The MANual: Bachelor Party

Don’t Make “Blotto” Your Motto

Maybe getting blind, stupid drunk is your idea of a good time. But you’re going to need to pace yourself at your bachelor party. You don’t want to get so drunk you can’t even remember all the fun you had.

The conventional wisdom says that you should over-indulge to an extreme at your bachelor party because, presumably, you will never have the opportunity to party again.

But conventional wisdom is an idiot.

The goal of any social drinking is to get drunk enough to feel the positive effects from alcohol (euphoria, camaraderie, and relaxation) without crossing the line into the negative (loss of coordination, obnoxiousness, falling over while your friends film it with their smartphones).

Your bachelor party is an opportunity to generate the kind of memories that will keep you warm in your old age. You want them to consist of more than just the cold feeling of the toilet bowl seat against your cheek. With all that in mind, here’s an hour-by-hour breakdown of how to maintain the perfect level of buzz.

8:00 PM: Eat Some Food

It’s an old cliché, but it’s true: you should have a meal before you go out drinking. This will essentially line your stomach, slowing the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Protein and fat-rich foods are especially good for this purpose. Schedule dinner before you go out to the bars and you’ll last longer all night.

Photo by Cindy Yamanka

9:00 PM: Set The Right Pace

The CDC defines a standard drink as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Assuming you’re a standard issue adult in reasonably good health, your body can process roughly one drink an hour. For the average man, four or five drinks will bring your blood-alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent (enough to qualify you for a DUI in any state in the Union).

How do you keep on the right side of drunken idiot? Go back to the basics: Try to drink only as much as your liver can process, one drink every hour.

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10:00 PM: Deploy Spacers

You don’t have to be nursing a lukewarm microbrew for a full 60 minutes, either. Make liberal use of spacers—nonalcoholic drinks between the alcoholic ones—to pad out your time between rounds. Follow up each beer or cocktail with a seltzer or cranberry juice or two. Spacers not only slow down your boozing, they also keep you hydrated, which will help alleviate hangovers. Your groomsmen, by the way, should be helping you keep an eye on this.

11:00 PM: Opt For Quality

For some reason, young bachelors seem to think that chugging beers and downing shots is the only appropriate way to celebrate impending matrimony. We disagree.

Pony up for the good stuff. Not only will you feel more sophisticated, you’ll feel better the next morning. Leave the cans of generic beer, Jell-O shots and bottom-shelf shooters for the guys on Spring Break.

12:00 AM: Pass On The Freebies

People are going to be bringing you free drinks the entire night, because you’re the bachelor and it’s tradition. But your friends may try to pressure you into overdoing it–daring you to finish a full flight of scotches in fifteen minutes, for instance. That’s when it’s time to beg off.

The best way to turn down a free drink is to indicate the one you already have. Most people will take the hint and offer to get your next round when you’re ready. If your friends are insistent, use one hand for your beer or cocktail, and your other for a spacer. Even the pushiest drinking buddy will acknowledge the basic limits of the human body. You only have two hands, after all.

Photo by Luis Efigenio

1:00 AM Trust Your Judgement (Up To A Point)

Remember: the more you drink, the less you think.

Keep an eye on how late it is, and how much you’ve already had. Your judgment is going to steadily deteriorate as the evening proceeds, and all the self-restraint you showed in the first five hours can easily be undone in the last one. The later it gets, the more you’ll need to be discriminating about the free drinks coming your way. Hold fast.

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2:00 AM: Stick To One Buzz At A Time

Alcohol is a drug, and often it doesn’t play well with other drugs. Remember this if you’re on any prescription or over-the-counter medications. Read up on whatever you’re taking, or talk to your doctor.

If part of your party plan includes smoking, snorting or popping pills, use the same degree of caution. Don’t look on this as an opportunity to experiment: if you’re not sure how a drug is going to mix with the four shots of tequila you’ve already consumed, save it for some other time.

Oh, and don’t try to avoid the inevitable hangover by taking a bunch of aspirin or Tylenol before you start drinking. Doesn’t work that way. In fact, in can be dangerous (stomach bleeding, liver damage, etc.). Stick to drinking lots of water-based spacers as the evening goes along. If, come morning, you wake up with a five-alarm hangover, take some aspirin or ibuprofen then (but eat first).

All Day, All Night: Stay On The Wagon

If you’re an alcoholic, you should not have read this far. A bachelor party is not an acceptable vacation from sobriety: it’s possibly the worst time for you to fall off the wagon, with the possible exceptions of the ceremony itself, your wedding night and the birth of your children. Our advice is to have a booze-free bachelor party. Or, if you think the temptation will be too much, skip the bachelor party completely.

Bottom Line

Your bachelor party is something you’re going to want to enjoy and savor. So, paradoxically, your best plan is to refrain from overdoing the fun. Drink strategically and you’ll end up having a better time.

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