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How to Survive a Bachelor Party When You Don’t Really Know the Other Guys

We heard your friend is getting married! How exciting! Truly, that’s awesome. We’re so happy for him and his partner. We’re sure they’ll make a lovely couple. And we’re sure you and the rest of your friends are conveniently overlooking the fact that the divorce rate in the U.S. is almost 50 percent.

You’re not worried about that right now, of course, because you have more pressing concerns. Like the MOTHERFUCKING BACHELOR PARTY!!! Oh, shit yeah, time for a good ol’ fashioned bro-down with your best college buds — one last hurrah before your buddy ties the knot and loses any semblance of a social life. What a sucker! But you’re gonna send him off in style, right?!

But wait … the groom invited That Guy? What a pud that guy is! And that other dingus you met at that happy hour one time — the groom’s work friend who turned down a shot of tequila because he had to give some “important presentation” the next morning? Pfft. Nerd. Or maybe you’re the tame one in this scenario, and you don’t want to hang out with the groom’s immature, hard-partying douchebag friends.

Bachelor parties hardly ever live up to expectations, and not just because you probably won’t end your night snorting blow off some stripper’s medically enhanced breasts in the back of a limo the Venetian comped you because of your YUUUGE run at the blackjack table. No, when a bachelor party sucks, it’s usually because it forces you to hang out with men you don’t particularly like.

The typical bachelor party group comprises the groom’s childhood friends, college friends and professional friends, and odds are Steve from Accounting has little in common with with the groom’s old frat buddies, Fart Munch and The Splooge. And that’s aside from the possibility that the groom invites the male members of the bride’s family, thus forcing you to be on relatively good behavior.

But fear not, wary bachelor party attendee, because I’ve attended plenty of bachelor parties over the past three years that have included friends from various stages of the groom’s life, and while there were often clashing sensibilities, a generally fun time was had by all. Allow me to share a few of my strategies to ensure that your next bachelor party is, if not else, not awful…

1. Don’t Go

Seriously, just don’t go. If hanging out with new people is that stressful for you, you’ll be doing everyone a favor by staying home. Because there’s nothing worse than some downer who kills the whole vibe. Not to mention, you’ll resent having spent all that money on flights, a hotel and booze, only to have a shitty time. Make up some excuse about a pre-existing family engagement. Unless you’re standing up in the wedding, you’re not obligated to attend the bachelor party; your attendance at the wedding is all that really matters.

2. Go With the Flow

Never try to impose your vision of how the bachelor party should function. That’s for the best man to decide, and if he’s a good best man, he’ll curate an experience suited to the groom’s sensibility.

In other words, if the plan is to spend a raucous night on Bourbon Street drinking hand grenades and going to the Hustler Club, do that. Don’t insist the group attend a wine tasting followed by a sophisticated four-course meal, followed by seeing a jazz quartet in an underground speakeasy on Magazine Street. On the flip side, if the groom’s idea of a good time is a relaxing weekend at a secluded lakeside locale, don’t try to turn it into a debauched, booze-fueled bacchanal.

Save your idea for the perfect bachelor party for when you get engaged. Only then do you have license to subject your friends to your lame ideas.

3. Stick to Sports

If you’ve ever wondered why men invest so much of their time in pro athletics, it’s for situations like these. Sports come in super handy when you’re around men you’ve never met before. There are always interesting narratives, and unlike politics, you can discuss them at length without the conversation devolving into an indictment of the other person’s character.

You don’t even have to know a lot. You can just mutter basic platitudes, and the other bros will all nod in agreement. When talking football, just say, “Man, Goodell is the worst.” For baseball, ask, “Think the Cubs will do it again this year?” And for basketball, make some contrarian proclamation about how Kawhi Leonard is the real MVP. That alone will fuel hours of heated discussion.

4. Make One Good Friend, and Never Leave His Side

Odds are that among the dozen or so attendees, there’s at least one person there who’s on the same wavelength as you. Cling to this person like a life raft, and together you can mock your fellow revelers behind their backs.

5. Take a Side Trip for Yourself

Example: Two years ago, I went to a bachelor party in New Orleans, and after several hours of binge drinking, my friend and I grew tired of the Bourbon Street scene. So when it looked like the groom was approaching blackout mode, we slipped away from the rest of the group and saw some music at a venue far off the beaten path.

It was great. We had put in ample time with the group, so no one was upset we left. (I don’t even think they noticed.) And we got to have a New Orleans experience that we both wanted, without having to drag anyone else along.

6. Turn in Early

Or just Irish goodbye and slink back into the hotel room and watch a movie. If anyone asks, lie and say, “I was totally drunk, man!” and that you left to puke. Then you can high-five, go to bed and be the only one to wake up without a serious case of the Sunday scaries. Then laugh about it at the wedding, where you can more easily avoid interacting with those douchebags.