Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Meaing of Bachelor Parties

Thinking about wedding rituals today becasue (1) it is LilBro's anniversary (LilBro -- don't forget, man, it's your anniversary), and (2) one of us here at the Playground is getting married very soon and I am playing a role in the ceremony.

TheWife and I have a longstanding argument about rituals in general. She loves them because they bring certain practices into the regular routine of life and those practices can be attached to that which is meaningful, therefore making routine life more meaningful. I argue that the rutualizalation itself strips the meaning away by making it mere motions that are gone thorugh instead of an authentic spontenaous act of appreciation of that which is meaningful.

Weddings, it seems can go either way. LilBro and our friend are going the non-standard wedding route in which they create their own ritual, personalized to express what they and their partners find meaningful. But then there are standard parts before the ritual, specifically, the bachelor party.

The bachelor party was oringinally a celebration of the last night of freedom, but marriage nowadays begins well before the wedding. No one about to get married, in a sense is free the night before the wedding. Certainly, there are those who celebrate with the traditional sorts of debauchery. But for those of us for whom that would not even be considered an option for ethical and social/politcal reasons, what remains of the meaning of the bachelor party?

Sure, it is a celebration of oneself, but is it different from a birthday party? Mine was a poker game with dear friends, one of whom hit me with a coconut cream pie -- for Comedists, this is a deeply meaningful event and I will be ever-grateful to my firends for having colluded to this end. But in general, for enlightened men, what is the meaning of the bachelor party?