If you’ve been to a bar or restaurant on a weekend, you’ve probably run into a bachelorette party. They’re not hard to spot. Just look for the group of 10 to 12 inebriated women stumbling arm-in-arm like a search party in the woods—except instead of looking for a dead body, they’re trying not to leave one behind.

They greet each other with shrill squeals of victory every time one of them returns safely to the group from the bathroom. In the center is the bride-to-be, adorned with a veil, sash and accessories resembling a certain part of the male anatomy.

What makes bachelorette parties so obnoxious is that they take over any venue they enter. They feed on attention. Bachelorette partiers want you to know they are there. Unsolicited, they will come up and ask you to help them complete a “dare” such as “Sit on a stranger’s lap and give him a kiss” or “Get a stranger to trade shirts with you.”

Just do what they say, and they will move on. They want free drinks; they want the DJ to play their song requests; and no one else matters because their best friend is getting married!

This tradition of parading around your soon-to-be married girlfriend in phallic paraphernalia is relatively new. It started in the 1980s as a way to rival men’s bachelor parties. Women used to throw each other sophisticated showers; now we have the same “last night of freedom” that men have.

The next time you’re part of a bachelorette party, remember: Even though this is an extraordinary night for you and your party, it’s just another night of work for your server, bartender, cab driver. Don’t make them hate you. Yes, they are used to dealing with drunk, loud and annoying people. But they don’t do it because they’re excited for you, they do it for money. However drunk and obnoxious you are, make sure it’s reflected in their tip.

Consider assigning a few designated wranglers, about one per every six women. These should be women who can handle their liquor and will wrangle your guests when they start getting out of hand.

If you decide to include entertainment, make sure it’s something where it’s OK to be rowdy and a part of the show. Stick with the classics: Strip clubs, dance clubs and drag shows can drown out all your noise and then some.

The bachelorette party doesn’t have to ruin everyone else’s night. We can share spaces peacefully, as bachelorette parties and noncombatants alike. And if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The next time you’re out with friends and a bachelorette party walks in, ask them for one of those dirty dare cards and get in on the fun.

—Paulina Combow | The Washington Post

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