By Amy Alkon
I'm going to a friend's bachelor party in Vegas, which includes a strip club visit. My girlfriend said I have to sit that out. She believes going could lead me to cheat on her. I assured her that I have no intention of cheating — ever — and strippers have no interest in me anyway. Well, she's adamant. I caved, agreeing to skip the strip club, but my friends' teasing will be merciless. What if I just go and fib to my girlfriend to keep everyone happy? — Restricted
Unless your girlfriend's name is Moses and she's just come back from a mountaintop chat with God, she doesn't get to hand down commandments: "You look at some other woman's woohoobies and I'll ask The Big Guy to smite you."
Regarding your caving to her demand, you should un-cave; go to that club with your friends. Not secretly. Openly. In other words, tell her you're doing it. Because an adult shouldn't get to control another adult's behavior, and being in a relationship doesn't change that. Also, allowing her to give you orders sets a really bad precedent. (What will she object you out of doing next? And how soon before she fits you for a leash and a bark collar?)
A bachelor party is a male friendship ritual. While women tend to share their feelings Oprah's couch-style, men often bond through drinking, ribbing and humiliation, like forcing their soon-to-be-married buddy to get onstage on his hands and knees to be spanked by the stripper. Your girlfriend seems to have given no thought to the social repercussions of your telling the guys your governess is making you stay back in your hotel room and watch a movie. (Would Fried Green Tomatoes work for her, or would she prefer you watch something on the Lifetime channel?)
And sure, sex for pay is easily findable in Vegas. However, a typical bachelor party visit to a Vegas strip club takes place not at some seedy, out-of-the way joint where anything goes but at a ginormous corporate warehouse of stripping where some 6'8" genetic experiment of a man makes sure no male paws wander anywhere on the dancer they aren't supposed to. The strippers at these places can make $100K a year just dancing, and they aren't looking to the crowd for sex or boyfriends. (Their primary job isn't even dancing but stripping men of their money.)
You could have reassured her about all of this if you each hadn't taken the emotionally easy way out. Instead of talking about her fears, she went all ayatollah on you, and instead of standing up for yourself, you figured you'd just lie to her. Problem-avoiding — rather than laying out your feelings and problem-solving — tends to bode poorly for a relationship's survival. Backtrack and try a little adult conversation. You just might convince her that looking isn't the gateway drug to cheating, much like ogling a Porsche doesn't lead to grand theft auto and watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn't mean you're just one big power tool away from dismembering people.
My fiancée and I are getting married in Hawaii. She planned to have photos shot of us afterward, kissing in the ocean in our formalwear. I'm fine with this, but her dad is absolutely irate. We don't want kids, so there won't be any daughter to pass her dress to. Then again, her dad paid almost $3,000 for it, so I get where he's coming from. — Middleman
There's her father growling, "Why not just flush my money down the toilet?" (Best that she not answer that with, "I actually had my heart set on taking it out to the ocean and drowning it.")
Your fiancée is looking to get in on a trend called "trash the dress," in which the bride gets photographed, post-wedding, destroying her dress while running through muddy woods, playing paintball, frolicking in the city dump, or throwing herself in the ocean. In concept, I love the "elegance goes for a muddy stroll" photos. However, I think this trend is pretty horrible, even when the bride rather than the National Bank of Dad has paid for her dress and is thus entitled to do whatever she wants with it. Maybe a far more wonderful final photo in your wedding album would be one of another bride — one who can't afford a dress or much of a dress — walking down the aisle in your wife-to-be's $3,000 gown. You'd be kicking off your marriage with an act of kindness, and she could still do the shot in the ocean — say, in a $35 sundress — or perhaps on the beach dancing around the fire you light to burn all of your wedding gifts.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society.