“I got a lap dance, and she’s pissed. Help.”
My fiancée told me she didn’t care about strippers but didn’t want them touching me. I took it to mean she’d just be annoyed because that’s how I’d feel if she had male strippers rubbing up on her. I’d be annoyed. So I thought I was doing good when I was honest and told her I’d gotten a lap dance from the stripper my best man hired. Now she’s not annoyed. She’s devastated. She feels betrayed, thinks I’m somehow “unclean” and is just so hurt that I’d do such a thing.
I’m blown away. I thought it was par for the course. Accepted tradition. An annoyance for the bride at best. I’ve learned the hard way that this assumption was a huge mistake. AND now my good friends and best man (who is really a great guy) have lost all of her respect. She doesn’t want them at the wedding! WTF!
I’ve gone from anger for her not communicating this possible outcome with me to a slobbery crying apologetic fool. It’s really hard for me to relate to her. The stripper thing is so meaningless to me. But my fiancée can’t relate to that. So how do I convince her that she can trust me? We’re getting married in a week. I’m freaking out.
Clearly there’s only one solution: you need to hire a male stripper, get her good and drunk, have her girlfriends cajole her into getting a lap dance. Even Steven, done and done.
Sadly, however, we’re not in a lousy Ashton Kutcher comedy. So we’ll deal with reality. Nothing can really be gained by finger-pointing, so let’s start by pointing some fingers.
Where you’re in the wrong: Sorry dude. When she says, “I don’t want them touching you,” there’s almost no credible way you can interpret that as, “I don’t love the idea of them touching you, and if it happens, I’ll be annoyed, but no biggie!!!” She carved out the rules of engagement, and those rules were clearly NO TOUCHING. If you didn’t like those rules, the time to negotiate was before the bachelor party, not after. She laid down the law. You broke it.
Where she’s in the wrong: Let’s get some perspective. You didn’t have sex with this stripper. You didn’t kiss this stripper. Hell, you didn’t even want a lap dance from this stripper, you merely went with the flow when your best man forked over some twenties. And, frankly, that’s what happens in strip clubs at bachelor parties. Your sin is one of misunderstanding, not malice.
From the tone of your email, it sounds like you really, really, really thought that basic run-o’-the-mill lap dances were on the table. To use some Supreme Court Justice nomination jargon, your presumption is not “out of the mainstream.” Is she in the right? From a technical sense, maybe a little. But she relinquished her moral high ground by overreacting.
So if you want to get all 4rd grade and bicker about who’s right, who’s wrong, that’s where you start the arguments. But in the famous words of Mark McGuire, “We’re not here to talk about the past, we’re here to talk about the future.”
You’re getting married in a week. So focus on one thing: Damage Control.
Here’s your 5-Step plan:
1) Stress that it was a genuine, honest misunderstanding
You thought you were following the “rules of the game,” and, for most dudes getting married, the rules of the game permit lap dances. Not saying that’s right or wrong, it just is. If you knew that she was 100% against you getting a lap dance, you wouldn’t have done it. Periods. You respect her, you love her, and you’d follow her wishes. Blame you for misunderstanding, but don’t blame you for cheating.
2) Put the lap dance in perspective
Here’s one thing we’re confident of: she’s imagining this lap dance as far, far, far worse than reality. Unless you went to a mind-blowingly awesome shady and tacky strip club, the venues strictly enforce certain rules. You simply can’t do much touching. If you try and grope or fondle or kiss the stripper, Buck the Bouncer will throw you around, Hulk vs. Loki-style.
So she really has nothing to worry about: you just sat there with an awkward, dopey expression on your face for the duration of one song, and then you never saw her again and will never see her again. If that’s truly the basis for calling off the wedding, well, you two need some counseling.
3) Reconfirm your fidelity
We’ll admit it. Her overreaction got our Spidey sense tingling, and we couldn’t help but think “Trust Issues.” If we had to go way, way out on a limb, we’d speculate that she’s been cheated on-or suspected of being cheated on-either by you or a prior boyfriend. So all this stripper stuff is flaming old fears. Reassure her. Tell her again how goddamn happy you are to have found her, how lucky you are, how she’s the one and only one (Ahhhhhhhwwww!), and how you would never, ever, ever, ever violate her trust.
4) Apologize again
Remember, you’re in Damage Control mode. You said you’re a slobbering apologetic fool, but slobber just a little bit more. To clarify, you’re not apologizing for cheating, per se, but you’re sorry that this silly, frivolous weekend with your buddies caused her pain. It’s the last thing you wanted. And if you had to do it over again-if you knew how much this would bother her-you wouldn’t have done it.
5) Throw your buddies a bone
Normally, when torn between your friends and your fiancée, our advice is to always side with the bride. In your case? Wanting to un-invite them from your wedding is, with all due respect, crazy. Your friends didn’t do anything wrong. Gently convey that from your friends’ perspective, buying the groom a lap dance isn’t just “permissible,” it’s obligatory. Just like how when someone turns 21 and you’re at a bar, it’s your job to buy him a shot. No different. Yes, a Mormon would object to this binge drinking, but most would find it normal. You need to take this bullet. If she’s seriously thinking about banishing them from the wedding, remind her that this is the biggest day of your life, and that you want to share the experience with your closest friends in the world.
And if that shit doesn’t work, go ahead and hire that male stripper.
For more on where you “draw the line,” don’t miss The Plunge article: What Counts as Cheating at the Bachelor Party.