Year of the Donkey (Kick)
This month I attended what could be my last bachelor party at age 37. We’ll have to see how the bonus round of divorces and remarriages plays out, but I wanted to limp off the court this time knowing there was nothing left to give.
The new dads are apt to go the hardest at these events, which fuel on bravado and peer pressure drafting off each other. Before I even landed at the last one in Arizona, one of the dads had been memorialized in a picture while wedged between the bed and wall, fully nude, at an angle that offered a view deep inside of him. You could see his soul. The other father of young children spent the night sleeping in the bathtub.
It was my turn, as my wonderful wife manned our 2-year-old and six-week-old at home while I escaped to a 72-hour sample of the degenerate life in the Phoenix area. I felt a bit of a primal urge to let loose and certainly had my moments, but ultimately being washed-up probably trumped feeling pent-up.
A compilation of highlights:
The Donkey Kick
There is not an attractive way for a group of near-middle-aged guys to wait in line for a bar that tries to morph into a club after 8 p.m., walk in there and scatter as if we had anywhere to be but the bathroom, wait in line for drinks, and then… drink them. We were losers. We were douches. The male-to-female ratio was staggering, maybe around 7:1, and we were not helping.
So my philosophy in these situations — not that I encounter them often — is you just have to commit and go. You can’t stand there awkwardly trying to nestle into a good time. Everybody else has to disappear in your mind, and it has to be about you and your boys. I think it’s called peacocking in pickup artist lexicon.
The Big Show was a giant WWF wrestler with a signature move of open-hand slapping the chest of an opponent, making a sound that drew involuntary gasps from the crowd.
It didn’t take long for me to unbutton my J.Crew short sleeve all the way down. A fellow WWF historian in our group delivered mammoth slaps on my chest with the requisite wind-up and theatrics. The music was too loud to hear gasping, but I don’t see how people couldn’t have been glued to such a novel scene.
What everybody did notice for sure was the girl in gold pants. She was young, blonde and wiggling her hips by the bar. I don’t know how to describe the pants: extremely blinged-out gold, lots of sequins/texture/frills, and impossibly tight. There was no volume between her skin and the fabric. They looked like showgirl yoga pants, an absolute beacon in the sausage fest.
I promise you no male, female, nonbinary, single or married person didn’t not stare at her butt. She was the alpha in the whole building if not all of Old Town Scottsdale.
Things were hazy for me, but at some point while I was dirty dancing with my homeboys, the gold pants girl started spanking my butt. I felt very lucky. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, so there was really no hesitation.
I went for a move unabashedly stolen from my mentors. Resembling a sexy burpee, it entails hopping down on your hands in push-up position, kicking out your feet to prop onto something on either side of the victim, and then gyrating backward toward the target.
Again, things were hazy. I believe my thought process was to kick out and land my feet on the bar or stools or something, but really I just kicked into open space with no idea of relative positioning.
As “luck” would have it, I ended up donkey-kicking the girl in the abdomen. It was shocking to everybody, probably closer to the reaction I was going for with the chest slapping earlier.
Compounding the confusion, my wedding ring flew off during the maneuver and went rolling into the abyss of flashing lights and dancing feet. I prioritized scrambling for it on my hands and knees instead of apologizing to the beautiful temptress who absorbed my crouching tiger, hidden dragon finishing move. (I found the ring and held it up proudly, to the relief of no one.)
Then I vaguely remember waiting forever at the bar with Gold Pants as I insisted on buying her a drink. She eventually gave up, gave me a hug and left. No charges pressed.
Ultimately, despite my kicking strangers, I wasn’t the one who got us kicked out. Someone else in our crew was escorted out because he had taken off his shirt. Later I learned it wasn’t because he took his shirt off; it was because there was no way for him to put it back on. And that was because I had ripped it to the waistline, so we should share blame equally.
I closed my $225 tab for six Bud Lights and seven Adios Mother Effers at 9:15 p.m. I took a picture of a fellow 37-year-old in the bachelor party smiling happily in bed at 11:06, then our young buck passed out by a toilet at 11:21. I was in bed by midnight.
Second-Best Live Sports Moment
The Waste Management Open is basically Happy Gilmore come to life. White bros pack flights in for the weekend. Women dress like they’re walking the runway or streets. People drink heavily, early and often in juxtaposition with world-class golfers concentrating on arguably the most mentally challenging sport.
At the legendary 16th hole, the players step into a mini coliseum with 20,000 jeering and cheering savages treating professional golf like a Big Ten football game. On Saturday, we heard an eruption from there as a hole-in-one prompted an avalanche of aluminum beer bottles thrown onto the course. It was the first ace on 16 in seven years.
On Sunday, we made it into the stands with a good view of the hole. There was a message on the digital screen prohibiting throwing things onto the course, clearly in response to the previous day. Carlos Ortiz teed off from 178 yards. The ball landed with a chance… and rolled in.
Not even half of a breath was taken before the air was filled with beer bottles. At $10 a pop, it was potentially five figures worth of booze in flight like arrows in a "Game of Thrones" battle.
We are the orange blur in the middle section of this video thanks to our fluorescent bachelor party shirts. At that point I was waving mine over my head.
I’m neither a golfer nor physicist and can’t fully appreciate how hard it is to make that shot. But I do have eyes. I saw how far away he was from the hole and how he used a skinny stick to hit a tiny ball that high and straight into a tiny hole. It was incredible and the coolest sports play I had ever witnessed in person until…
Best Live Sports Moment
Harry and Joel are two American golfers on the tour who will never win a major, but they would be awesome to run into at a bar. After sinking his putt, Harry flashed his pasty, doughy chest for the crowd chanting his name.
His buddy Joel removed his shirt entirely and helicoptered it. The airborne beer returned. I don’t know if TV cameras caught it, but Joel actually picked up a bottle and chugged it.
The funniest part was the intensity of the celebration relative to the game situation. Harry’s 10-foot putt was to save par, and he finished tied for 49th. Joel ended up 62nd. This would be like the benchwarmer in the NBA checking in for the final minute of a blowout game, hitting a free throw and ripping off his jersey.
It should have been unnoteworthy, but I was there the day golf turned into WWF. Harry and Joel reportedly expected to be fined and vowed to never do it again.
Like I said, white bros converged from around the country for this peerless golf tournament. I would not peg the clientele as the #woke crowd, but that is me judging unfairly. Our bachelor group was predominantly Mexican, with two white guys who nicknamed their beer pong team Privilege.
My ears were perked for any objectionable comments from the drunken white mass sprawled across the course, but I think those generally came from within our group. Everyone we met was affable and enjoying the party.
The bachelor wore a neon yellow shirt calling for a beer. Someone standing on a rooftop bar tossed one down. Our boy knew his number had been called and what needed to be done. He pounded the beer as the entire roof cheered him on, spiked the empty can to the ground, and thrust his hands in the air with a tacit “Are you not entertained!?”
This caught the attention of a white guy a bit older than us, accompanied by his third wife. He decided it was necessary to buy beers for our whole group. We bonded. We meandered the course together and met up at the 16th the next day. He kept producing beers for us at a professional golf tournament, where menu prices aren’t exactly Tuesday happy hour in a college town.
We named him Beer Jesus and gave him a shirt. There was hospitality at this gentleman’s event.
My wife strong-armed me into getting a booster shot for this weekend. It was a nice win not bringing home Covid to my unvaccinated babies.
If you go to Phoenix, or possibly anywhere outside of L.A. for all I know, be prepared for nobody caring about Covid. People were on top of each other at the Waste Management Open, and I noticed exactly one mask among thousands of faces.
I couldn’t talk above a whisper Sunday after screaming for no reason for two days, but overly friendly strangers in the stands wouldn't be deterred. They kept engaging me in conversation and leaning into my face to hear.
If you got it, I got it, but I’m guessing you already got it, which is why I didn’t get it.
Sports betting is legal in Arizona. We signed up for a couple of apps that offered hundreds of dollars in free bets if you placed your first for $10 or 20. Out of principle, most of us used that first bet on a sure thing and made like 50 cents.
With our principal recovered, we then played with house money. I got a five-game $50 NBA parlay right and won $670. Another guy called the winner of the golf tournament and took home a similar payout.
We cashed out and deleted the apps. These casinos make money off entertaining people, which is great. But part of their profit is also tied to addiction and destroying lives, so it was a pleasure to do my part in skewing their customer acquisition cost and lifetime value metrics.
While obscured by the decadence, bachelor parties are about celebrating and expressing love. My love language is touch. It doesn’t feel right to me if there isn’t dry humping at the Airbnb, even if just in the background while others eat or watch TV.
I thought maybe this time was the exception due to advanced age, maturity and the zeitgeist of political correctness. But then our text thread heated up when everybody got home, and I realized some of my hazy memories were bookended by utter blackout.
Pics were dropped of me plowing the bachelor from behind while he was on his phone, reverse cowgirling the kitchen faucet while perched on the counter (and then drinking out of it), and taking it from an opportunist while I struggled with nausea on the bathroom floor.
These were fairly standard antics that showed retirement isn’t easy, but it’s time.
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