There’s an old saying about the distinction between art and pornography: maybe you can’t define pornography, but you’ll “know it when you see it.” Typically, the ethics of the bachelor party works the same way: if it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong.
Then again, it’s never really that simple, is it? To help guide your moral compass, we’ve created a continuum of bachelor wrongness: “0” means you’re spotless as a lamb; “10” means you’re a cheating, lying douchebag who has no business getting married in the first place.
What’s your score?
Basic Male Bonding Activities
Cheating Score: 0.000
Harmless stuff like playing poker, puffing cigars, and knocking back some bottles of well-aged Scotch. If your fiancée is threatened by this activity, consider calling off the wedding. Seriously. At bare minimum, every guy deserves some quality time with his best friends.
Flirting with Random Girls at the Club
Cheating Score: 1.5
When your buddies drag you out to a bar, they’re bound to tell the waitresses and random girls that it’s your last night of freedom, your swansong, your final gasp of fresh air.
To clarify: this is bullshit. Even if we accept that being in a committed relationship is losing your freedom (which we don’t), your “last gasp of freedom” was months or even years ago—you’re in a monogamous relationship; you’re already committed. So you can’t really use this as an excuse to stray.
That said, on your bachelor party night, harmless flirting should remain beyond reproach (as long as it remains harmless).
Going to a Strip Club… Just to Watch
Cheating Score: 3.5
Yes, theoretically, it’s possible to go to the strip club and just watch. This makes about as much sense as going to Home Depot to stare at the pipes and lumber.
Or, more exactly, it’s like getting a table at a restaurant and just watching other people eat their food. The dancers and other staff in a strip club are trying to make money, so you coming in and taking up space is cutting into their bottom line.
Also, it’s insulting to the girls if you refuse their goods and services. They work really hard for your benefit—only a real jerk would ignore them.
Tipping a Stripper While She’s Onstage
Cheating Score: 4.2
You know the move. It’s when the stripper grinds out her pole dance—in public, onstage—then you put some money in front of you, and then she’ll shower you with a little extra attention. It’s not a lap dance, per se, but it is a more personalized form of attention. Your fiancée may not be thrilled, but most will be okay with this.
The Lap Dance
Cheating Score: 4.5 through 6.5
The great debate. Is getting a lap dance cheating?
Let’s look at it from your fiancée’s perspective. A hot, slim, naked, woman is grinding her crotch against you, making you pant with lust, and rubbing her breasts all over your body. And you wonder why your fiancée’s jealous? If this was some random girl at a bar, she’d have every right to dump you right then and there.
The counter-argument: this is not some random girl in a bar. It’s a controlled act in a controlled environment—and the stripper doesn’t want to screw you, she just wants to screw you out of another $100.
Two variables come into play:
- Your fiancée’s thoughts on the matter.
- Your intentions and attitudes toward lap dances.
Let’s say that your fiancée explicitly forbade you from getting lapdances, but your friends have no such constraints. This sucks. You may get mocked by your buddies. And frankly, this may indicate that you and your fiancée need to get on the same page about a whole host of behavioral issues. That said… the rules are the rules. At the risk of getting all cheesy, your fiancée is more important to you than a 3-minute dance that costs over 20 bucks.
The second variable: your intentions.
If you view the lap dance as something fun and harmless that’s just part of bachelor party behavior—like gambling in Vegas or snorkeling in Hawaii—then she really has nothing to worry about.
If, however, you long for those non-fiancée breasts, insist on more and more lap dances, and start getting handsy…then yeah, your fiancée has a valid gripe.
See also: 20 (Stripper-Free) Bachelor Party Ideas
Kissing the Stripper
Cheating Score: 7
Everyone is different, but this is where we draw the line. Call us old-fashioned, call us prudes, call us in the tank for the bride—but a kiss is a kiss. And kissing is cheating. Because the stripper was only doing it for money, however, this sin isn’t as bad as…
Kissing a Random Girl at the Bar
Cheating Score: 7.5
We’ll give it to you straight. The guy who makes out with a random girl when he’s celebrating his upcoming marriage is the guy who will later have an affair, the guy who makes that “50% divorce” statistic a reality. Just sayin’.
Hand job from a Stripper
Cheating Score: 8.1
Dude. You got a hand job. From someone besides your future wife. “But it was at a bachelor party!!!!!” doesn’t excuse it, doesn’t condone it. You’ve cheated. Now what do you do? Click here.
Blowjob from a Stripper
Cheating Score: 8.5
Bill Clinton’s infamous rationalizations aside, a blowjob counts as sex. If a blowjob is powerful enough to get a president impeached, it’s powerful enough to end your marriage.
Sex with a Stripper
Cheating Score: 9.3
Congratulations. You have just bought yourself a lifetime of shame. You will bury this, regret this, and be ashamed of this for the next 70 years. Or until your divorce. Wonder which will come first? At least you didn’t have…
See also: Bachelor Party Supplies
Sex with a Random Girl
Cheating Score: 10.0
Why is this worse than sex with a stripper? From your fiancée’s perspective, at least a stripper is a professional, doesn’t represent a real threat, and can probably be dismissed as a one-time deal.
(Note: this doesn’t mean she won’t be pissed. She’d be outraged, she’ll go ballistic, and she’ll almost certainly call off the wedding. We’re just comparing relative degrees of badness, like Stalin vs. Hitler.)
But some other girl? That’s a pretty straight forward relationship deal breaker. (And again, if you do hook up with Random Girl, click here.)