Let’s play a little game of word association. What images come to mind when I say “bachelorette”? My guess is that most people imagine very similar scenarios—a wild night out, pink and black decorations, penis straws, a tiara and sash, a male stripper. There is a very narrow idea of what a bachelorette party includes, but the reality is that not only is that idea outdated and wrong, but it’s also kind of insulting.
So I’ll just come out and say it. I hate the ubiquitous pink and black bachelorette color palette. I hate the invitations covered in high heels, bras and leopard print. I hate the phrase “last fling before the ring.” I hate novelty penis products. I hate strippers (not the people themselves, just the expectation that there should be one at my bachelorette party).
The reason I’m so against this type of party is that, for most women, it’s incredibly unnatural. It isn’t authentic. It has nothing to do with the kind of person they are, with their interests, their life. It turns them into just another girl in a cheap tiara.
And yet, women feel pressured into having this kind of party. This image of the bachelorette is so pervasive that sometime it can feel like the very definition of the event. It’s a “last night of freedom” and a chance to “go wild.” But I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. For some women, the wild and crazy bachelorette party that ends with a policeman wearing sunglasses and toting a boombox knocking at your door is exactly what they want—and that’s totally fine. The point is that way too many women have that type of party not because it’s something they want but because it’s something they think they have to do.
Perhaps looking at the reasons why we throw a bachelorette party could help. Though the phrase “last fling before the ring” may be branded onto T-shirts and invitations galore, the vast majority of brides are not using the bachelorette as a chance to cheat on their fiancé. The bachelorette really isn’t about men—so why are all the decorations and traditions so focused on them?
What the bachelorette should be about is women and specifically the bride’s friendships with women. The bachelorette is in a sense a return to singlehood—but not to the part of your single days that involved man-hunting. It’s to the way you celebrated with women when you were single. It’s reforging the bond you felt at slumber parties growing up or at those late-night gab sessions in college when you stayed up till 4am with your best girlfriends, eating ice cream out of the carton or passing around a bottle of cheap wine you conned some senior boy into buying for you. It’s to the way you laugh with women, the things you like to do with women, the feeling you get when you’re just with the girls.
Part of my mission with this blog has been to inspire women to create parties for themselves. Parties that reflect their interests, that celebrate the things and the people they love. This can mean a quiet getaway to a cabin in the mountains, a day of surfing lessons followed by a beach bonfire or a backyard BBQ with lawn games and cold beers. It can mean a cooking class followed by the four-course dinner you all created or a belly dancing lesson at a hookah lounge. It can mean dressing up in little black dresses or applying zombie makeup to hit the local bars. It can mean a trip to Las Vegas or a weekend in Napa. It can mean whatever you want it to mean—as long as it’s you.