Show Us Your Tits

May 19, 2008 at 7:03 am (Uncategorized)

Llew has very firm ideas about the Buck’s Night tradition. He believes strongly in the best man’s role being one of honour and obligation; the Buck’s Night is as big a responsibility, if not bigger, than making sure the groom arrives at the wedding in one piece. The best man can, in a pinch, fashion emergency wedding bands out of aluminium foil, but what he bloody well can’t do is fail on the groom’s night of nights. That’s not the wedding night, by the way, just in case you’re still trapped back there in the romance period, no, the really big night of the nuptials is the Buck’s Night.

And as far as Llew’s strictly adhered to, time-honoured Code of Conduct is concerned, failing on the Buck’s Night means not booking the strippers.

Take Saturday night, for example. Llew was at the Buck’s Night of a really good friend of ours who’s getting married overseas in a fortnight. The groom instructed the best man that he just wanted a really casual night out with the boys. A piss up at the pub. And that, no more, no less, is what the best man delivered.

The groom proceeded to get so drunk he was refused entry into even Sydney’s least salubrious establishments past the princely hour of eight o’clock. Some members of the marauding tribe seemed to think it was okay, in that event, to pack him off home and get back to the pub in time for the second half of the rugby. Llew was incensed. This is Rule No. 1: Never abandon the groom. Even I agree with this one. There is, after all, no Buck’s Night without a Buck. And in fact, I applied the same logic to this groom’s bride’s Hen’s Night: it ain’t over ’til the lady says it’s over. So on Saturday, the boys rallied around their Buck and eventually decamped en masse to his house, thus getting around that whole responsible service of alcohol thing. No bouncers or barmen to deny service in a man’s own home, and a jolly good thing too. Let’s celebrate by opening another slab of beer.

Now there was just one problem: where were the strippers?

This is always the problem. At least, it’s always a problem for Llew and possibly other men who attend these things with fixed ideas about what they should involve. You see, I had a near-identical conversation with him at the last Buck’s Night he was at, where, in keeping with the groom’s instructions, the best man hadn’t organised an exotic dancer to visit them in the night. Llew and other attendees would not be dissuaded. Strippers must be procured. And then as on Saturday night, when I happened to speak to him at some point in the night, his voice was full of righteousness, of a delicate balance restored.

“We’ve finally got a stripper coming,” he said, like they’d had to overcome an obstacle course of failed diplomacy and international trading sanctions.
“Oh boy,” I said, “that’s such a relief.”
“Honestly,” Llew continued, genuinely indignant, “some blokes are bloody hopeless. It’s a Buck’s Night.
“Well,” I said, “this is the second time in as many Buck’s Nights that this has happened. Maybe you’re the only one who has a problem with it. Maybe no one else cares.”
“Oh that’s right, Di,” he said, his voice thick with sarcasm, “I’m the only guy in the world who thinks there should be strippers at a Buck’s Night.”
“I’m just saying that it keeps happening and you keep being the one who insists on rectifying the situation. I just think that’s kind of weird.”

And I do. I must confess that it’s really off-putting to me that Llew’s one of the stripper keeners. One of the guys who helps make it happen. This time he even phoned around himself. I know because he listened to his voicemail messages yesterday, and I could hear the stripper’s voice from the night before helpfully explaining that she was waiting outside. It’s all kind of sleazy, if you ask me, and I don’t care if it is the Thing You Just Have To Do. It’s still kind of sleazy. I’m less bothered if all men believe, as Llew so clearly does, that strippers maketh the Buck’s Night, but there’s growing evidence to suggest that they don’t. Otherwise they would have been booked for the past two Buck’s Nights as the matter of course Llew’s always assured me it is. Because the best man hasn’t booked a stripper and because the groom hasn’t requested that he do, I can only conclude that strippers are in fact a non-essential ingredient for at least some men I know. And it sort of bothers me that in both cases Llew and others felt the need to find strippers whether the groom actually wanted them or not. It’s supposed to be his night, isn’t it, so why should he have a stripper if he doesn’t want one? And if he wanted one, all he had to do was ask his best man for one. That’s what the best man is for.

This probably sounds like an anti-stripper post. It’s not. I accepted a long time ago that there are differences between the sexes that are profound. Lots of men have an appetite for the bared flesh of a strange woman. Some of them indulge this appetite more fully than others, but in my understanding with my husband, it’s really only a Buck’s Night scenario where it’s acceptable for this naked woman who is not me to be in the room with him. Otherwise, what the fuck is happening here?

I don’t really understand the appeal myself, but then, I don’t need to. It’s got nothing to do with me. But when I imagine all these mid- to late-thirties fully clothed and blind drunk men gathered in a room watching a woman take her clothes off, I shudder. I shudder for so many reasons, but one reason is my embarrassment for the men in the room. I’m embarrassed for them. I try to see the room through the stripper’s eyes, and the whole tableau makes me cringe. How appallingly uncomfortable it must be for all involved. Oh, the sights these girls must see. And as I tried explaining to Llew yesterday, things have changed since men first started booking strippers for the Buck’s Night. People are getting married a lot later. Few are sexually inexperienced by the time they do. It’s hardly the same thing booking a stripper for a 21 year old virgin than it is for a 37 year old with multiple long-term relationships and a bald patch behind him. Isn’t it possible that the context has changed? Will they be booking strippers as paunchy 40 year olds when the last of the warriors finally falls? Isn’t that a rather pathetic picture to conjure in one’s mind?! What happens to some of these rites of passage when all the rites have already well and truly been passed?

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1 Comment

  1. Charlotte said,

    I find the whole thing undignified and embarrassing. But I do think that many men, buttoned up and right-on and trying so hard to be good non-sexists in the rest of their lives, kind of feel it’s deserved, just once in a while. My brother-in-law and husband’s best friend, knowing my objections and feminism, delighted in arranging a stripper for my husband’s stag do. For a few horrible days, there was nearly not a wedding. I felt humiliated and degraded, and I wasn’t even there.

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