I am the only one left.
Of the eleven humans from college and high school I consider close friends, I alone remain unattached. By October of next year, they'll all be married. As I write this, five of them have kids. I qualify that because a few of my friends are weirdly potent, so by the time this goes to press it could be more.
And then, there's me: no children, no spouse and a roommate.
I think it's worth noting, at this point, that I am just 29 years old. My friends have deserted me for greener (I'm told more boring but ultimately more satisfying) pastures. And I'm fine with that, truly. Probably the best decision in the long run.
I say all this to point out that I've been through, and continue to go through, the ringer when it comes to bachelor parties. I've been a best man three times, planned just as many bachelor parties (with one more on deck) and been in so many weddings I've lost count.
As a friend politely told me: I have no medium friends — I'm either standing near the groom or at home on my couch. My life has become an impossibly-less-funny male version of “27 Dresses.”
Be that as it may, the charade has gone far enough: It's time to put an end to bachelor and bachelorette parties. They're ridiculous and totally miss the point.
All our lives, we've been conditioned to believe these parties represent some sort of invisible divide between the fun of single life and the doom, gloom and repeat of married life.
I'm here to tell you your life doesn't end when you get married. In fact, and this may be news to some, it really shouldn't change much at all. Barring, of course, you're not marrying the spawn of Satan, things should really remain constant.
Let's all take a stand and do away with the drunken, sad toasts from your buds imploring you to "Drink up! It's over after tonight!" Say no to your dildo-necklaced girlfriends filling your shot cup to the brim on your supposed last night of freedom.
Your life doesn't end when you get married. It does, however, when you have a kid.
So today, I'm starting a new trend: We're getting rid of bachelor/ette parties and replacing them with "Just Before Your Son or Daughter is Born" parties.
Sure, the name needs a little work, but the logic is rock solid.
Having a kid is sort of like getting a 20-year prison term. By the time you're getting parole (read: they're old enough to be out of the house), your friends from before have moved on. The world you're re-entering is fast and dangerous, and you can't quite seem to catch up to the speed of technology, music or trends of any kind. The only friends you really have left are the parents of your kids' friends -- most of whom you only pretended to stomach for your son or daughter's sake.
If you're having difficulty picturing that, watch this (minus the overall sadness, incredible attire and eventual hanging). Yeah, it's that bleak.
I'm going to share a little story that should paint a picture as to what my life has come to, and more importantly, what brought this all to mind.
With little in the way of actual commitments of my own, I visited two of the eleven humans mentioned above on separate weekends last December. One has two children; the other has none. Both weekends were incredible but could not have been more different.
Visiting the friend with two kids (the non-infant of the two, proving on a minute-by-minute basis that it is possible to be that goddamned adorable, and by extension, “worth it”), I realized my sole reason for the trip was to give my friend and his wife a ten-to-fifteen-minute break at some point in the weekend so their every waking thought didn't have to be about keeping their kids happy/fed/alive.
One of the days, he and I went out for lunch alone. His wife, in an effort that would put a punk snitch like Superman to shame, took both her 2-year-old son and infant daughter grocery shopping by herself so we could have some time together. (Yes. Read that again, for emphasis. Moms are dope.)
I was so exhausted from watching him watch his kids that I could barely enjoy the barbecue. Don't worry, I got seconds, so it wasn't like I was totally distracted, but still.
Now, only a weekend or two later, I'm visiting the friend with no kids who lives with her fiancé. At one point in the weekend, we somehow found time in between binge-drinking and overeating to go for a ride on their boat. It wasn't planned, and there was no real consideration of anything outside of: Is this something we all want to do right now, and are we all wearing clothes?
I honestly think those were the only things considered. The answer was yes to both, and moments later we were in the Gulf of Mexico.
I should again point out for clarification: It's not that one lifestyle is necessarily better than the other; it's that they're different. Far more so than “this is my fiancé” to “this is my husband.”
So you can keep your rounds of golf with the one friend (me) who quotes "Happy Gilmore" endlessly like he's the first to think of it. You can still have expensive steak dinners with the one friend who will bitch about how expensive it was. You can still do whatever it is women do at their parties.
All of it is still in play, we're just changing the timing.
Down with bachelor and bachelorette parties. Long live the “Your Life Unquestionably and Irreversibly Changes Immediately After Your Soon-to-be Daughter or Son is Born” parties.
I'll figure out a better name by the time everyone comes around.