Sunday, 6 November 2016

Not much fun

A study of men who go on stag dos concluded that most of them don't enjoy it and would rather not have taken part. At various times they felt embarr-assed, humiliated, shamed and scared, and only joined in because they felt it was expected it of them.

A groom-to-be was pressured into going to a lap-dancing club and hated every minute of it. One man was subjected to sustained ritual humiliation, given so much to drink he passed out and wet himself, and then tied up with cling-film. And so on.

Thankfully I've never been on a stag do in my life. I've been to very few weddings, but in each case the groom-to-be loathed stag nights and I was never invited to one. The whole idea of relentless debauchery and drunkenness fills me with horror. I can't see the attraction, and I can't see how a hung-over and shattered groom could possibly enjoy his wedding.

People in other countries are reportedly baffled by the frantic over-indulgence of British stag dos, and the mayhem they cause in local communities. They just wish those involved would go back home on the earliest flight.

Perhaps those men who know they won't enjoy themselves should be honest enough to say so and opt out. If that means they're seen as wimps and milksops, so be it.  Better than being ritually humiliated by so-called "friends".

This lingering male tradition of ritual humiliation is pretty sick. Why do some men feel the need to torment other men by getting them to drink too much or harass women or do something disgusting or dangerous? What's wrong with a simple supportive friendship? What's wrong with being nice to each other?

The sooner stag nights go out of fashion, the better.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

If guys accept it it's their problem.I suppose that no one can be forced to participate. I read that in boarding schools there are also some very humilating rituals. Stupidity seems to be a part of human nature.
Mia

Bijoux said...

it's never the night before the wedding, at least not in the last 30 years or so here. There's been a gradual change to just doing guy stuff. My SIL's bachelor party involved going to a burger and craft beer place. The whole strip club thing is outdated, at least where I live.

Nick said...

Mia: I think you're right about humiliating rituals at boarding schools - some of them anyway. There weren't any at my own boarding school, but I was bullied most of the time I was there.

Bijoux: Sounds like the States is more enlightened over the stag thing than Britain. I don't know why strip clubs are so popular over here, they're unbelievably crass.

John Gray said...

When my best friend got married, he understood that I didn't want to go on his stag night........we had a quiet night together on another evening

Nick said...

John: Good for you, doing your own thing and not joining in the bedlam.

helen devries said...

I see adverts in Costa Rica for 'Bachelor parties' aimed at the U.S. market...but they seem mostly to involve fishing trips, zip lining and other hearty pass times.
I don't know anyone who has attended a stag night...

CheerfulMonk said...

None of the weddings I've gone to have had them. Usually there was a rehearsal dinner for friends and family the night before the wedding.

Nick said...

Helen: Fishing trips and zip lining? All very civilised and acceptable! I suspect all the debauchery is very much a British thing.

Jean: A rehearsal dinner - also very civilised. You're lucky you've never run into a typical British stag night frenzy.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I would never in a million years marry, or even continue to date, a man who would participate in something like that. One visit to a strip club and he'd find his belongings on the curb, no questions asked. But I can't see it getting to that point, because I'd never let a relationship progress with a man who had that much disrespect for women.

Dave Martin said...

Never taken part in a stag do - probably never will.
The activities you describe aren't something I'd want to be involved in.
What started out as a simple night of drinking and debauchery has now grown into a monster. Crowds of blokes are either descending on places like Prague, behaving like animals and giving the British a bad name, or going mad on some completely over-the-top boys day out.
My nephew invited me to his stag do a few years ago. It was to be a day filled with karting, excessive drinking, casinos, clubbing, and (knowing what my nephew's like when he's tanked up) probably a bit of fighting.
Added to the fact that apart from karting, none of that appealed to me, it would all be taking place in or around Birmingham. So needless to say, I declined the invitation.

Nick said...

Dave: Your nephew's stag do sounds horrendous. I would have stayed well away, for sure. As you say, British stag parties now have a terrible reputation at cities all over Europe. But those concerned don't seem to care a damn about the image of Britain they're creating. If you asked them though, they'd probably say they were deeply patriotic. Odd sort of patriotism to trash your country's reputation.

Ursula said...

I agree with Mia. No one can be "made" to do or drink anything without their consent. And please don't start me on "peer pressure". Either you ARE a man (woman) knowing your own mind or you aren't. Don't blame others for your own stupidity - not that debauchery is necessarily stupid. The most debauched I know is very much calculatedly so.

As you say, the tradition of the "stag night" and "hen do" are peculiarly British. In the motherland there were "Polter Evenings" - hosted by the couple for their friends. And most certainly not the day before the wedding. Who wants to hold onto their stomach in front of a vicar? You might not even know what exactly you are agreeing to when asked to say "I do".

Having said that, one of my most cherished adverts ever (many years ago) was of a stag night. The groom's friends leaving him naked in the desert. It was hilarious. He ran, he ran, he ran, he got himself some clothes, a moped, probably even a shave (can't remember now) - by the time he arrived at the altar you wouldn't have guessed what that poor guy had put himself through as to not disappoint the bride. In case you are curious, the advert was for a Visa card. Oh, yes, the magic of credit.

Here is a question for Cheerful Monk aka Jean: What on earth is a "rehearsal dinner"? To make sure you know how to use a knife and fork and chew on the big day? Only in America ...

As to your and some of your commentators' outrage at strip clubs. Calm down, dears. Secret Agent Woman's reaction totally over the top. What if "her" man's job involved taking a company's clients to these places? Still throw his stuff out on the curb? "Disrespect for women"? What disrespect? Let's just stick with facts and not be holier than thou. Where there is a market there is supply. There always has been a flesh market and there are women who supply it. No one forces them to do so. There is good money in it. The price (some) of these women pay? Yes, maybe high. Maybe water off a duck's back. Let's not presume we know what we don't, and let's not judge too quickly either the man who stashes notes down some g-string nor the woman who entices them to do so.

One might turn the argument on its head: One may argue that those who are prepared to actually pay women show respect for their wares and, most certainly enjoy, a woman's body the most.

Perspective, perspective is what's needed, not unreflecting outrage.

U

PS And what of the Chippendales?

Nick said...

Agent: I totally agree with you on strip clubs. From what I've heard (never having been to one), they have nothing to do with respecting women and a lot to do with using women's bodies to satisfy male lechery and make money.

Rummuser said...

During my bachelor days, I had many occasions to attend stag parties and some of the bonds built during those, lasted long periods. After marriage, they tapered off somewhat though did not stop fully. Some of the dire things that you talk about in your last paragraph did not happen in my experience and now in my widower life too I attend stag parties without any adverse effects on my peace of mind or physical well being. It helps that I don't drink!

Nick said...

Ramana: It seems stag nights in India are also more civilised than the British version. As you say, it helps if you don't drink and nasty hangovers are ruled out!

Dave Martin said...

Never been to a strip club - I have no moral objection to them at all, but I can't see the point if you can't touch.
It's like having someone waving a plateful of delicious chocolates under your nose but not letting you eat one, or like someone saying you can have a go in their Ferrari, but then locking the doors.
Why subject yourself to torture?

Nick said...

Dave: Is that the case, that you can't touch? Just a big tease then?

I have a strong moral objection to strip clubs. Whatever the women or the owners may say, it has to be degrading and dehumanising to have dozens of men leering and ogling at you as if you're a piece of choice meat.

Nick said...

Ursula: Goodness, where do I start? You've raised so many points I'm a little bowled over.

I disagree that no one can be made to do something without their consent. It happens all the time. You only have to be a bit indecisive, or too tired to argue, or offered some beguiling argument (or a wad of money), and you give way.

Again, the German Polterabend evenings sound much more appealing than the British Vomit and Pass Out evenings. I like the idea of breaking porcelain to bless the marriage.

No one forces women to perform at strip clubs? What, like no one forces women to do mind-numbing factory jobs or work a cash desk at Tesco? I think a desperate need for money may come into it somewhere. And do you honestly think the men who pay to ogle women's bodies have respect for them? Or their "wares" as you put it? If they respected women they would be meeting them as friends and not as sex objects in a strip club.

Hattie said...

Our mayor in Hilo, Hawaii went on trial for using his county-issued credit card to pay for evenings at Korean strip bars in Honolulu. He was acquitted. He's just a good old boy, after all.

Hattie said...

Sorry, not strip bars, "hostess bars." The more you pay, the more you get is the way they work.

Ursula said...

"A desperate need for money", you say.

Yes, but that also goes for men going down the mines. There are many shit jobs done by so many, regardless of gender. And many more demeaning than pole dancing. Certainly less lucrative. I will declare my hand in as much as I, personally, wouldn't be able to dance a pole, prostitute myself. But the reason for that has nothing to do with being some sort of holy whitewash Madonna. Not at all. In fact I admire women who can do this and shrug their shoulders at their punters. I also do know some remarkable men who will, occasionally, frequent those places. These guys are highly intelligent and have nothing but "respect" for women. There is no misogyny whatsoever on their part. They are buying a "service" as they are buying a drink. Sure, they will admit that if their mother, wife, daughter went down that "career" path they'd be the first to throw a hissy fit. Why? As the Angel would say: Mama, it's primal.

As it happens I am pretty close to someone who turned her whole life around and actually CHOSE to sell her body. Not because she needs to, because she wants to. Yes, don't say it, I know - she is as weird as weird gets. I have many reservations about that person but not because of her rather peculiar choice of earning a living.

U

Nick said...

Hattie: It baffles me that strip clubs are considered so "normal". What's normal about ogling women? It's something men have to be taught to do, to prove their "masculinity".

Dave Martin said...

I'd have thought ogling women was perfectly normal for heterosexual men. Obviously there's a huge difference between appreciation of the female form and being a dirty old letch. I love to see attractive women but I was never taught to, I simply appreciate beauty.

Nick said...

Ursula: Isn't that an obvious contradiction - that a man supposedly respects women and isn't misogynistic, but at the same time wouldn't want his women folk to do the same job?

Women may shrug their shoulders at the punters, as if they couldn't care less, but what are they really feeling as they're endlessly sized-up and checked-out? Most women hate their bodies from an early age, and that's why.

Nick said...

Dave: I think there's a huge difference between admiring an attractive woman and sitting in a strip club with a crowd of lecherous men gawping at scantily-clad females who probably despise their audience. There's no harm done if I admire Claudia Schiffer or Penelope Cruz.

Dave Martin said...

Perhaps that says more about loutish blokes than strip clubs. That sort of uncouth dickhead gives all men a bad name.

Nick said...

Dave: There are far too many loutish men. They seem to think it impresses people. Personally, it just makes me cringe.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Ursula - Yes, even if it was a business event, I'd be done. I would not marry a man whose job involved going to a strip club. It is indeed disrespectful to women. And it's infidelity, plain and simple. You can call it over the top or holier than thou if you need to, but I get to decide my own moral code for myself.

Jenny Woolf said...

I find it a mystery too. But the modern stag dos I know are often just a get together of friends, with a few jokes thrown in. The hen nights are often about getting together and making stuff for fun, decorations, etc. Maybe I just know rather staid people :)

Nick said...

Agent: As you say, it's not just disrespect to women, it's infidelity. It's a sordid sexual obsession with female bodies removed from any normal caring and intimate relationship.

Jenny: Yes, the stag and hen nights you've come across are far from typical! If only they were all so sedate and sensible....

tammy j said...

wow.
I have never in the least been a prude.
but I have to admit... that kind of evening and place has always made me uncomfortable.
I think it's the unpredictability of people who drink to excess and feel free to act however they might want to.
the thought of it has always made me just want to be at home with a good book! LOL!
miss boring in boredomville I guess. but so be it. :)

Nick said...

Tammy: Oh, me too. Spending hours in the company of a bunch of drunk, raucous and leering males isn't my idea of fun either. I'll join you in Boredomville!

Ms Scarlet said...

We are a weird nation.... maybe it stems from our repressed Victorian roots? Oh, apparently it's from Spartan times...
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: I'm not sure the Victorians were as repressed as the popular image suggests. And I don't think it's a reaction to repression so much as simple recklessness and irresponsibility.

Ms Scarlet said...

It's from Spartan times.
Don't mind me I am just loitering here waiting for you to publish a new post.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: I've been a bit distracted. We've had the painters in for two weeks, plus the Trump sensation, plus Leonard Cohen dying. I'm trying hard to cobble together a new post....

Ms Scarlet said...

I will wait :-)
Sx

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

I don't get it .... and I certainly don't understand why some go to Las Vegas for a week or more !!! What's wrong with a couple of drinks at the local ?!!!! I'm obviously old !! XXXX

Nick said...

Jacqueline: I don't know why anyone would want to go to Las Vegas period, never mind for a stag do. The whole place seems totally artificial. But then, stag parties are pretty artificial too. Yes, why not some drinks down the pub?