and a whole host of other lame excuses. At best, they are a staggering waste of time and money. (If you don't have the decency to not invite me to your secret wedding, it's already going to cost me at least a few hundred pounds and a weekend - and you want MORE?) At their worst, stag dos wallow in blokeishness for its own sake, with predictably squalid or downright dangerous results.

But I was never going to be able to dodge my little brother's stag. It was pretty painless and I even managed to have some fun (it's hard to be grumpy behind the wheel of a go kart), but I could never quite escape the feeling of futility. If this was my bro's last night of "freedom", shouldn't we have done this while his fiancée was in labour? If this was a celebration of some sorts, then what exactly were the shots in the strip club toasting? After all, no one mentioned the wedding or the bride (or their own wives) all weekend. As time passed and drinks flowed, the "dos and don'ts" piece I was planning to write about bachelor parties became a big list of Stag DON'Ts:
  • DON'T have a stag do.
It's not compulsory. Marriage carries with it a lot of traditions, honourable and otherwise, but try for a second to think beyond the narrow confines of What Everybody Does. Do you really want a stag do - and why? You may want to celebrate your imminent marriage, but isn't that what your wedding is for? Or is a huge party at your parents' expense, followed by a free holiday and a household full of gifts, not enough? And if you're really taking one last stab at singledom, shouldn't you be alone, at home, with internet porn and a pot noodle?
  • DON'T ban women.
I'm not the blokeiest of blokes (shocked?), but I don't think I'm the only man who counts women among his closest friends. That some of my nearest and dearest friends should be excluded from my prenup rave-up because of their gender shows just how outmoded stag dos are. While we're at it, why can't my best friend - my wife - be there? We're far too classy for a joint "hag do", but if we'd done things differently, we would have had an engagement party and you all could have come - penis or not.
  • DON'T do anything you don't want to do.
The most depressing moment of my brother's stag do was one of his mates, who got married last year, asking, "can you go the strip club and just sit and drink, or do you have to have a private dance?" It seems that on his own bachelor party, his "friends" had forced him to get a dance in such a way that he assumed it was compulsory. Wa-hey. If you hang around with arseholes like that, and you're too spineless not to end up with a random woman's tits in your face, or your pants round your ankles, or black and blue and bloody from all the "fun" you had, then your wife ought to keep you housebound for the entirety of your married life.
  • DON'T do anything your bride wouldn't want you to do.
I didn't believe my brother or his mates when they said that their other halves were "cool" with them going to strip clubs. Why would they be? "You understand, don't you love? It's just that your tits and ass are so disgusting that I want to get one last look at a decent body before I tie the knot." And don't give me that "just for a laugh" line - go to a comedy club you deceitful bastard! I'd bet that my brother and his fellow stags haven't told their brides, wives and girlfriends about their time with the "rippers" (I didn't go). Lucky for them no one reads this blog...
  • DON'T go somewhere too "stag".
As a poor excuse for a Geordie, I did pretty well to conceal the shame of being part of my hometown's unofficial stag exchange with Edinburgh. English/Scotch relations beside, it felt like we had defaulted to the closest "party destination" with little thought to what we were going to do there. I love the city, its history, art and architecture - but we weren't there for that. And Glasgow has the clubs. Different cities have different things to offer, and the ones that don't rely on bachelor parties to stay vibrant are probably a good place to start.

So forget go karts and strippers and ritual humiliation... what do YOU want to do?

1 comment:

Nick said...

This article is so true it should be the new bible.

My theory is that most men are so insecure about their sexuality that they feel being part of an exclusively male group may render their sexual orientation ambiguous to passing strangers requiring a display of conspicuous heterosexuality which is most easily acheived at a sleazy strip joint.

The simple solution to this problem would be, as you point out, to allow girls to join stag dos. But that would require use of the brain, the one thing that is even more taboo than women at a stag do.

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