By Bob

About a month closer to W-day since the last time I wrote, and things were actually starting to take on a sheen of calm. The cake filling (apricot guava) had been selected, the bridesmaid dresses (red taffeta) were chosen, and we had even decided on the all-important down the aisle music-Cat Stevens. Hey, with apricot guava and red taffeta in the mix, you have to have a little tradition, right?

But just as serenity, a ceasefire of the endless chattering of cake makers, caterers, and musicians threatened to enter, and tenuous thoughts of maybe even an afternoon on the couch watching sportscenter flitted through my mind, tradition took a turn for the, well, tawdry.

"This is soooo great," squealed Jane, flopping down on the couch next to me, her green eyes sparkling. In my old football jersey she looked adorable, nymph like, and I reached out to pull her close. "I know babe," I said, resting my chin on her head. "We're finally done with the wedding plans."

"I know," she agreed, snuggling her chin into the crook of my neck. "Now we just have to plan our bachelor party."

I was glad Jane's face was blissfully buried so she wouldn't be able to see the look on my face.

"Your bachelor party?" I said carefully, thinking maybe I just heard her incorrectly.

"Oh Bob, you're so silly," Jane trilled, playfully wagging a finger at me. "Girls don't have bachelor parties."

"Oh yeah," I said, surrepticiously rubbing my brow in relief. "I forgot."

"Yeah, the new thing now is to have a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, don't you know?" continued Jane. "I saw it on that reality show, you know the one where the rockstar and the model get married, and they have like this joint casino night with cigar girls walking around..."

Cigar girls, casino night, and Jane? This equation was not adding up. There were cigars, there were girls, there were casinos, and then there was my fianc. The four did not mix in my mind, not one bit.

Needless to say my bachelor party visions up to this point had been vague, but roughly included the traditional drunken male hijinks, beer bonging, a mechanical bull, and maybe being chained to a blow up doll for the night. My only goal had been to come home without a mohawk or a permanent 'mom' tattoo. It seemed Jane had something much different in mind.

But the more I thought about it over the next week, the more I realized most bachelor parties I had been to were more of an excuse for my friends who were already married to engage in the forgotten drunken debauchery of their youth, rather than a celebration of the groom's good fortune to have found such a wonderful woman to spend his life with. And like any milestone, birthdays, anniversaries, etc, you want your day of celebration to be genuine, unique, full of the things you truly enjoy.

For me those things included fine cigars, belly dancing, delicious foods, and my fianc. So two weeks later, when I found myself in a swanky downtown Moroccan restaurant Sinja, being fed exotic treats by women in fuchsia fringe, viewing my buddies enjoy the dancers while my wife mingled happily through the crowded room, I thought the whole thing was a lot better than some dumpy dive bar playing two dollar black jack and then driving through Gordito's, which is what would have happened if it wasn't for my ever enlightened, reality TV addicted fianc.

I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't mention some of the finer nuances that come along with a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, but potential complications are easily avoided with just a few simple supplies, a sort of survival kit, easily found at stores or on the internet.

One thing I would recommend: t-shirts, or some sort of clothing item, identifying the bride and groom. I saw a great one proclaiming "Last Night of Freedom". Pick up a Groom Bob T-Shirt and other bachelor party t-shirts at this cool site. Otherwise, well people came to party and the dancers are just doing their jobs right?

Two: a money clip. This will discourage drunken grooms from wantonly shoving their crumpled one-dollar bills into belly dancers thongs, and the cold metal clip is a good foreshadowing of the steely looks and silences you will endure later that night if you choose to go through with said crumpling. Check out the Dalvey money clip, or an ingenious money clip watch combo, for instance.

Finally, a compass is not a bad idea, since a joint party includes the complication of two equally incoherent drunk people trying to find their way home at dawn. Dalvey also makes a compass, for one-stop shoppers such as myself. If you can't have the luxury of knowing your sweetly concerned soon-to-be-spouse is waiting anxiously by the phone, ready to give you a ride at any time, a compass is a close second.

And if I couldn't have the traditional drunken free-for-all party every guy plans on, I'd say the joint party is a close second too.

Until next time.
—Groom Bob

A note from Groomstand: Who is Groom Bob? We received this note from 'Bob' last week. Hopefully the lessons he learns about groomsmen gifts, ettiquette and yes, the Chinese zodiac, can help you out, too. Stay tuned.