One last chance for poor decisions

May 4, 2011

I have made a few poor decisions in my life. Like that time I sent my banking information to the nice Nigerian man I met through email.

Or on Monday night, when I sent all those expensive “Atta Boy, Iggy!” balloons to the Liberals’ celebration party. Talk about awkward.

At certain points in his life, a man needs to exercise his right to make bad decisions. And at no time is that more important than at his bachelor party. Relax — I’m not talking about ordering strippers, or getting arrested or other sleasy things, but bad decisions as in it-seemed-like a-great-idea-at-the-time kind.

It’s practically required. A bachelor party is a young man’s last chance to make truly short-sighted, stupid decisions. After marriage, our poor choices are limited to things like voting for the Communist Party of Canada and investing in Nortel stocks. There will be plenty of time later in life for rational, reasoned plans and well-thought out plans.

Two weeks ago, I stood in the woods of New Brunswick cheering like an idiot as a rotting fishing shack dragged from where it had been stashed somewhere around the time of Cuban Missile Crisis was thrown on top of a massive bonfire. It went up like a gas can, wobbled and fell over, almost sending one of my friends up in flames with it.

You might think that was a poor decision. But you would be wrong.

We’re just men, after all, and we are slaves to tradition. What else do you do when someone is getting married?

Naturally, we built a massive fire, and we burned stuff. We cooked an eight-course meal, limited entirely to barbecued meats. We bought a month’s worth of beer, and drank it all in one night.

To an outsider, we probably would have looked like morons. Pile after pile of wooden palettes and fallen trees were thrown onto the bonfire. Its flames reached several storeys and could probably have been seen from space. Then, came the old fishing shack, which we helped along with some motor oil.

Grown men were wild-eyed and cheering like crazed monkeys set loose in a banana warehouse. We had fire, beer and grilled meat. It was, in a word, perfect. That night, we went to sleep on couches, the floor and other flat surfaces, covered in soot from the fire, satisfied that we had done what we had come for.

The bachelor party is one of the last great male rituals, right up there with growing your first beard and pretending to like girly movies to get next to women. Throughout history, men have celebrated one last night of freedom before marriage.

Bachelor parties come in all shapes and sizes, but all they share one thing in common – fine displays of poor judgment. Last month, Prince William went surfing, raced speedboats and water skied in Cornwall for his bachelor party. I went into the woods of New Brunswick and singed a few hairs.

Sure, there are superficial differences. The prince had rapper Snoop Dogg record him a song and had two billion people watch him get married. I had my friend Joe serenade me with some strange ditty he made up about my mother. And my televisions deal is still, uh, in the works.

But despite his royal upbringing, his private school pedigree and security entourage, you can be sure Prince William made some bad decisions on his night, too.


Guelph Mercury, May 3, 2011

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