When my brother asked me to be the Best Man in his wedding, I was thrilled. What an honor! Of course, there are responsibilities that come along with being the Best Man. Some I knew about already, like offering a toast at the dinner reception. Some I didn’t know about, like bringing the rings to the ceremony (learned that one the hard way). But all of these traditions pale in comparison to the greatest responsibility known to man: planning the bachelor party.
Luckily, I can throw one hell of a party. I also consider myself a pretty manly dude. My home liquor collection boasts six different whiskeys, not counting Fireball (although there is also Fireball; it was a gift, I promise). I once went a full calendar year without washing my favorite pair of jeans. I can grow a decent beard, and an even better neck beard. And I never, ever cry.
So throwing a bachelor party’s no sweat, right? For the most part, yes. But I was struggling, to a certain extent, with one little detail: strippers or no strippers?
That’s what you do at a bachelor party right? Actually, I had been to a number of bachelor parties myself, and none included naked women. But those parties all had something else in common: they were all kind of lame. And I was not about to plan a lame party. I also knew there would be some guys who would expect a stripper. Would they be disappointed? Would they blame me? Would I be somehow depriving my brother of the full bachelor party experience?
I knew my brother would have a simple answer to such a question: No. And not because the ol’ Ball and Chain would be upset about it, either. Not because it just isn’t his “thing.” It’s because he actually—wait for it—loves this woman.
You see, when my brother met his wife, whom we’ll call “Louise,” he literally could not wait to make her his wife. In fact, when he told me he was thinking about proposing after having dated her for all of nine months, I told him to take his time. He bought a ring the following week and proposed the next week.
Why? Because he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Louise was the only woman for him, and he couldn’t wait to seal the deal. So what kind of sense does it make for him to celebrate the last few days before his wedding with all of his best guy friends and some other random naked woman?
Now don’t get me wrong. The beauty of the female figure is not lost on me, believe me. And I realize the logic behind your run-of-the-mill bachelor party, strippers and all. It’s your last night of “freedom” with your boys, and if nothing else, it’s a chance to blow off some steam and maybe just get it all out of your system before your life changes forever. I get it.
But I honestly can’t think of a worse way to commemorate—much less to prepare for—a lifetime of love dedicated to one woman, and only one woman, than to pay some other woman to take off her clothes for you. If my brother wanted to get his jollies with some other woman, he would. Instead, he wants Louise. And only Louise.
And if I didn’t know that before their wedding, it became perfectly clear for me that day. The last of the bridesmaids were escorted down the center aisle. You know the drill: The music changes, the congregation stands up, the doors in the back whip open, and there’s the beautiful bride, dressed in a dazzling white. I’d seen it countless times, but this time, I was up on the altar, standing next to my little brother.
When he saw her for the first time that day, he got the biggest smile on his face, and he simply said, softly, “Oh man.” And I cried. I cried like a baby. The tears just poured out of my eyes. It was kind of embarrassing.
As I stood there, wondering why my manly face was so wet all of a sudden, I learned a lesson in manliness. When my brother pledged a lifetime of love and fidelity to Louise, I knew he meant those words, because I had seen him live them out already. The way he treated her. The way he talked about her. The way he lived his life out of love for her, whether he was with her or not, whether he was at work, at the gym, in church, or even at his own bachelor party.
Ah yes, his bachelor party. We shot guns. We ate steaks. We floated a keg of High Life (there may have been keg stands along the way…). We played poker, we smoked cigars, we raised some scotch and toasted to his fertility. We went to Taco Bell after bar close. We re-united with some guys we had lost track of at some point along the way. And we didn’t invite any women, clothed or unclothed. And it was awesome.
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