The Best Man Diaries – Paul (5/6)
Men are a funny bunch. Stereotype would have you believe that a stag do is about drinking games and strippers. But then according to stereotypes, the French are running around in stripy tops and berets while waving garlic about. Hint: they’re not.
The activities now available for men to partake in on a stag event are now so numerous it makes planning pretty hard for a completely different reason. Rather than worrying that you’re fulfilling a cliché, we’re now overwhelmed by the choices at our fingertips.
Last year I was lucky enough to partake in three different stag dos, one of which I organised myself. And as best man, the stag do is sort of your crowning achievement. That’s essentially what being a best man is all about – making sure that the stag do is epic. If possible, more epic than the last one. And so that is what I attempted.
Our stag is Alex. We call him Stratton. Or Strap-on, depending on just how testosterone-fuelled the “banter” is at that particular moment. He’s an unusual chap, and he’s my best friend. He goes from serious to stupid in one second flat but unlike our other stags thus far, he has a few more inhibitions about him, which made choosing a wedding dress for him a lot tougher. His rules on public nudity are fairly absolute.
I should take this moment to note that you have two options when it comes to the limits of your stag’s boundaries. Either, you choose to respect them because you want them to have a great time OR, you force them into things they aren’t comfortable with for the pleasure of everyone else. I’ll let you consider which one is more moral and which is more fun.
The Best Me
Me, me, me. I have an inkling that great things were not expected from me in the best man department, and I wouldn’t have blamed such doubts at all. I’m a control-freak and a perfectionist and I suffer from panic attacks when things don’t go the way I hope they will. That kind of attitude towards event-planning is generally not widely regarded in achieving the desired results from something as chaotic as a stag do. However, I liked to think I didn’t do such a shabby job. Even if I did spend my weekend freaking out.
My wife would tell you that organisation is not my strong point. But then once you’re married you learn a lot of stuff like that about yourself.
Turns out I’m not all that awful, but perhaps not as good as I hoped I would be. Much like Daz, I sent long, meandering emails designed to give the boys as much information as possible. I laid out my plans in a linear fashion, included times, addresses and general costs of the weekend.
I chose for us to go to Nottingham. The past three stag dos had taken place on the south coast, and they had been beautiful, but when given the option of heading to Nottingham or Bournemouth for the activities I had chosen, I decided to shake things up a bit and head north.
Of course, the drive to Nottingham takes a few hours, so I decided that it’d be wise to provide some in-car entertainment by way of challenges. These ranged from eating a whole jar of pickled onions to stunts of complete nudity. I factored in posting the completion of these challenges to social media – as a way of humiliating everyone and as a means of calculating points which resulted in a prize on the second night.
To be honest with you, a lot of my organisation time went in to creating the challenges whilst perhaps it would have been better spent arranging a full-weekend.
I’d already decided on the main activity early on in the year and had everyone pay for it. Once I’d experienced Daz’s awesome stag do for Jamie, I decided that I needed to up my game, and so I arranged more activities. Which meant asking people for more money. If you can do everything in one go, you’ll make life a lot easier for yourself. I’m still not sure I got money off of everyone.
Top tip: trying to convince a bunch of competitive adults that they need to be in teams for a stag do can be more challenging than you’d think. Tell them from the get-go that the prize is beer.
So maybe strippers were off the cards, but sometimes you can look for the next thing. Nottingham is home to the UK’s only Hooters. If you aren’t familiar with Hooters, perhaps you should give the website a look.
So it’s not the classiest of establishments, but the food is great and I can guarantee that no matter what party of guys you go with, at least one of them will make some objectified comment about one of the beautiful ladies that serve you. To be honest, I can’t entirely hold them to fault. They really are quiet beautiful.
I picked Nottingham for one good reason – it is the home of some of the best rock pubs in England. Beer and rock music, after all, are born to be together.
There are plenty of great places open in Nottingham until fairly late, and when the pubs kick out the clubs are just starting up, so you don’t have to call it an early night like we did after a quiet one at the Pit & Pendulum bar not a stone’s throw from our hostel in the centre of the town.
Go-karting is a staple of many good stag dos these days, but, being me, I decided to take it one step further and incorporate our tradition of forcing the stag into a wedding dress and his love of Nintendo. So we all dressed up as Nintendo characters and he went as Princess Peach, naturally. The good people at Team Sport even supplied us with a pink jump suit for him to wear, at an additional cost, of course.
Might I add, Team Sport’s track is awesome.
It’s a Knockout
This is why we were really in Nottingham, but there are loads of other companies that provide similar activities all around the country. I picked It’s a Knockout because it was easy and it was specifically geared towards parties such as stags and hens. We were the only stag party amongst three parties of hens. Naturally the boys loved it.
The activities are great fun and the cost is pretty good, but it can be pretty cold if it rains as the whole thing is outside and you will get soaked through to the bone.
My friends love to laugh. I added this in at the last minute as a treat to the boys because it was relatively inexpensive and it was something a little different. It took up the whole night and finished off the weekend on a high. This was probably the best choice I made in terms of the stag do because it compacted eating, drinking and laughing all into one evening and we never felt like the mood dipped. I highly recommend the Glee Club to anyone looking for a great night out.
I’m not going to rate my own stag do. The guys seemed to enjoy it and so did the stag, and so that’s about all I can take from it. There are things I would do differently (relax and enjoy it rather than stressing about everyone being on time), but those are probably deep-seated issues that would require a counsellor.
The next step is dealing with the wedding, the speech, and ensuring everyone at the wedding has a good time. Some say that’s a bigger deal than the stag do… but I remain to be convinced.
As ever, we’d like to hear more about other stag dos and hen dos happening around the world – feel free to drop us a comment below telling us about your experiences.
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