The approach to and perception of parenting has evolved in recent years. The modern parent sees his or her role in said capacity not as yet another aspect of their lives, but rather as the central axis of life around which everything else, from work to friendships to hobbies, must be balanced. By in large, this is a positive shift, as children deserve the best effort their parents have to make, and certainly so in those early years. And when a parent is trying to be the best mother or father they can be, as a fringe benefit they are likely also being the best person they can be overall; this spills over into diet, attitude, activities, and so forth. And then you have some people who see parenthood as a crisis. Oh well.
Regardless of how parenthood will affect you (or how adding a second or third or eighth child to the brood will affect the family), I think we can all agree that when a grown man gets an excuse to cut loose, it’s time to party. Baby showers are occasionally co-ed these days, but seldom are they male-centric, and logically so: the female has a physical role in the child bearing and rearing process that even the most devoted father can’t take on, so much of the paraphernalia (i.e. gifts) involved at a baby shower skews female.
Related: Great Gifts for the Father
Thus we have the Man Shower, AKA the Dadchelor Party, AKA the Keg Party (maybe not that one). Whatever name you choose, this event is an excuse for a man and his crew to… well… drink a lot. But thematically and in celebration of a damn good cause.
In my circle, the Dadchelor Party goes by the name Man Storm. (To parse that for you, it’s Man instead of Baby, and Storm instead of Shower. Clever, no? I can’t take credit.) A Man Storm has little to do with gifts, and more to do with experience. It’s a celebration recognizing that a father to-be has a lot of responsibility headed his way, and it’s an excuse for said gentleman to be anything but responsible for at least a day (but ideally a weekend).
First I’ll tell you of my own Man Storm, then I’ll share some tried-and-true ideas for making your own event — or the Dadchelor Party you plan for a bro — epic enough to tide you over for a year or 18. (Because parenting stops the moment they turn 18, right?)
It began with a trip to Golden Road Brewery, a spot with beer aplenty, as well as fine burgers and lot of large, heavy wooden furniture, just the kind I like. Beer was consumed. Burgers were eaten. Man things were spoken of.
Next the crew and I piled into a limousine and traveled south from Los Angeles all the way to Buena Park, where we attended the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, where more beer (and specialty cocktails served in large novelty mugs) and more meatstuffs were consumed.
Also we yelled at our knight a lot. As I recall, we wasn’t the finest jouster of the evening and, not feeling particularly reserved, I let him know this fact in no uncertain terms. (And for the record, I’m sorry, Green Knight — it was nothing personal, I just got tired of seeing you not defeat that awful Orange Knight, so I used unkind words. Also why don’t you learn how to use a goddamned sword?)
Our trusty limousine brought us back to my (then) hometown of Glendale, CA, where we were deposited at a pool hall. After many gloriously bad games of billiards, I elected to skip a taxi and stroll the mile or so back to my house to collect my thoughts (and have a cigar). There, I encountered my wife dealing with some morning sickness (which often comes in the middle of the night or the early afternoon or whenever the hell it wants, FYI), so I helped her through some nausea while feeling perhaps not great myself, but while certainly appreciating the fine group of men with whom I’d shared many reflections on fatherhood and life in general, and with whom I’d shared way too many drinks.
Now, as for how to plan a Man Shower party, all you really need to know is how much time is available, and what the dad to-be likes to do. And also what he likes to drink, as unless he is a teetotaler, that’s a big part of this process, and you might as well own it.
Vegas, baby: If you and the guys have an overnight or weekend free, then by all means hit up Las Vegas or Atlantic City and have a blast; just make sure you reserve plenty of time to be together, as trips to those and similar cities often see the group going in different directions. Make sure to find low limit tables where you can all sit together and focus on talking more than money. I’ve always loved hanging out in the sports book area, where you can often get a table, place small, low stress bets on horse races all around the world, and enjoy your friends’ company at leisure. But you do your thing; just keep in mind that disparate financial situations might make this type of trip a burden for some.
Hiking/Camping: There’s no better way to enjoy the company of your friends than with nothing to distract you save for the stunning beauty of nature. Do a day hike if time is tight and booze isn’t that important to your crew. Car camp and pass the brews if that’s more your speed. Or go ahead and climb Mt. Rainier if you want enjoy an existential crisis or two and feel more lactic acid in your quads than you knew possible. Or just go fishing.
A Good Ol’ Party: More often that not, your Dachelor Party is going to be a single evening event, AKA… um… a party. So make it awesome. The menu and the beverage selection is up to you (if you’re having trouble there, just go with BBQ and beer, dude), but here are some fine ideas for Man Shower party games — I’ve linked to the sources, and can’t take credit for all of these fine ideas. I’m here to share, sir, I’m here for you.
Blindfolded Diapering: FYI, the early years of a child’s life involve a lot of diapers. The better you get at changing a diaper, the better your life is going to be. And while diapers aren’t really that big of a deal, changing them isn’t exactly fun. Unless you’re changing the diaper of a doll while you’re wearing a blindfold and also you’re drunk. No need to explain this in greater detail, I’ll wager.
Labor Face vs. Orgasm Face: Pretty simple, but lots of fun (and maybe a bit disturbing). Compile a sheet with close-up images of women’s faces who are either in the throes of ecstasy or the pains of labor. The man who makes the game sheets has an interesting hour or so ahead of him; the players will enjoy the game, and will find it harder than expected to choose correctly. Credit
A Bottle of Beer: It’s a scientifically proven fact that, given the choice between drinking beer out of a tarnished old tuba or not drinking beer at all, a man will immediately begin to guzzle suds from the corroded brass instrument. This also holds true when beer is served in a baby bottle. Make that the beverage conveyance of the evening, or set up a race even to see who can chug their baby bottle of beer the fastest. The winner gets another beer!
Balloon Shoe Tie: Put yourself in the pregnant lady’s shoes by having all the men in the group inflate a large balloon, tuck it under their shirts, and then try to tie their shoes while seated without popping the balloon. This game is harder than you’ll expect if your balloon is properly centered. Flexibility helps, as does the fact that you can just take the damn balloon back out any time. Credit
Beer Pong: Just play some beer pong, brah. You don’t have to be clever with everything.