SMOKE: Bachelor Party

Originally published: 18 November 2004

When I got married back in 2000 I wanted to make one thing perfectly clear, and I did: no bachelor party.

There were oohs and aahs, fainting and some general consternation at my shunning of such a time-honoured male ritual but I stood firm on the issue and didn't have one.

I've never been able to tolerate bachelor parties and in fact have only ever been to two. One was a sedate affair at a relative's house and the other made Christian Slater and Friends in Very Bad Things look like a giggle of choirboys.

The reason I loathe bachelor parties is twofold:

Firstly - I cannot abide watching anyone being made fun of. I know it's not malicious at bachelor parties but even when it's a bunch of mates ragging you - I can't stand it.

I'm no shrink but I would assume it comes from being bullied as a kid. I just can't stand seeing people being humiliated - sit at my table and give the waitress a hard time and it's the last thing you'll remember doing that day. You won't even see me coming.

So that's the first reason. The second is a lot simpler, and pertains only to myself: with my luck some bastard would have organised a stripper and I would be the one to get in kak about it.

Chicks are like that - forget about the fact that the stripper was organised without your knowledge or consent and that you had nothing to do with it. If there was a stripper you're the oke who gets it.

Or rather - who doesn't get it. On honeymoon.

Besides - I've never been one for strippers. I've seen my fair share in dingy, underground basements in Loop St, but the humiliation factor applies to them as well and no matter how hard they try convince you that they love what they do - they don't.

Anyone who thinks that a few smelly fat men sitting wheezing in the dark is a turn-on to a single mom with no decent job prospects who's forced to open her legs and shake her titties around for their masturbatory benefit needs to catch a reality check. Quick.

I'm afraid I don't get hard at other people's misery. Tends to soften me up, like.

A stripping girlfriend or wife - now that's a different thing altogether: "Yeah, baby. Who yo' Daddy? Shake that ass, girl."

Maybe it goes deeper than all that, though. I had a particularly nasty experience at the second bachelor party I attended, which was for a school mate of mine who I hadn't seen in years.

It was held at some dingy pub in town which was a shrine to Harley memorabilia. Flags, stickers, posters, helmets and anything else you can think of related to Harley Davidson.

The owner/barman, of course, was a fat slob with a mullet, too much money and bad taste, and that's all I have to say about Harley Davidson.

My mate was a pretty regular guy - a good, decent, Christian southern suburbs boy, without being fanatically so. Middle of the road and reasonably inoffensive. The sort who would have a bachelor party because that's what blokes who are getting married do. His old man was instrumental in helping to set it up.

It was quite a pressure situation - there were quite a few blokes present who had been my best mates at school but who I had shunned as soon as I left for drama school (I grew in different directions to them when I left high school), and there was an awkwardness that only booze could solve.

So I got stuck in. As one does.

The night got wilder and I got drunker, and although I was aware that a stripper had arrived I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me and thus didn't bother looking.

I got deeply involved in a slurred conversation with an old friend from school, trying desperately to keep his sagging face in perspective. We were both struggling to stay on our feet and were swaying like corn in a March breeze, and eventually we did the only logical thing - we went outside to smoke a joint.

Because the place was in the middle of town on a Saturday night we had nowhere to go, so we just lit up on the sidewalk and started walking, puffing as we went.

It's a blissful state of drunkenness, that - when you get to the point of past caring.

Blissful, that is, until you spot four large men and an Alsatian attack dog straining on a leash coming around the corner and heading straight towards you. Then that state of drunkenness becomes something of a liability.

To a man they had a snor - thick, sluglike caterpillars resting on their upper lips - and they all wore jeans and polo t-shirts with their boeps bulging as boeps should, over their leather belts.

Normally you can spot a policemen in plain clothes, but with these guys you really didn't have to look too hard. As if their general attitude and bearing weren't enough they had a finely-trained, slavering hound on the end of a heavy-duty leash which looked like ripping at any moment despite its obviously sturdy construction.

That dog wanted us that night. Real, real bad.

Four large men I can handle - you simply call them homosexuals and get your beating over and done with. Okes like that don't like being called homosexuals, you understand, so they get to the point quicker than they normally would, which is best for all concerned.

But what I can't handle is a trained Alsatian, and even in my befuddled state I understood that fact as clear day. So I stood still and awaited the inevitable.

"What you smoking there, hey? What you smoking? Give me that."

We gave him that. He inspected the half-smoked joint, sniffed it and passed it to the others to have a look. The guy holding the straining dog pretended to jerk the dog back a little, just to create some bustle.

"You think you clever, hey?" We didn't. "This isn't Amsterdam, china." No shit, Sherlock. "Now how would you suggest I punish you?" Oh great, thanks a lot - that's a question I can't possibly give a satisfactory answer to, you bastard.

Around this time I started getting paranoid - I'd smoked a quarter of some very fine weed and the thought occurred to me that maybe they weren't actually policemen at all - maybe they were just okes messing with our heads.

But I couldn't ask them for ID or anything - this isn't America. Ask a cop here for his ID and you're in for a nasty surprise. Trust me.

So I had this huge internal debate raging inside my foggy skull, and the interview was steadily degrading. Folks were gathering to watch and our tormentors were upping the spectacle. They had a real sense of occasion, those okes.

The solution to the main guy's question about how to punish us was eventually answered by himself. He told us that he didn't feel like the hassle of filling in forms on a Saturday night, and instead he broke the remainder of the joint in half and gave us each one.

"Enjoy", he said. "Starting now".

My mate got the bit with the cardboard gerrick in it, but I got the bit with the blackened tip - not a pleasant mouthful, I can assure you. But we were so drunk and our tongues so thick and deadened we didn't really taste it anyway, and we swallowed them down as quickly as we could.

We were given a warning and the four guys and Cujo left and disappeared out of sight, no doubt to have a good, long belly-laugh.

We walked back to the party in silence, and when we got back I noticed how sad it all was. People were red-faced and eye-rolling, the floor was drenched in beer and the only dude still rocking the night away with any sort of enthusiasm was Harley-Boy, who was working his way through a stack of Guns 'n Roses albums.

I went to the bogs and got sick in the filthy, blocked toilet, on my knees in a pool of yellow urine. There was no toilet paper to clean up with and the taps were covered in Something, and I left surreptitiously before anyone could see me. You wouldn't have wanted to french kiss me right then and there, I wouldn't imagine.

And that's why I don't do bachelor parties. Now you know.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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