At the bachelor party, your role as a groomsman is more complicated than just pounding tequila shots and putting a stripper named Chardonay through college. You are both the enabler of the groom’s debauchery and, simultaneously, the guardian of his dignity. You are both a babysitter and a baby. The good cop and the bad cop.
For a complete overview of the bachelor party weekend—destination ideas, how to budget, a cost spreadsheet, sample itinerates, etc—click here. At the main event itself, however, you should follow these 10 rules of conduct:
One: Keep Him Hydrated
Even if he’s still demanding more shots of whiskey, make him drink water. Doesn’t matter if he’s sitting meekly at the table or running around buck naked and screaming “It’s a trap! The Death Star is fully operational!” In fact, Project Hydration should begin well before he turns into a naked Admiral Ackbar. Every other time you buy him drinks, also slip him a glass of water to chug.
See also: Bachelor Party Supplies
Two: Let the Groom Win
The trick is to let him win without being obvious. “74-0! Wow, you won again!” might be a bit much. But whether it’s basketball, softball, or Madden, pretend he’s a girl you’re trying to sleep with (to a point).
Three: Always Pay for the Groom
It gets real old, real quick. Tough. You need to pick up the groom’s meals, booze, green fees, and at least the first couple of lap dances. If he gets hog wild with the stripper and wants another six hours in the champagne room? That’s on his dime. And that brings us to the next rule….
Four: Be A “Fidelity Safety-Net”
We all know that your groom’s a great guy and that he would never cheat. But just in case… when he gets pissed-drunk and has a stripper’s pair of breasts literally smacking in the face, it’s time for you—or at least someone in the bachelor party—to switch gears from “Get Wasted” mode and shift into “”Don’t Fu#k Up Your Life” mode. Especially if the groom has a history of, ah, “fidelity challenges,” then make extra sure that someone’s watching his dirty little hands. It’s not a fun job; at the time he’ll want to sucker-punch you in the heart. But the next day—and every day for the rest of his life (or until his divorce)—he’ll thank you. Click here for more on where the “line” is.
See also: 20 (Stripper-Free) Bachelor Party Ideas: Locations and Lodging
Five: Ice the Grudges
It happens. Guys can have tension in their friendship—rifts, beef. Nothing, however, is allowed to darken the mood of the bachelor party. Check your baggage at the door. I was at a bachelor party in Montreal and two of the groomsmen, decade-long rivals, got in a fight that split our party into two, caused us to miss the strip club, and ultimately ended with the groom having to play peacemaker. Fail.
Six: Consider A Brief Window of Sobriety
This sounds preposterous, but it’s actually possible, from time to time, to enjoy certain activities in life that do not involve alcohol. It’s true. So while your weekend will certainly climax with a night of drunken hyginks, you should also plan some relaxing, less R-rated, clean-and-sober daytime activities. Detox. (To get you started, check out The Plunge’s 20 stripper-free bachelor party ideas.)
Seven: Get Bottle Service
If you want to hit a club or high-end lounge, assuming the place is any good, there’s a 0% chance that the doorman will let you in. 10 dudes and no girls? Forget it. The only way you’re slipping the velvet rope is to buy a bottle. Call the venue in advance, work with the VIP Host, and arrange for your own private banquette. As with the limo, a bottle of Grey Goose (an outrageously marked-up $300) is palatable when you consider economies of scale.
Eight: Banish the Phones
Or at least the emasculating calls to girlfriends, wives, and bosses. Think of the bachelor party as like “church” for your groom’s last gasp of freedom. Would you yuck it up on the phone in the house of God?
See also: Bachelor Party Ethics: How Far is Too Far?
Nine: Kiss Your Paycheck Goodbye
Steel yourself to lose a great deal of your hard-earned cash. otherwise you’ll begrudge every last nickel. Bachelor parties are like dentists, pay-by-the-ounce salads, and cell phone plans—they always cost more than you expect.
And that reminds us. Have you seen The Plunge’s bachelor party budget spreadsheet? Get it here.