Dudes' Night Out
It was a moment of collective, unspoken agreement.
With my brother engaged to be married this October, conversation shifted to that pre-wedding rite of ceremonial passage: the bachelor party. As the best man, I am tasked with organizing the festivities. As the phrase came up in conversation, my oldest son inquired.
“Party??! I am going too, right??”
And in almost perfect chorus-like unison, all adults within earshot responded quickly…
“Noooooo! No, no, no. Not that party,” we harmonized.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing deplorable or illegal is on the agenda for my brother’s outing. In fact, most of the attendees are in our late 30s, early 40s, so the temptation to schedule a “solid 10-hour night of rest” almost made the cut. Regardless, this is a ceremonious occasion to bond and share a new round of life experiences to remember for years to come.
But, of course, a bachelor party is not exactly the greatest grounds for any children to participate in. Ever.
Many years have passed since my last bachelor party, so I dove into the research library (Read: my phone) to plan out the event. The more I researched, the more I couldn’t help but wonder: How would one throw a bachelor party for an 8- and 6-year-old?
Sure, they are not exactly dating yet, but as single dudes, technically, they are bachelors. To make it as authentic, yet as age appropriate as possible, I toiled for days figuring out what typical bachelor party happenings could be amended and celebrated.
So in that spirit, here are my blueprints to refer to if I ever wanted to head out with the boys (the young ones) for a wild night of bachelorhood:
Start of the night - Before all the fun begins, we’ll need a ride to get ourselves to and from the excitement. For some bachelor outings, they opt for a party bus or football field-length limo to do all the driving around in style.
To best replicate the experience, I’ll rent a driver for the day and rent out whatever car has the most collective buttons, windows, backseat horns, etc. for my kids to push to really enjoy and let loose while waiting to go from stop to stop.
Limo? Compact car? It doesn’t matter. Either way, they are great at pushing certain buttons from time to time.
Stop 1: Mini golf - The classic bachelor party icebreaker often involves a bag of clubs, 18 holes and a sunny afternoon. Since my kids don’t possess the clubs, patience or willingness to stand still for more than ten seconds to hit a golf shot, we need to think differently.
The mini golf experience will allow for much of the same classic bachelor party golf outing positives: 18 holes, a sunny (hopefully) day outdoors and with this portion of golf, the chance to putt through windmills, large ramps, etc. to our hearts’ content.
Stop 2: Milkshake stand - As a craft beer fanatic, a trip to a brewery or two is a great way to have a few drinks to toast to the groom’s upcoming big day. But for my kiddos, the closest comp for delicious beverages would be anywhere shakes are plentiful.
We can drive on up, toss back a couple cold ones, try our best to survive the coming ice cream headache and be well on our way without that hungover feeling the next morning.
Stop 3: Arcade - As the evening heads for its zenith, many bachelor parties head for exciting indoor venues in which to unwind. Since these young gentlemen will not be going anywhere near a club like that, we’ll still find a great place to pump all that cash into for a wild night: the arcade.
Bring the money and make it rain near the skee ball lanes and stuff those singles into the claw machines - all to a dizzying amount of lights and unnecessarily loud music blaring into the evening. Wooooo!
Pick the right arcade, and maybe we could even splurge on a VIP room that has laser tag!
Stop 4: Hotel - For those of you who read my June column, you’ll remember my kids’ great fondness for staying overnight at really any hotel. In a typical bachelor party, this could mean a last nightcap and/or celebratory cigar.
In this case, I can spring for the “extra good chocolate milk” and a Twizzler. I’ll even pretend to pull in a few breaths of sweet licorice to celebrate a night well spent.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, right?
Stop 5: Breakfast - Mostly, this will mean me being peer pressured into throwing money at the vending machine, so my goofballs can enjoy snack food not usually allowed at breakfast.
But, it’s a party, right? And most likely, I will have spent most of my cash the night before on shakes and rounds of arcade battles. And yes, if you are picking up on much of this trip, it’s about eating habits of a…well…child.
Stop 6: Home - After a rowdy outing out of town, we’ll say goodbye to our button-laden chariot and pull up to the homestead - most likely bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep and smelling vaguely of vending machine chips and red licorice.
We will sleep away the rest of the day, waking later to sit in circles with other dudes to recall our outrageous tales of excitement and woe. It is true, a bachelor party (of sorts) can in fact be tailored to your kids if you put in the research and have a plan in mind.
And even if you are winging it, the chance to bond and share a new round of life experiences to remember for years to come is worth the money, time, effort and inevitable stomach cramps.
So, the next time they ask, “Party?”
Yes, my sons. That party is a yes. But first, daddy needs a trip to the store for some Pepto-Bismol.
Josh Farnsworth is a husband, father of goofballs Cooper and Milo, goofball himself, and award-winning writer and columnist living in Worcester. He can be reached for column ideas at email@example.com.