Stag nights in Amsterdam
Observing bachelor parties in the Dutch capital has Hallie Engel considering celibacy.
I think Amsterdam may have destroyed my faith in love and marriage.
Working in the Leideseplein, I regularly encounter packs of drunken men celebrating a buddy’s send-off in the Dutch capital, and their behaviour has made me consider celibacy on more than one occasion.
The bachelor party, or stag-do as it’s known in England, is a cultural practice which leaves me stranded somewhere between puzzled and abhorred; the men who wash upon our shores to partake of a last moment of freedom act as if they’ll soon be castrated at the hands of a deranged harpy, who, by means of a magic spell, cajoled them into walking down the aisle.
Not that I’m knocking brides to be, but given the way these men act, one has to assume some terrible fate awaits them post I-do. I also don’t know when 48 hours of unbridled idiocy became de rigueur for groomsmen; once upon a time, a bachelor would down a few beers, receive a half-hearted lap dance and call it good.
However, one pair of breasts, or a single night for that matter doesn’t sate the men who come to Amsterdam to bid adieu to the single life. They’re a hardy breed and require an entire weekend of idiocy, ogling, and the kind of binge drinking once limited to Irish dockworkers.
Toss in a few spliffs, an uncomfortable fumble with a girl from the red light district, and a tutu, and that about captures the essence of a bachelor party in Amsterdam.
Yes, I said tutu. The current trend seems to involve making the soon-to-be-married sod parade around town in women’s clothing, be it tulle or tiara. That, and the matching t-shirts.
I appreciate those actually, because nothing screams “avoid these morons” like a pack of men wearing matching hot pink tees emblazoned with “Andy’s Stag Weekend 2010” on it. As a woman, I feel sorry for the unsuspecting fiancés back home, and I’ve considered intervening on a few occasions.
If I could only snatch the bachelor’s cell phone and find his bride’s number (which is probably listed under “ball and chain”) and give her a quick ring, I could encourage her to call the whole thing off, or consider adopting when it came time to breed, to avoid passing on such genes to an innocent child.
Fortunately, Amsterdam hasn’t entirely soured me on romance, but I don’t think I’d ever feel safe holding hands while riding my bicycle. After all, I never know when a drunken bachelor will stumble into the fietspad.
Hallie Engel is an American student and budding writer living in the Netherlands.
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