Here I am sitting in a cramped seat as my plane descends into nothing but flat horizons of cow shit and straw cowboy hats from Corona packages…getting ready to watch another one of my friends drink his ass off before he walks down the aisle toward a future that I still comprehend. When the fuck did everyone want to get married? When did we grow up and want wives all of a sudden?! Let me put my confusion and mild anger about the fact that everyone is grown up and getting married while I still feel like I’m doing tequila shots with the Lost Boys for a second…I have drinking that needs to be done with my best friends whom I haven’t seen in a very long time. I’ll just ignore the fact that the occasion bringing us together is because my friend is getting married and pretend we’re still 21 and actually do this kind of shit for no reason still.
If you haven’t been to the Stampede, it is literally a hotbed for hot girls. And hot country girls at that. Or at least hot girls dressed up as country girls. Or? It doesn’t matter. If they look like country girls, then they’re country girls in my mind, even if they’re actually just city girls dressed as country girls. Boots, hats, short shorts, long summer dresses. Dear God! Even if you hate country music, you have to love country girls. And you see, I love country music. So this place is like the Garden of Eden for me. It’s easy to get up for. If you know what I mean.
Being my own slice of Eden, I thought I would break down some rules or takeaways from partaking in my first Stag at the Stampede.
Rule #1. Don’t over plan formal bachelor stuff. I’ve had other Stags in the past where you had to plan more stuff because the location of the Stag wasn’t as exciting. The Stampede speaks for itself: you don’t have to create as much fun because the fun Stampedes to you. Get it? Yeah, horrible I know. But have an itinerary put together by your most organized and responsible friend that combines structure for the weekend but with room for spontaneity.
Rule #2. Never stop drinking. Bud Light in hand at all hands. Drink from the Mother Tit of America like it’s your job. The moment you stop drinking is the moment you die. Doctor’s order? A Bud Light every 30 minutes. Even if the one you’re drinking is still half full. Crack another. No fucks given.
Rule #3. Take your group photos when relatively sober before the madness ensues. You’ll be thankful you did when you wake up the next day with a jackhammer running through your skull, dying for water and an idea of what the hell happened last night. Put your most Dad-like friend to be on photo duty, and get him to take photos with the best camera phone in the group. And take enough group photos for the weekend that every person in the group has an opportunity to get the first post on social media. Spread the wealth. And try to limit the amount of sloppy second and third social media uploads.
Rule #4. Cowboy boots look cool, but they don’t feel cool. Literally, the groom spent a thousand dollars on cowboy boots with a dragon on them and was walking around the entire weekend like he was trying to hold back a massive horse shit that was waiting to buck right out of his asshole. All of us were walking around all weekend like we had ski boats on and some sort of low key mental disorder in order to “keep it cowboy”. I even had a hole in my boot that I was unaware of. I know what you’re thinking? That’s ironic. That sounds like a country song. Well I was not concerned with the irony when my sock began to get damp from spilled beer residue just as I was trying to impress some cute country girl.
Rule #5. Cowboy hats are kind of hokey. Alright, this is just my personal opinion. A few of my friends wore cowboy hats. But they kind of looked like Woody from the Toy Story or some cardboard cut out of Hank Williams from the 1950’s. Not my thing. Probably because I’m addicted to gel and feel entirely insecure when the hair isn’t on point, though.
Rule #6. Do not go to the Stampede for a Stag with the sole focus of getting laid. The weekend is about your friends, first and foremost. Rather choose to befriend girls who can join forces with your unit. If it just so happens that your mentality to befriend, rather than bed, ends up with her on top of you in the reverse cowgirl position by weekend’s end. So be it. At least your intentions started in the right place.
Rule #7. Meet as many Stagettes as possible. There will be a lot, don’t worry. Stags and Stagettes join forces perfectly because you’re both there for the same reason. Also, they consist of the perfect equal amount of married people and horny singles. So your married friend(s) have someone to converse with who understands the struggle of how hard it is being married at this very moment, while your single friends have girls to talk to who are equally as horny and desperate because of their close friend’s impending nuptials.
Rule #8. Wear matching shirts. Duh! But the trick is to do in a way that is classier and more refined than the prototypical group of Instagram bitches on a Stagette at a Vegas pool party with “Bride” and “Bridesmaids” pink tees and a Dollar Store crown on the bride that is so unoriginal and cringe worthy that I literally have to hit myself in the face with my phone just so I can forget what I just saw (And you know all those girls spent thousands of dollars on spin classes and Pilates in the months leading up just for that one stupid photo).
But come up with a theme and get the shirts designed in a way, so at the very least it’ll become a bedtime shirt afterwards. Our friend’s nickname growing up was “Baady”. So our theme was #BaadysLastRide. And on the back of the shirt we had the line “Baady’s last ride inquiries…and then his phone number”. He got a shit ton of text messages all weekend. The idea was for our friend to experience for one last time, the rush and excitement that comes from getting a text from a random girl. Because you know the only text he’ll be getting from a girl for the rest of his life after this weekend is going to be from his wife saying, “When the hell are you coming home??”
Rule #9. If your group does want to meet women (which of course you will). Do it during the day parties. There is something about sunlight that literally removes all threatening vibes. Especially when your day drinking to country music. You could literally have a poon stache and a chipped tooth and a girl would be willing to talk to you when she’s day drinking to country music. At night you’re a sexual predator. But during the day you’re her number one drinking buddy. Daytime is for meeting friends and building a foundation that can create for some more provocative nighttime plotlines.
Rule #10: There is always one dude in the group who begins to lag and wants to stay home or won’t stop complaining that he’s tired or his tummy hurts. I don’t care what you do. Put MDMA in his drink, shove Pepto Bismol up his ass, or lasso that mother fucker to a tree, you just make sure that negative little Pony doesn’t ruin the weekend for your friend.
Rule #11. Do not let a girl borrow your hat. I did. And I never saw that hat again. This girl was a bona-fide hat thief. I’ll tell you what happened. I met this girl who looked straight from one of my wife fantasies: Jet black hair, green eyes, flower dress, flawless olive skin, cowboy boots, perfect smile. I placed my hat on her head and immediately started imagining our future together on a rural farm…just as she brings out a mirror from her purse. I’m feeding her compliments, “Oh my god my hat looks so hot on you!” and she’s giving pouty side-angle mirror faces into her pocket purse mirror, beginning to dig it, likely formulating a plan of execution to steal my $200.00 fedora. We then hit the dance floor. And she shouts, “I’ll race you to the stage!” and I take the bait. I move far right. She far left. I’m plowing through the crowd and sweating up a storm to beat this girl to the stage. I fly up to the stage. But there’s no girl, no hat, and absolutely no dignity waiting for me when I get there. She went left and vanished into the night, snapping Instagram pics and racking up likes with my precious head ware. I don’t care how cute she looks with it on, don’t let her borrow it. If by borrow it you mean have it, in that case, go ahead
Rule #12. When you get a girl’s phone number, don’t save it in your phone. Keep it open in your conversation thread for the weekend. But you have to understand that it’s highly unlikely you will talk after the weekend is over (unless you actually live in the same city, rare case). She’ll just end up becoming some girl’s number you come across years down the road and try to piece together who the hell this person is. Keep that contact list clean and tidy.
Rule #13. Try to find the balance between talking to too many girls and not enough girls. One of two things is likely to happen if you’re single: you will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of attractive women and not end up talking to enough. Or you will get trigger happy and approach way too many, leading to a bunch of brief, fast fleeting encounters between you pissing every five minutes in a bathroom that feels like one of those portable school buildings that were always there in case your actual school got leveled out by an earthquake.
Rule #14. Do at least one Stampede-related activity. Even if it’s only for 20-minutes and a photo of proof on social media that you did something authentic that weekend, other than getting smashed in some beer tent taking over-priced shots and chasing down girls.
Rule #15. If you want to differentiate between a fake cowgirl and a real cowgirl. Check her feet for blisters. Take her boots off and inspect her feet. If they’re full of red spots, that girl bought those boots two days before and borrowed a hat from her girlfriend. She probably hates country too. One of those girls who loves hip hop music and hates country music. Typical Anti-Christ of a Stampede weekend. But hey, does it matter she’s fake country if she still looks country?
Remember, a stag weekend is about balancing the time between honouring your friend who’s getting married and treating it as a friend reunion for some of your best buddies that you don’t get to see often anymore. Cherish weekends such as these. As we get older, they come around far less often. So indulge. Enjoy. Get smashed. Go 10 times harder even though your body will hate you 10 times more for it and your recovery time will be 10 times longer because you’re old as shit now and can’t rally like you used to. But It’s all worth it. For that epic new profile picture. For a taste of the good old days. And most importantly, for the stories, you’ll laugh and whisper about over a cocktail at the wedding.