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best man blues

I’ve been asked to be best man at my best friend’s wedding. He and I have known each other since fourth grade. I know one of the other groomsmen pretty well, we grew up together, too. Of the other three, two are college friends who I don’t know and the other is his future brother-in-law, who I also don’t know.

What are my obligations as best man? I’m not worried about a toast, I can handle that. But do I have to arrange a bachelor’s party? I know my friend will want one, but I’m not into strippers and drunkenness and cigars. Plus nowadays it seems like bachelor’s parties are getting more and more elaborate, with prizes and fundraising and all kinds of stuff I don’t know how to handle.

He asked me, and I appreciate what that means, and I want to say yes because I love him. And I definitely don’t want to say no because I hate one part of a bachelor’s party and don’t know how to do the other part. So what should I do?

Straight Laced

The Gay Perspective: I’ve been a best man and it never occurred to me that I was expected to haul myself off to a hetero strip club. That tired cliche of too much to drink and a tawdry trip to a strip club is unlikely to be fun for everyone. There is a reason you are the groom’s best friend—talk to him about his expectations and consider the bride’s feelings as well. I doubt she would be pleased if she thought you were taking her betrothed off for a lap dance. And for heaven’s sake, use some creativity to come up with ideas for some guy activities. Among my friends, this would include skin care, preparing a brunch, or a matinee of a great musical, but you might consider taking a boat out for a fishing trip, or just for sailing, maybe a trip to the race track, or kayaking. Some guys like paint ball or amusement parks. Make it fun and make it memorable. You can bump it up with a souvenir key chain, or t-shirts, or some other reminder of the event. There is no law that the bachelor party needs to be disgusting.

Strictly Classified says: It’s you’re job to ensure that the groom and his new bride have an enjoyable time on their big day. As the best man, you are responsible for the bachelor party, too. However you may delegate some responsibilities to the other groomsmen. If the groom wants some sort of stripper-fest, keep in mind it’s about him, not you. If he wants cigars, head up to Virgil Avenue and ask the associates for some advice—they have always been helpful to me. As for the fundraising, you need to sell tickets. You might encounter some folks who will say, “I can’t make it that day,” to which you should counter, “I didn’t ask if you could come, I asked you to buy a ticket.” I know it sounds a bit pushy, but it works.

As for the reception, you will need to come up with a toast, but it sounds like you are both literate and thoughtful; no problems there. You should also keep your drinking to a bare minimum at the wedding; this doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, either. If you feel like you’re overwhelmed, you can always consult other groomsmen, friends, family members, and, of course, the groom for thoughts and advice. My best to you and the bride and groom!

Smart Money says: Friends don’t ask friends to stand up in their weddings. Sorry!

The Straight Skinny says: I’ve been to exactly two bachelor’s parties: my own, which was an afterthought because I basically eloped, and consisted of drinking cheap beer from tiny glasses in a scary saloon called Chief’s with two other guys; and my brother’s, which was a fun affair that involved humiliating him, drinking a fair amount, and a terrific dinner at a nice restaurant. No strippers, nothing untoward. (You’ll have to live with other people’s drinking; you don’t have to overdo it yourself.) There were no games. There was no fundraising. Everyone paid their own way. The fact that popular culture is conveying to you a trend doesn’t mean you need to buy into it. Just plan a good evening out.

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