Generations of women have accepted their fiancés going to a strip club for his bachelor party as a normal guy tradition – but here’s why this toxic, unhealthy tradition needs to die.
The first words that come to mind when we, as a culture, imagine a bachelor party are… strip club. Countless movies and TV shows throughout the years have depicted a young groom-to-be as he rounds up his buddies and pays for random women to strip naked for him the night before he vows to spend the rest of his days with one woman – after all, it’s his “last night of freedom.” And somehow, we all got it in our heads that this was normal.
Of course, it takes hardly any time at all after we express our opinion that maybe it’s, you know, not okay, honorable, or acceptable for a man to spend his last night as an unmarried man in the paid presence of nude women for the noble men of Twitter to speak up.
“If you’re worried about your man getting turned on by strippers you have other issues going on. I bet you stop mid intercourse to ask if he’s thinking of you,” one commenter said.
“If a woman is willing to commit to a lifetime of marriage to a man but cannot deal with a single night of fun with his buddies, then she’s doing him the biggest favor imaginable by ending things,” another said.
Many other commenters quickly defended the tradition, citing their parents’ or their own marriage as proof that going to a strip club right before getting married wasn’t at all harmful. Others said that while they agreed, a guy couldn’t always control where his friends took him for his bachelor party, so we should let it slide. Others called women who weren’t okay with it a myriad of things: insecure, controlling, uncool, or needy – how original!
It’s easy to feel shamed into submission by these comments, forced to wonder if we are, indeed, just insecure and unfair, controlling and uptight. If it has been accepted as totally normal – as tradition – are we wrong to not be okay with it?
Wide Acceptance Has Nothing To Do with It
A common argument in favor of guys hitting strip clubs before the aisle is how widely accepted it is. It’s almost expected that a bachelor party will end up there, and the “it’s just a guy thing, a tradition” reasoning is used as a means of passing it off as ethical.
But whether or not something is widely accepted has no bearing on its morality. We don’t have to look that far back through history books to know that the cultural acceptance of a practice has nothing to do with whether or not it’s ethical or acceptable.
No, We’re Not Insecure, Controlling, or Uncool
The fastest way to shut someone up is accuse them of being something they never want to be – the uptight, needy, hypersensitive girlfriend who knows how to ruin a good time. It’s no secret that being the fiancée all his guy friends roll their eyes at isn’t something any of us dream about, so the moment we’re called crazy, insecure, or controlling, we feel manipulated into staying quiet. We want to be the “cool” girlfriend, after all.
But here’s the thing: being called any of these things doesn’t make it true. What’s true is that a guy seeing the night before his wedding as his last night of freedom is questionable; a guy paying for women to strip for him when days or hours later, he’ll look his fiancée in the eyes and pledge his faithfulness to her is disrespectful and nonsensical; a guy manipulating his fiancée into being “cool” with it is objectionable.
We want a man who takes his commitment to us seriously and holds women in too high a regard to objectify them.
Our expectations aren’t too high, our boundaries aren’t too strict, and our principles aren’t too idealistic. Our discomfort with our fiancé going to a strip club isn’t due to our insecurity or need to control him, but our desire to be with a man who takes his commitment to us seriously and holds women in too high a regard to objectify them.
If we don’t agree with our fiancé going to a strip club for his bachelor party and he’s upset by that, this is a major red flag and we shouldn’t have to alter our boundaries to accommodate his night of “fun.”
Take It from Women Who Work at Strip Clubs – It’s Not Innocent Fun
Our cultural understanding of guys going to a strip club for their bachelor party is that he just wants to have some silly fun with his friends. On his very last night of being an unmarried man, he just wants to let loose with the guys – that it’s really not such a big deal.
But this is unfortunately an overly simplistic understanding of a deeply nuanced issue, and if we want to know what really happens at the strip club, we can trust what the women who work at one say.
One woman who witnessed a bachelor party at a strip club said she’d never cared about her future fiancé going to one – until she saw what actually went down: “We got to the side of the strip club where the girls are fully nude, and it was this guy's bachelor party. They had this man get on stage with two, fully nude women. They stripped him down…One girl was taking her hoo-ha and shoving it in his face and putting her melons in his face. Meanwhile the DJ is over there yelling, ‘Let's try to get this man laid tonight on his last night of freedom! YEAH!’”
One woman who worked at a strip club shared, “We had this thing called the 'groom's special'...where basically your groomsmen would choose two girls – we would drag you on stage, we would spank [him]… grind on you for two or three songs. Their groomsmen would be like, ‘Yeah, woo! Last night of freedom, I won't tell if you take her home!’”
Another said, “I’ve also seen men talk about how they don’t really want to get married, but everything has already been paid for,” adding that she’d often seen grooms leaving with escorts and that, in her estimation, 7 out of 10 engaged men take things “too far.” She has even “seen high school sweethearts get cheated on at bachelor parties.”
It’s safe to say that a woman’s discomfort and disapproval of going to a strip club for a bachelor party is based in reality and not insecurity or our “own issues.”
“It Just Happened” Isn’t a Great Excuse
We all know that grooms often don’t plan their own bachelor parties – in this case, a guy could argue that he had no idea where his friends had planned to take him, but that he would’ve had to ruin the night in order to steer clear of a strip club. This once again puts us in the camp of the wet-blanket-girlfriend who forced him to “behave.”
He’s more concerned with not upsetting his buddies than he is with maintaining his fiancée’s trust.
The issue here is that he’s more concerned with not upsetting his buddies or “ruining” their plans than he is with maintaining his fiancée’s trust and respecting her desires. A guy whose friends’ feelings take precedence over those of the woman he’s about to marry is far from being husband material.
Why It’s Worth Rethinking the Relationship If He Goes to a Strip Club
Getting married, committing our life to another person, is one of the most significant choices we’ll make in life. It will inevitably dictate the rest of our life. This also means that any time before we’re married, no matter how in love we are, we need to continue assessing our fiancé’s actions.
If a man spends the days leading up to marrying us going out to ogle at naked women (and as we now know, most likely physically engaging with them as well), this isn’t the sort of red flag we should ignore – especially so close to what should be a celebration of our love, a demonstration of our faithfulness.
His blatant act of disrespect warrants our calling the wedding off, or at least reconsidering our relationship. If he isn’t celebrating, counting down the days until he gets to call us his wife, but rather mourning his supposed loss of freedom, this is a sign to rethink our commitment to him for the reason that he clearly isn’t ready for it.
If he’s mourning his supposed loss of freedom, rethink your commitment to him – he clearly isn’t ready for it.
So What If Your Husband Went to a Strip Club for His Bachelor Party?
Maybe we gave into our desire to be “cool,” to let him do his thing before walking down the aisle – but in the back of our mind, something about it always bothered us, and it never stopped secretly making us uncomfortable.
First off, we shouldn’t feel stupid for being upset by this, even if it was years ago. Second, it’s worth bringing up to our husband, not to start a fight, but to let him in on our pain and be honest about what we’re feeling. While we can’t go back in time and change that night, it’s important to deal with its aftermath.
If it’s an issue that continues to bother us, even talking to a couple’s counselor can help us express our hurt while healthily engaging with our husband and working to rebuild any trust that has been lost.
The normalization of an engaged man taking part in sexual activities with other women, or even simply watching them dance nude for him as a “last hoorah” is nonsensical, incredibly misogynistic, and troubling. It’s not something to take lightly, and may even warrant reconsidering our relationship entirely.
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