My good friend (let’s call him Tom) got married recently and in preparation for this joyous occasion the customary bucks party was organised. We were informed that this particular event was to be held in two parts: The day events would include a round of golf, lunch, and a game of bowling; the night event would include a selection of more ‘adult’ activities.
While golf and bowling are rather tame activities in and of themselves, they did involve Tom being dressed in a blonde wig, a frilly pink dress, and being obliged to carry around a life size blow-up doll all day. To add to the excitement, during the travel to the various destinations, the hired minivan had been well-equipped with a number of sexualised games and activities for both the groom-to-be and his fellow travelers. I was later told that night activities (which I missed) involved dinner via Nyotaimori (the practice of serving sushi on the body of a naked woman), much drinking, and a visit to a city strip club.
Bucks parties are traditionally an opportunity for a man to spend time with his close male friends and engage in activities that might not be so possible once married. It is a sort of ‘rite of passage’ from adolescence to adulthood but perhaps it is worth considering what we are including in this rite?
I am not sure how an event involving strippers and sex games can be considered as preparation for anything more than a life of unfaithfulness (and the evening my friends had was rather tame compared to other bucks nights).
The idea of quality time with one’s friends makes sense, but if an activity such as attending a strip club would be completely out of bound after marriage, how on earth could it be justifiable before marriage? What does it say about a person’s view of the value of sexuality and the dignity of the human person to watch a paid stranger provocatively remove their clothes? How can a man stand on top of a bar with a stripper one weekend and stand before the altar of God the next weekend making vows to love with a love is faithful and true?
Perhaps to a degree, one can excuse (maybe) someone who has had no formation in the sacred character and nature of marriage, someone who knows nothing of the meaning of sexuality as a gift to be shared with one’s spouse and not with everyone that comes along…but…to those who are practicing their faith and call themselves Christian, the excuse is severely weakened. One does not stumble into a strip club without some idea of what is going on and one cannot claim to be watching a woman take her clothes off as merely something to do while enjoying a round of beers with the guys.
My friend Tom is a faith-filled man, a good man. He actually called me prior to the bucks party to pre-warn me about what might transpire. Unfortunately, though, warning those who may be offended is not enough: we must lead by example.
Each of us needs to decide what type of man we are going to be. Do we stand by and let things happen, or do we take a stand and make things happen?
There are moments in every life in which a man can rise up and say “I choose to walk another way, to walk in the way of what is right”. For a man who is getting married the statement to his best man might translate to, “I’m looking forward to the bucks night you are organising, but we won’t be mocking sex or using women as objects”. There can be no confusion about where we stand on such an issue; it is non-negotiable.
The bucks night preparation provide a valuable opportunity to show our friends that the dignity of the human person is something we prize above all else. What more honourable gift can a man give as sign of his undivided love? A man should not avoid a strip club because he thinks his fiancé may not like it, he should avoid a strip club because it is a place that declares ‘sex and love have no value’ and a real man knows that is a lie.
Copyright 2014 Bernard Toutounji