An Open Letter to Bachelorette Parties

In short: Stay out of gay bars on your big night.

Dear Bachelorette Parties,

It was May, wedding month, and my boyfriend and I were visiting some friends in Washington D.C. Our hosts took us to an excellent gay club called Town, a fun dance arena with wild music and very cute boys. We were doing our thing, having some drinks and cutting all available rugs on the dance floor, when it happened. We were attacked.

No, we weren’t hate-crimed or anything like that. The beast that attacked us wasn’t that bad – but it was still terrible. It was the shrieking hydra known as a bachelorette party – a hateful, relentless beast whose obnoxiousness knows no bounds.

Really, I shouldn’t say “we” were attacked, I should say my boyfriend was attacked. He and I were with each other, doing a gentleman’s grind, when out of nowhere this girl in a tiara came up behind us and put her claw on my boyfriend’s shoulder. She pulled him away from me and began to grind up against him. My boyfriend, horrified, shook his head at her and turned away, somehow wrenching his small self from her manicured grip. She looked insulted and turned away in a huff.

I’d like to say that this was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t. Bachelorette parties have been plaguing gay bars and gay men for years, and it appears to only be getting worse.

STAY OUT

Before I go any further with this rant, let me give two disclaimers. First: I have nothing against bachelorette parties. I think it’s a good idea to celebrate the end of your singledom by going out with your best friends, getting wasted and drinking out of penis straws. By all means, as long as you and your groom-to-be have agreed on what is OK during this party, then go ALL OUT.

Second, I have nothing against women in gay bars. I don’t like it when gay bars make women feel uncomfortable, because I think gay bars are supposed to be some of the most welcoming places on earth. However, I DO support obnoxious people being banned from gay bars, and I think most people would have to agree that there is little more obnoxious than a bachelorette party.

But it’s more than that. Bachelorette parties are obnoxious, and rightfully so, but to gather  your gaggle of shrieking gal pals and bring them to a gay bar is, frankly, degrading to gay men and our culture.

I understand why women would want to go to a gay bar for this kind of a party. Going to a gay bar means you can get as drunk and as sloppy as you want, and while you will probably get some scowls, you most likely won’t be groped or drugged. So that’s an upside.

I fear that beyond this, a big part of the reason girls like to go to gay bars for their bachelorette parties is because they operate under the mentality that “gay men love women.” This is wrong. Some gay men love some women, just like some blondes love some brunettes. And if you’re an obnoxious, entitled drunk girl who is hosting or participating in a self-centered ritual of heterosexual marriage, then odds are most gay men are not going to like you.

Which brings me back to the anecdote I shared in the beginning. I have many female friends – in fact, most of my friends are chicks. Awesome, awesome chicks. But what makes them awesome, among other reasons, is that we chose each other. Like any normal and healthy friend relationship, we found each other and decided to become friends after developing an understanding and realizing we had things in common.

No one, under any circumstances, get to “pick a gay BFF” as if we were packs of gum at the check-out aisle. And that is what it feels like, when you stroll into a gay bar with your pink boa, scanning the dancing crowd for the cutest, most-approachable gay guy you can find, and ripping him away from his boyfriend to thrust your groin into his own un-aroused pelvis.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Absolutely not. Far from it. There’s an entire Facebook group dedicated to the cause. In fact, one gay bar in Chicago went so far as to ban bachelorette parties – though they are doing it for a slightly different reason.

“The women are a hoot, and some can be just delightful,” said Geno Zaharakis, the owner of Cocktail, a gay bar on North Halsted Street. “But because not everybody can get married, watching them celebrate, it’s such a slap in the face. Prop 8 just reopened the wound.”

Well, that’s not really the reason why I hate bachelorette parties in my gay bars. I live in Massachusetts, so I can get gay married when and if I please. And you bet your sweet bippy that if/when I do, I am gonna have a rager with my friends, men and women alike. I’ll probably go to a gay bar.

What bothers me is that gay bars are created as a place where we homosexuals can go to be with one another. Women and lesbians and straight men can come to our bars, of course, as long as they acknowledge that they are stepping onto gay turf, and that our bars are about us, not them.

While gay bars were initially put in place because gay people didn’t feel safe being themselves at straight bars, now they mostly exist because gay guys like to be with each other. Straight men hang out with other straight men, women hang out with other women, lesbians flock together like no others – and gay men like to be with gay men. Hence the gay bar.

A bachelorette party is meant to be all about one person, and that person is almost certainly not a gay man. Women who are celebrating their “last night out” typically want everything to be about them – and I agree, that night should be all about them. But that doesn’t mean you can come into a gay bar and expect gay men to leap at the chance to make your night something to remember. That, my girlfriend, is degrading and humiliating. We are not a penis-shaped gimmick gift – we are human beings with gay lives.

What I find ironic about this whole situation is that women come to gay bars to avoid being groped, at least in theory. But then, once the music starts pumping and the jagaer bombs start flying, who becomes overly aggressive and doles out unwanted physical attention? It’s you, ladies. I can’t count how many times I have been forcibly grinded with by a member of the opposite sex. No thanks.

So what should we do?

A few months ago, I went to a non-gay bar (straight bar?) with a few friends – two straight men and a straight girl. When I got to the door, I was informed that though my female friend could go in for free, I and my male pals would have to pay a cover.

“But I like penis,” I said to the door man. He just shook his head and told me the fee still applied. I understand why – straight people, like us gays, go to bars to meet other straight individuals, and possibly sleep with them. A bunch of dudes in a straight bar won’t do much for business unless there are some ladies around.

So let’s apply this reasoning to gay bars. How about any man who shows up to a gay bar gets in for free, but ladies need to have at least 2 men with them in order to avoid an entrance fee? Is that fair?

That way, if you really must bring your bachelorette party to the gay bar, at least you’ll bring something for us gays, too.

– Liam

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