How to Hang at a Bachelor Party Now That You’re a Dad

It's bachelor party season. Here are a few things that you, a man with kids, should keep in mind.

by Jeff Vrabel
Four men from "Hangover" movie at the bachelor party
The Hangover

June opens the season of bachelor parties, which, if you’re reading this, are probably things that you used to attend, many years ago, in your former life. Like car shopping, movie attendance, and the phrase “staying up late,” the idea of bachelor parties changes significantly when you have kids. What’s more, it requires you to change along with it, as the behaviors you once exhibited back in the early rounds of your friend-weddings are now considered unacceptable, bordering on problematic, bordering on depressing. At a certain age, and with a certain number of kids (i.e. any integer above zero, really), bachelor parties must be approached with a slightly modified worldview. If you’ve been invited to one for someone slightly younger — a brother-in-law, a cousin, an especially youthful friend — here are some humble suggestions on how to properly enjoy yourself without being an embarrassing old man.

Don’t be an old man.

Despite your job as a dad and the advancing ravages of age, you have the advantage of being not dead, probably! The bachelor party very much represents a night out, and you still get those. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a night to yourself. That said…

For the sweet love of God, don’t be a young man.

God, you’re old. Look at you. The spackles of gray on your unshaven mug, the way in which your carb-stuffed stomach is struggling to escape the well-traveled garment formerly known as your “going-out shirt.” (Related: Before putting that on, light it on fire, throw it into a metal garbage can, and pick something else. Do not have a going-out shirt.) The world being a cruel and unfair place, there are simply behaviors you can’t exhibit anymore without looking like you’re in the midst of a “college throwback reunion weekend” or something equally mortifying. You’re driving in the center lane now, bruh.

Don’t say “bruh.”

That was a test. If you didn’t recoil in instant horror, we’re going to have problems.

Your kids are adorable/good at baseball/excelling in dance. Nobody cares.

You are raising sharp, smart people who will grow up to shape the world, but unless you’re hanging out with members of the neighborhood dad’s group, this is not the time to tout their accomplishments or show off your photo skills. If you hear yourself talking about travel soccer to someone without kids, punch yourself in the gut for us. Nobody here has any idea what a PJ Masks is. I have two children, and I barely know.

It’s no longer acceptable to fall down in a drainage ditch.

Well, it was never acceptable, but there was a time when you probably didn’t care. While there is theoretically a roguish charm to getting blackout drunk and gambling/getting into a bar fight/line dancing, such activities get questionable pretty fast when you have a family. Also keep in mind that your formerly Viking-level tolerance has most likely atrophied due to years of relative inaction.

Under no circumstances should you get tattoos.

You’re too old, and those parts have probably begun to sag.

Kindly remember that over the course of the night your dumb face will be captured by approximately 45,000 cameras.

Depending on your age, you may or may not have had to deal with bachelor parties in the age of Every Idiot Documenting Everything All the Time Always! And odds are good that someone in your party maintains a weirdly lively social media presence for some reason. And while you hopefully make friends who are hip enough to resist posting your activities on Instagram, and while you hopefully quit Facebook like six months ago, there are still a lot of phones to contend with.

You might be the old one.

And this means you can’t act like one of the young ones. Many people are probably looking mostly at the young ones instead of you. This is a reality now, and not one that can be addressed by any degree of tequila shots, break dancing, or collar popping. Stay in your lane, and things should be fine. Get out of your lane, and things could get pretty weird, bruh.