I want to start off in my defense by saying that “Lola” had seen better days and that she was long past overdue for her time in the pasture. She had maybe four teeth in her head and mascara so clumpy that it looked like it had been made from oatmeal that was dyed jet-black. Circling her garish red lipstick was a collection of tiny, fissure-like wrinkles from years of smoking unfiltered Pall Malls, making her mouth look like a withered and puckered-up old crater. Every time she wheezed out, “C’mon, sweetie… Just one dance won’t kill you!” I had to wince from the stench of the stale tobacco and vodka sneaking out from beneath the cloying haze of her poorly camouflaged Altoid breath.
Yep, she was the nastiest stripper I’d ever seen – or smelled – and she only had eyes for my money. It was my bachelor party, so all she saw when she looked at me were dollar signs floating around in her eyes. She was a heat-seeking missile and I was her big red blazing target. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her licking her chops like some sort of hungry predator ready to pounce upon my wallet and suck it dry.
Luckily for me, though, that was when my best man, Mike, stepped in to save the day. Being a very good friend, he was able to read my posture and body language very quickly and assess, quite accurately, that I was trying to “escape to my happy place.” In a truly selfless and courageous act, one that I will always be indebted to him for, he casually and politely pulled “Lola” to the side and whispered something in her ear. In a matter of moments, and with several furtive glances over his shoulder at me, she scurried off like a frightened little kitten and I didn’t have a problem with her for the rest of the night.
It was at that moment that I discovered a perfect description for the role of the best man at any bachelor party – they are The Groom’s Security. No, they usually don’t wear stuffy three-piece suits or talk into microphones hidden surreptitiously up their sleeve, but their job responsibilities are incredibly similar. First off, like good security, they must plan the event well in advance in order to maximize the chances of everything going off without a hitch. Second, the best man must be on constant guard for the entirety of the night, repelling any and all attacks upon The Doomed Groom’s fun. And lastly, if something or someone (as in “Lola’s” case) should, by some horrible twist of fate, make it through the walls of their defenses, the best man’s only choice is to take the bullet for the groom, sacrificing himself for the benefit of all.
The Advance Team
Most people are not aware of the breadth and sheer amount of preparation that goes into any presidential event. Every last minute is scheduled down to the minute in advance – from the moment Air Force One touches down to when it lifts back off the tarmac on its way back to Washington. There is nothing left up to chance.
Back when Bill Clinton was in the White House, I was lucky enough to work at an event that the president was attending. I was stunned by the amount of time and organization put in by the Secret Service’s advance team prior to his arrival. Every step the president was going to take had been rehearsed before, leaving any and all contingencies well-considered and planned for. Can you devote this kind of effort and energy to the bachelor party? Probably not, but any time that you take to plan stuff in advance will pay off immensely. At the very least, I would recommend reading my columns on picking restaurants and strip clubs and then visiting the ones that you’re considering. Why? Because there are many important things that you will need to know ahead of time, some of them being:
- How far apart are they in both distance and travel time?
- Do they have enough parking?
- How expensive are they?
- Is there enough room for your entire group?
- Do they adhere to all the rules we mentioned in The B.O.D.Y. B.A.G. Method?
You should have the answers to all of these questions well before the night of the bachelor party. If not, you open yourself up to all sorts of variables and surprises – and I don’t mean that in a good way. You will be caught off your guard by unforeseen issues and your entire plans for the night could very well go down the drain.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that you can’t have some spontaneity in your evening. That would be hell-a-boring! But, being well informed affords you freedom and structure from which you can then easily go ahead and improvise and have fun from. If you don’t have these things solidly in place, you will find the night degrading into chaos right before your very eyes.
Head On A Swivel
Another thing I noticed at the presidential event was the heightened sense of awareness of all the Secret Servicemen and women. No one was slouching at his or her post. They resisted the urge to be distracted by the festivities and kept their laser-like focus on the crowd. Their heads were on a constant swivel, scoping the area for anything that might not look 100% kosher. You could just feel in the air that they were prepared to leap into action at the slightest hint of a problem. Interestingly enough, this very stance of vigilance acted as its own deterrent, cautioning any who might want to try something abjectly nefarious, or even of a questionable motive.
This is the same kind of alertness you should aspire to when you are the Best Man at a bachelor party. Just as Mike read my body language in my standoff with “Lola”, so too must you also be constantly on the lookout for things that might go wrong – and then deal with them prior to the point where they actually become a problem. Your goal is to make sure that the Groom stays entirely naïve about anything and everything that might bring his enjoyment to a screeching halt.
Let’s say one of your guests gets too drunk and starts to get out of hand. If you’ve been keeping your eye on the party, this is something that you should have seen coming pretty early. You’ll be able to act on it well before it gets out of hand because it didn’t take you by complete surprise. You will have more time to come up with a solution, to then implement it, and then keep the party rolling like nothing ever happened.
Be like the duck
There is a great quote that I’ve always appreciated that goes something like, “Be like the duck. Be calm and cool on the surface, but paddle like hell underneath.” This is the motto of the consummate Best Man. They should always be the calm and unflappable center of all activity. To the Groom, things should always appear to be well under control, and there is absolutely nothing at all to be concerned about. The more tense and apprehensive you appear to be, the more and more the bachelor will come out of his comfort zone – and that just so happens to be the very you don’t want to happen! If something or someone becomes a problem, try as best you can to make sure not to let it show and keep him believing that you have everything well in hand.
Taking the bullet
At every bachelor party, the time will come when the best man will need to “take the bullet” for the groom. What do I mean by this? Well, basically… The best man, upon seeing a problem that can’t be averted, will step into the line of fire and act above and beyond the call of duty, putting himself into a position that he would not normally put himself in. Using “Lola” as the example, Mike stepped in as my human shield and dealt with her so that I didn’t have to be subjected to any more of her unrelenting propositions. Usually a nice and soft-spoken guy, Mike took “the bullet” of dealing with her, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening.
To this day, I still don’t know what Mike said to “Lola,” but she didn’t bother me again that night. Every so often though, I would catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye – and the look on her face was one of indignant caution. It was what I might imagine a surly Rottweiler looks like after it’s received a good face-full of pepper spray from the mailman. And it was not until that moment, that I had ever realized just how integral the best man is to the flow and tone of a bachelor party.
But that’s how it is with the Secret Service – isn’t it? You don’t notice them until you need them. But when you do, you’re certainly glad they’re there.