June 18, 2012

The Stripping Down of the Bachelor Party

At some point in the history of mandom, we collectively reached the decision that bachelor parties should be spent in the presence of booze, bros, and scantily clad women. With grooms-to-be being all but expected to adhere to this societal norm, the ultimate effect was the redefining of the term “bachelor party” so that it was synonymous with “debauchery.”

In retrospect it sounds a little cliche, a little expected, and when we get right down to the down and dirty, maybe a little classless too.

But interestingly enough, it’s also becoming decreasingly popular. Whether you want to chalk it off to the rising age of the average groom, the economy, or a stronger embrace of individuality, raunchiness and rowdiness are losing their status as sendoff staples. A recent poll on wedding website theknot.com indicated as much, showing that over 50% of engaged men were planning on low key bachelor parties.

And they’re not alone.

“We’re hearing from a lot more men who are curious about their options,” says Jackie Sirota from GroomsMagazine.com, a collective of resources for men about to step up to the altar. “They want to step away from the traditional bachelor party and celebrate in a way that’s meaningful to them.”

Meaningful is a good word here. Essentially, the alcohol-stripper-gambling bachelor party has become the safe choice. It’s hard for men to feel like they’re disappointing their social circle by throwing one because more often than not, it’s exactly what everyone’s expecting. On top of that, there’s the incredible likelihood that everybody’s seen strippers, rolled dice, and guzzled alcohol before, making it a bit of an old hat affair. And shouldn’t a guy’s bachelor party have more substance than that?

Sure, the non-rowdy bachelor party makes more demands of a man’s time, effort, and creativity than the choice between Cop Theme vs. Invaders From Outer Space, but it allows him to center it around his interests and identity which is a touch more appropriate for an event as significant as the bachelor party.

As an added benefit, it also has the power of awkwardness reduction. It’s infinitely easier for a man to commemorate his coming ascent into wedded bliss with everyone important to him — family members, superiors, coworkers, teachers, mentors — when he’s not trying to enjoy a lap dance while his father’s regaling him with the story of his first striptease.

Plus it’s just more gentlemanly, and that itself is something to celebrate.

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