To preface this writing I will point out that I know some of you who read this are from countries foreign to my own. I have to admit that I don’t know the first thing about what takes place before a wedding in places like Indonesia or Romania. Wherever you are from, bare in mind that I am writing through an American(U.S.) lens.
Since I’ve discussed why I feel it’s important to plan for a marriage and not just a wedding, as well as the biblical standard of mutual submission husbands and wives are to show to one another, I thought it would be good to continue with our marriage theme.
It’s not a secret that I have a decent amount of contempt for the modern bachelor/ette party. I know the idea of them has become imbedded in American culture, especially for men, though I would point out women are starting to demonstrate equal problems in this regard. Them image of what encompasses the pre-marital ritual of the United States is almost universal; alcohol, debauchery, and a feeling that there is nothing wrong with it.
The common refrain is that a bachelor party is a mans “last night of freedom.” I instinctively counter with the question, ‘Why do you want freedom?’ If you’ve found someone you’re prepared to marry, why would you want to waste you time fawning over women of ill repute and consuming copious amount of alcohol and/or drugs? I know not all men partake in less than appropriate activities before they wed, and I commend you if you don’t. But, for the most part, it seems to have become the norm.
Let’s look at one of my, many, issues with this subject; the stripper. First, I know I may be in the minority here, but does no one else think setting next to a group of your friends while a naked woman dances on you is weird? I don’t get it. I never have. I can’t think of a single man I regularly interact with that I would want around in that scenario.
Secondly, if you and your friends are setting around a stage, laughing as a woman crawls around picking up money you throw at her, does that not strike you as inappropriate? If she were homeless picking up money you all threw down on the sidewalk, would that be funny? Do you think that because she acts like she enjoys it that she does? Do you not realize that when she walks away she likely rolls her eyes at you, much like I imagine other women in your life do?
When I was researching for this post I began to wonder about the number of dancers who double as escorts. I later realized that having ‘chances of having sex with a stripper’ in my search history may not look good. Anyway, I found my way to two anonymous forums where people asked this very question. Most of the men there were seemed to be seeking advice on how to have sex with a stripper, not if happens or not. The women answering were what I was curious about, though. Tragically, my suspicions weren’t far off. They seemed to be divided down the middle. Half said it was just a job, and that just because you strip doesn’t mean you’re a prostitute. In summary, the other half said if you have a thousand dollars in your pocket, anything goes. Some will argue this is the exception not the rule and that it doesn’t really happen, I would argue that the club closest to me got shut down because the women there were dancing on the wrong poles. So, it does happen.
Also, from one of those forums I was lead to a website where, apparently, escorts actively advertise their services. It turns out shopping for women is as easy as shopping for clothes. I was a bit taken back by the fact that there were so many escorts in my area, some of whom could be bought for $200/hour. I thought SESTA-FOSTA took care of that, but apparently not. Click here to go to the National Human Trafficking Hotline website.
I know most men are going to argue that all of that isn’t relevant because the majority of guys don’t actually hire prostitutes… According to this article by men’s health, one-third of all men cheat on their fiancées at their bachelor parties. Ninety percent of those men lied about cheating for the duration of their marriages. So there’s that. If you’re going to start your marriage off with a foundation of infidelity and lies, how well do you think your marriage is going to go? Or, considering the divorce rate, how long do you think it will last?
While not all men hire strippers and prostitutes, there is still the problem of binge-alcoholism that persists. What does getting drunk with your friends, falling off your porch, breaking you arm and nose, blackening your eyes the night before your wedding celebrate? (That is a true story. Also, WHO HAS A BACHELOR PARTY LIKE THAT THE NIGHT BEFORE THEIR WEDDING?!) Is behaviour usually reserved for college freshman appropriate for a man who is preparing to lead his wife and future children in the ways God?
My concern isn’t limited to men. Now, let us move on to women. I know many ladies who would say that bachelorette parties aren’t anything like the parties men have. While this may have been true in the past, it no longer holds true. Whether this is a result of the feminist movement, or just a general shift in societal attitudes, I do not know. I do know, however, that women are not as innocent as the appear.
Recently a young woman I know was getting married. The were a considerable amount of activities going on at her bachelorette party that would typically only be associated with immature men. I didn’t experience any of this first hand. Instead, for reasons I will likely never understand, they posted videos of the night on Facebook.
There was the typical large consumption of alcohol. They played a variation of pin the tail on the donkey, except there was a poster of a naked man, and they weren’t pinning a tail on him… While the bride-to-be was dancing, clearly inebriated, there was a woman in the background demonstrating her talents at cucumber handling. While everyone there seemed to be having a good time, I couldn’t help but think of her two young children. One of whom is old enough to manage her own Facebook account. What lessons does this teach a child? Is this behavior ok? What about when all of her daughters friends see her mother acting this way? Is this the path her children are being lead down?
To make matters more complicated, most of them women involved were practicing Catholics. I have issues with a woman drunkenly fellating a cucumber in the same room as an icon of Mother Mary. And, then posting that video on the internet thinking it’s funny. But, as men want “one more night of freedom” I’ve been told “girls just want to have fun.”
People say that I’ve become a bit of a prude in my older years. I don’t dispute the claim. I remember being young and enjoying the Roman life. I also remember where it leads you. As was said by Paul, when I became a man I put away my childish things. The path to the promised land isn’t littered with liquor bottles and G-strings.
Sometimes I think about what it would be like if Jesus returned today. Not in terms of the second coming, but quietly, to evaluate His church. I imagine Him in the living room of a bride-to-be, looking at her and all of her friends passed out on the floor beneath pictures of His mother. I picture him looking at a man and all of his friends as they taunt a woman with money until she removes her clothes. The thought of seeing His face when He stands in the back of an empty church on a Sunday morning is the hardest part.
If the church were to be judged today, I would surmise unequivocally that we have failed; both God, and ourselves. While society has progressed in things such as technology, medicine, and science, I don’t think it’s really changed that much in the past two thousand years. People today live much like the Romans of the first century. Drunkenness, revelry, and sex define our modern culture. People worship themselves, not God. Romans 1 effectively describes America today. Instead of Christianity changing society, it would seem it’s society that has changed Christianity.
How often do we see people doing things that they shouldn’t, both those within and without the church, but do nothing about it? How often do we look away, and avoid speaking out for fear of offending someone or causing hurt feelings? Are we to live in a bubble, praying for people on Sunday morning while continuing to sit by while they party their way to oblivion? If we see someone absentmindedly about to walk off of a cliff, should we not try to stop them, regardless of how happy they seem?
I don’t mean to only criticize others. Truly, if God were to hand out charges of ‘accomplice’ I would be one of the most guilty. I would urge everyone, as I also try to correct myself, not to be complacent when the world goes astray. Also too, be not complacent when a brother or sister in Christ goes astray. Are we to judge? No. Are we to help others as they stumble in their walk, as we should pray they would do for us? Yes. Trying to help someone who is walking the broad path isn’t judgmental, it’s arguably one of the greatest acts of love one can show.
People don’t like for you to point out when they are doing things they shouldn’t. But, bare in mind, it’s not your own morality that you are urging them to adhere to, but Gods. It’s not you that they rebuke, but Him. They may not listen, they may become angry. They may not speak to you ever again. But, is trying to save their eternal soul not more important than maintaining your temporal relationship?
This brings to mind a scene from the movie ‘Old Fashioned.’ (If you go to church with me, it’s in the library if you want to see it. It’s not my favourite, but worth watching.) A man who is getting married is having a bachelor party with his friends. He goes to a hotel room with them, unaware that a stripper is coming. She enters and starts dancing. After a moment the protagonist turns her boombox off and asks him to reconsider what he’s doing, telling him to think of his fiancée and their daughter. He does so, and they leave. Outside the groom-to-be apologizes, and says he didn’t know what was planned.
How many of us would do the same? Would we sit there and enjoy the show? Would we sit there and feel uncomfortable, but not leave for fear of being teased? Would we leave? Would we stop what was happening, even though it would pit us against everyone there?
It’s easy to worship Jesus when you’re setting in a church pew. Who are you worshipping when you sit under the neon lights of a stripclub?