Stag Do's are hellish debaucherous things. My anathema towards stag do's is purely born out of my nongregarious nature. I've never liked clubs, I'm a non-dancer and I'm in love so harbour zero compunction to visit strip clubs or chat up scantily-clad floozies or shotgirls. On the plus side, stag-do's have now become perfunctory episodic chapters in my life where I can meter my own levels of discipline. Having just returned from a stag-do in the stag-do epicentre that is Blackpool, I can safely tell you I'm not the same man I was a few years ago on a stag-do in Barcelona where I managed to pin 40 clothes pegs to my under carriage. (I'll save you the picture).
However, speaking of unwanted mental imagery, to quote Rutger Hauer in Bladerunner, 'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe'.
I've seen a stag arrive at a party sober, be paralytic ten minutes later and commit adultery with a stripper all within a 30-minute window. I've seen grown men defecate themselves, do forward-rolls through lit BBQ's, lose a deposit in a Budapest hotel five minutes after checking in, I could go on.
There's no greater window into a man’s character than how he behaves on a stag do. Lincoln said 'any man can face adversity, if you really want to test a man’s character you should give him power'. And how much power is betrothed to a man once let of the leash? He's lawless. No other half dragooning him into doing household chores, no boss, no kids. Just an oasis of bars and rampant booze-fueled alpha males goading you into downing sickly chilli or liquorice flavoured shots. What could possibly go wrong?
As a seasoned veteran of Stag-Do's, I'd like to give you my Top 8 Survival Tips for getting through the night. A sort of 'stag-do do's' and 'stag-do don'ts' if you will. (Thank you).
12-inch Subway. This is one of the very few occasions I'd endorse consuming this much bread. Despite your best intentions you'll be drinking far more than your recommended daily allowance and the only way to last the course is to give your stomach a fighting chance of maintaining its dignity.
Don't try to Ace the Alpha. You might be struggling to get your gags in with the Alpha Male dominating the conversation and pre-empting every punchline. However, it's not your place to usurp him. The stag pack is a symbiotic circle that only survives on a hierarchy of personalities. In my experience the pack generally gets divided into smaller groups the longer the night goes on and the Alpha's are the ones with the least amount of discipline when it comes to alcohol consumption. I used to be quite snobbish about Alpha's, again perhaps born out of spite or envy for never having the cosmetic make up to be one myself. Now I see them as crucial ingredients. If the entire stag party was a collection of introverted naval gazers like myself then we'd never leave the comfort of the hotel bar.
Hotel Address Card and a Score. When you check in to the hotel get the card from reception and keep it in your sky rocket along with a crisp twenty-pound note. It's 4am, your phone has died, you've lost the herd and you appear to have wandered off into dead man’s alley. If you're lucky enough you'll fall into a taxi and those crucial bits of paper will get you back to holy ground.
Don't compete. In the past I've fallen fowl of trying to keep up with the professional drinkers. You're not going to be ex-communicated from the group for not downing that 5th shot or deciding to pack it in early. You want to represent the best version of yourself at all times and knowing when to call it a night will be the biggest test of your self-discipline.
Get Involved. By this I don't buy a drum of swarfega and hire your own roly-poly stripper. Make sure you're interacting with everyone in the group as equally as you can. If everyone has bought an aviator outfit for the stag-do, make sure you're not the only one at the party in your Superdry Tee and Board Shorts declaring 'didn't get delivered on time'. It just shows a lack of can't be arseditude. (Yes that's a word).
Pay Up. One of the biggest headaches organising a stag-do is chasing people for payments. This could be hotel deposits, activities, whip rounds etc. If you've signed on don't be the last to pay or suffer the walk of shame of being frog marched down to the cashpoint by the Best Man on arrival.
Do a little reccy. If you're heading to a foreign city do some due diligence. Find out what's driving the local economy, what was its role during the war, what is it famous for and what are the more interesting/quirky things about that landmark, museum, pier, tower etc. This information isn’t for throwing ‘planking’ gauntlets to the lubricated stags, more over for conversation stimulators on day 2 when the hangovers are kicking in.
Check in with the missus. Remember her? She may have told you to go out and have fun, but she'd still appreciate knowing you've not fallen off the end of Blackpool pier and are halfway across the Atlantic. A reassuring call or text goes a long way.