Someone should tell you in advance if you’re going to be sharing a room with seven guys as the only girl. Correction: a room that only has one bathroom with seven guys.
The occasion was my friend’s bachelor party. I got invited because I’ll be standing on his side as a groomsgal. Groomsmaid? Whatever the term is, it has yet to become popular enough to become currency in our everyday lexicon. Since then, it’s been fun shaking things up: should I wear a dress or a suit? Should I match the bridesmaids or the groomsmen? It’s gender bending, folks! And then I got asked that supremely awesome question. Bachelor or bachelorette party? Given that I know the bachelor far better than the bachelorette, it was a pretty easy answer, made even easier once I found out that the weekend was in Ocean City, Maryland.
My first dilemma was “What to pack?” I’ve always prided myself on being a lightweight packer and defying expectations of my gender when it comes to luggage. After much deliberation, I decided to wear a sundress for the first night, and wear shorts and a t-shirt the following two days, with layers for the deep-sea fishing trip we had planned. I figured, we weren’t due to arrive in Ocean City until 4pm; so rationally, it would make sense to get to the hotel, relax, grab some dinner, walk on the boardwalk, and have a nice leisurely evening. Nothing too active, in which case a sundress would be perfect.
What I didn’t take into account was that what made sense to me, as a girl, is not the same thing that would make sense to a bunch of testosterone-laden guys. Not even a half hour after everyone arrived were we on the beach throwing around a football and then playing best of three in volleyball. Ideal activities for a dress, clearly.
After being the first one to fall asleep during what must have been the fifteenth round of beer pong since 7pm, I woke up in the middle of the night on the couch and came to some conclusions. Girls at a bachelorette party? They sleep under blankets. They shell out extra money to have several rooms so everyone has a bed. Girls put on pajamas and wash their faces and have a whole getting ready for bed routine. Everything gets put away and while there might be a bunch of cups and bottles around, somehow, there seems to be a sense of order. Most importantly? There are multiple bathrooms.
Boys on the other hand sleep on top of the covers in pajamas or whatever they were wearing earlier that day – even if it’s covered in sand and ocean water. Some sleep on the beds; others sleep in sleeping bags on the floor wherever they can find a spot. No one has a getting ready for bed routine, and some even go out at 3am to play more football on the beach. When it comes to a bathroom especially, they take turns making it the stinkiest room in the building and pat themselves on the back for being the most crass.
Girls on a beach will get the sand off before they get to a room. Boys will track it back to their room and make sand castles in the bathroom (in more ways than one.) Boys are also more cavalier about the state of cleanliness they leave in; which meant that it would take me about three or four days before my feet were no longer black. And that was with multiple showers, a bath, and various exfoliation methods.
Boys talk about things that happened in the past. Girls talk about things that are happening right now. Boys talk about sex. Girls talk about sex. (Hey! Common ground!) Boys are less picky about where they eat as long as the waitress is cute. Girls come prepared with an agenda and a list of places to eat – often times, a bachelorette party starts with the food and only goes up from there.
Girls are more inclined to go out dancing. Boys are more inclined to find an arcade and play video games or whack-a-mole. Girls tend to have plans made for every activity along the way. Guys tend to go where the wind blows. In some cases, this may mean rescuing a drunk girl wearing only a bra and underwear out of the water at midnight. And then talking about her level of attractiveness after being good Samaritans.
I was proud of the way I was able to hold my own with seven guys, but ultimately, I ended up leaving earlier than planned. The idea of a long hot shower, a proper bed, and just some space to wash my face and be girly was too tantalizing for me to give up.
But it must be said that even with the stinky bathroom, the dirty hotel room with clothes and beer cans strewn everywhere, the black feet and the slow, maddening descent into uncleanliness, I had a great time. Even though I only met most of the guys on Friday afternoon, by Friday night, I was grabbing food off their plates and they were grabbing food off mine. We never did make it deep sea fishing – tropical storm Isaac had a few things to say about that. Instead, I laughed from our balcony overlooking the ocean while watching six idiots frolic in a rip tide while the rain poured down. I laughed as we all ran into a tourist shop to wait out the sudden downpour that overtook the skies and ended up trying on sunglasses and pointing out ridiculous t-shirts. I laughed and almost cried as my friend told stories about each one of us, and how almost as soon as he was engaged, he knew he wanted me in the bridal party.
The next time I get invited to a bachelor party, I’ll definitely be more prepared for sports and late nights playing games rather than long dinners and dancing. But for a first bachelor party, I gotta say it was pretty damn good.