Bareback Bros

When I land back at LAX 56 hours from now after this bachelor party, I will not have much time left in July to write my monthly blog post (and perhaps neither the health nor memory). I came back from the last one with a black eye, nausea preventing consumption of food until nighttime, and a battered body covered with scratches and bruises. Someone said my torso looked like Passion of the Christ.

I took measured steps to avoid a similar meltdown in Portland this weekend, but I probably should play it safe and get this typing out of the way now even though a post-trip summary might be more interesting. I can’t risk it. I don’t want to jeopardize my streak of 29 consecutive monthly posts — over halfway now to Joe DiMaggio’s hallowed 56 — and certainly not for something as silly as a bachelor party.

These celebrations seem to evolve aggressively with age into bona fide productions. If your buddy got married young, maybe all you did was hit up some local bars and walk into a strip club with no idea how to interact. Wait a few years, and the next bachelor party might have entailed renting out a mansion in Costa Rica and getting into the SUV of an alleged drug dealer who pulled a machete out of the trunk seconds later to beat a man. (It sounds worse than it really was.)

Now at age 32 with a marriage license that officially recognizes I have nothing to lose, you might anticipate a wild weekend is in store for me. But I picked Portland in part for the expectation of a mellow land of breweries and hipsters rather than an environment with a high enough d-bag density to ignite my friends.

I chose small hotel rooms instead of a house to mitigate heavy partying. I preemptively vetoed strip clubs, only to learn later that Portland has among the most per capita in the country. I despise the entire institution of professional stripping. Few minor grievances bother me more than getting ripped off and getting teased. I hate places with poor lighting and loud music. There are precisely two good things about strip clubs, and they are Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL.

If I sound like the hall monitor in the no-fun zone, I won’t dispute that. Contrary to a handful of recycled and embellished stories from my 20s, I really don’t like to party. My birthday finally fell on a Saturday this year, and I celebrated with errands, grocery shopping and the HBO premiere of Straight Outta Compton.

All I want to do in Portland is walk around and drink obscure beers out of a tap at a leisurely pace. I almost elected not to have a bachelor party, but it’s important even for introverts like me to gather enough of these experiences to have something to laugh about when dying one day.

Laughter is predominantly the domain of your bros. That’s why you continue to associate with them. Consider these vignettes:

  • Two of my bros were dancing next to each other at a wedding during the classic “Shout” song. There is a part when the lyrics guide participants to crouch lower and lower to the floor before building back to a crescendo and snapping back upright. With some unfortunate timing, the taller one jumped up while the other was still leaning over and headbutted him in the face.

    Please try to visualize and understand how funny this is. The headbutt recipient already was battling a fever and doing all he could just to make it through the night. Out of all the people at the wedding, it had to happen to him. Every time I think about the gash on his nose, I remember the value of friends in life.

  • At a Nashville bachelor party, we found ourselves in the ultimate dive bar in the form of a double-wide trailer. Of course we still managed to get kicked out for taking off our shirts. Sorry for ruining the elegant ambience in your trailer, Mr. Bar Owner Who Looks Like Alexander Graham Bell, but it was your staff who made the decision to play Ginuwine.

    The funny part came outside when our indomitable New Yorker decided the best way to de-escalate the shouting match with the owner and his people was to yell “[Expletive] Trump voters!!!” at the entire crowd on the patio. If we are going to stereotype anyway, I am pretty sure more than a few folks there had shotguns in their car.

    • Back in the safety of our Airbnb rental the next day, I tried to rally the troops on the rooftop deck with a motivational speech while 100-percent-blacked-out. Video evidence confirmed that my monologue essentially amounted to threatening to ejaculate on each of their backs and then lick it off. Melania Trump likely won’t be looking here for inspiration next time.

      It is not productive to analyze why I declared in granular detail my intention to penetrate each of my male companions. The source of humor was their reactions. Nonconsensual sodomy can be offensive without context, yet here was a guy I had met only once before clapping encouragement like a banjo player during the semen part while my buddy in the background triumphantly raised his crossed arms in a Dez Bryant touchdown celebration. Those are good friends and good sports. When someone is pouring out his heart while drunk, you can be supportive or not.

    I don’t want to be the 40-year-old telling drinking stories to anyone who will listen, but I do want to have them. If you don’t drink, I respect that very much. If you do, you know what I mean.

    A unique bond was created with the people you chose to get drunk with during the various phases of growing up and old: school, study abroad, post-graduation reality, young professional, not-so-young professional, single, attached, single, attached… You might not keep in touch with everyone anymore, but there is always an understanding you had some moments together that count for something.



    Writer’s note: If you spend any amount of your finite time reading the absurdities in this blog, we are either friends or highly compatible strangers. Thus I feel close enough to ask for your email address below. The only email you will ever get from me is one blog post per month for the rest of my life, until you click Unsubscribe. Thank you.