People think bachelor parties are an American tradition, as American as apple pie, or racial profiling. However, as I understand it, bachelor parties are actually a worldwide tradition, with each culture adding its own unique stamp to the ritual. In America, there is the nudie bar. But in France there is a large picnic, and each man tells some heroic story about how they lost a battle against a much weaker country.

In Germany, the sound of frying knockwurst and goose-stepping fills the air. The Palestinians like to welcome the bachelor to marital bliss by holding him up in the air and cheering, then strapping several pounds of dynamite to his chest and having him blow up a school bus (the groomsmen all chip in for the dynamite). Palestinian women are troubled by their future husband being splattered all over the ground, but grateful that he wasn’t exposed to any naked women. In perhaps the most elaborate bachelor party ritual, the young men of Bator gather their friends together, then run off and have sex with hundreds of other women for 60 years or so, then die of old age.

This weekend I partook in the American version of this ritual. My cousin Sefton is soon to pledge his troth (I’m not actually sure what a “troth” is, but I think its related to his 401k) to the stunning Ms. Amy Leavitt. As the best man, I originally came up with the itinerary for the day. As I originally conceived it, the day would start with some “Sweatin to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons. Then we would shop for muffs (they’re cheap this time of year!), take in a Barbara Streisand Tribute Show, and finally, all bake muffins. However, after some feedback from the other guys (including death threats), we changed things around a bit.

First we went to a Mets game. I haven’t been to a baseball game in a while, but I soon realized that there are some things more exciting than baseball, like counting your teeth for example, or watching a tape of “Battlefield Earth” which is stuck on “pause.” By the second inning, people were hoping for a home run; by the third, for a meteor. In the bottom of the fifth, two umpires hung themselves after Red Sox third string catcher Pepito Laroca fouled off 177 consecutive pitches. When the seventh inning stretch came, I couldn’t stand because my buttocks had turned to coal. Finally the Mets won in the 12th after the entire Red Sox infield had set themselves on fire and Tito O’Reily bunted for an inside-the-park home run.

After the game, all 25 party invitees met up at Tuscan’s steak house for dinner. The food was great, and the toasts were amusing. However, Amy’s father was there, and we were given strict instructions by Sefton to avoid, at all costs, the following topics:

* Drug use of any kind by anybody

* Previous girlfriends (inflatable and non-inflatable)

* Cross-Gender “mistakes”

* Bar Mitzvah Sex

* Other guys named “Sefton” who may have been arrested for public nudity

After dinner, we went to the obligatory strip club. It was called “Tens” ostensibly because every woman working there was a “10.” And the women were strikingly gorgeous (if you like that sort of thing). However, I think the club was actually named “Tens” because of what you were expected to tip every person you encountered all evening. When we first arrived, we were greeted by Tim, a large, muscular man in a tuxedo. He explained he was the “exterior door man” and that he accepted tips. When we tipped Tim and entered the club we met Harvey. He was apparently the “interior door man” and was also kind enough to accept tips.

Harvey then handed us off to Otis, who was our host. Up until last night, I was unaware of what a host at a strip club does. But now I know that he points in the general direction of a bunch of tables, some of which have empty seats you can sit at if you wish. For this, Otis requires what he called “a special tip.”

Soon a waitress arrived. She was wearing a sequined G string and two seashells on her chest (just like Mom used to wear), and explained that if we would be kind enough to tip her, she would be kind enough to take our drink order. I asked if we could tip her when she brought the drinks. She explained patiently that another person would actually be bringing the drinks. That would be our “server,” and she likes “GIMONDO Tips.” I ordered a screwdriver and turned over the required $10 to ensure the bartender would actually put Vodka into it. I then went to the bathroom, outside of which I encountered Phil. We chatted briefly:

Phil
Hi. I’m Phil

Me
Hi Phil.

Phil
I accept tips.

Me
I thought you might. What is it you do?

Phil
I’m the tornado warner.

Me
The tornado warner?

Phil
I warn people going into the men’s room
if a tornado is coming.

Me
Is that a big problem here?

Phil
Not so far.

Me
What about people going into the ladies room?
Do they get warned too?

Phil
Oh sure, Todd does that. He takes tips too.

Me
I thought he might.

Of course none of this counts the actual strippers. Whenever Jasmine, Cocoa, Lolita, Puka-Puka or Clitoris (it’s amazing how all the women with exotic names wind up working for strip clubs) came near you, you had to tip them to sit, to dance, to stop dancing, to leave, and to never tell you about their plans for medical school again.

Finally, after I had run out of cash, and actually given Puka-Puka my gold card, I was forced to leave. I ran into a drunk guy walking down the street outside. He threw up on my shoes. I tipped him. But don’t let my cynical ramblings fool you. I was thrilled and proud to have been part of Sefton’s (my brother by another mother!!) big bash. And I can always bake muffins myself.

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