The Bachelorette Bash

Melissa Stagnaro

I’d wager that on Thanksgiving Eve, many people’s thoughts were running a-fowl. But while Tom Turkey probably featured prominently on most minds, mine was focused on, well, hens. You see, last Wednesday night was my friend Kerri’s Bachelorette Party – which, in case you are wondering about that poultry reference, is sometimes called a “hen night” in other parts of the world.

Now, when I hear bachelorette party, I think of a bride-to-be’s last hoorah – complete with phallic themed party favors, raucous laughter, indecent party games and copious amounts of booze. Oh, and male dancers. You wouldn’t want to forget the male dancers.

Kerri’s party wasn’t any of those things. And I couldn’t have been more relieved. But that stereotypical bachelorette bash is a pretty apt description of the first such event I ever attended.

I was just out of college and Danielle, a friend of my friend Liz, was getting married. In honor of the impending nuptials, her bridal party had organized a trip to a traveling male revues – one of those Chippendales wannabe-type shows, at some Holiday Inn out on Long Island.

Even though I didn’t know Danielle that well, I was invited to tag along to fill out the group. I was more than happy to oblige – after all, who was I to pass up a chance to see a whole troupe of scantily clad, gyrating male dancers!

It was August 31, 1997 – a date I remember, not because of the show itself, but because it also happened to be the night Princess Diana died. In fact, we learned of her death at the party. From the bartender, no less, on one of many visits to the banquet room’s port-a-bar to get more dollar bills.

Before you get all judgmental (or let your mind go too far into the gutter), let me explain that the frequency of our trips to get change was absolutely not in an effort to encourage the performers, but rather to discourage them. You see, this particular group of male dancers seemed to think that we were there for their pleasure rather than the other way around. Throwing money at them was a kind of self defense.

There was a definite “ick” factor.

Those overly oiled studmuffin wannabes would come waving his leopard print banana hammock in my direction, and I’d do the only thing I could. Which was to frantically stuff dollar bills in his g-string. In the hopes that he would leave us alone, of course.

Rather than titillating, the whole thing was a bit traumatic. But not wanting to disappoint Danielle, we played along. All of which was well documented in photos, unfortunately.

While I tried to destroy all evidence of my participation in the event, others flaunted it. Liz, for example, sent out Christmas cards that year featured one of the photos from that night.

Despite the evidence that she’d secretly enjoyed the experience, when Liz got married a couple of years ago she made all of us in her bridal party pinkie swear that we wouldn’t attempt to recreate that evening in her honor.

We were all a bit disappointed, although none so much as Danielle, who had probably been waiting for a decade to return the favor.

But no, Liz had to be a spoil sport. So instead of a raucous night out, we had a perfectly respectable dinner at a great restaurant. What a let down. I mean, she wouldn’t even wear anything proclaiming her bride-to-be status. And there wasn’t so much as a phallus-inspired straw in sight.
No offense, it was a little boring.

Kerri’s Bachelorette Party, on the other hand, was the perfect mix. A dozen or so of us hopped on a mini-bus and headed to Turning Stone Resort Casino for a comedy show. There was lots of female bonding, plenty of free-flowing champagne and lots of laughs. And Kerri even wore the requisite ‘Bride-to-Be’ sash.

Thankfully, there were no male dancers.

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