Few things have I failed at worse than the organizing of my brother's bachelor party in the spring of 1995.
A sophomore at UCSD at the time, and the honored best man, it was my duty. Some people are the type that want a sedated fishing trip or some small outing for their last days of freedom. Others want the traditional debauchery in any varying degree. I think both are fine depending on the personality of the soon-to-be-wed. It was clear to me which type of party would be expected by my brother and his friends. It would be of the less-wholesome variety.
So the planning was tough. I was given the number for Party Favors, basically a temp agency for strippers. They also had an option for ordering singing telegrams from guys in gorilla suits. Anyway, so I call the place and order a blond. Monique is her name. Sounds fine, even though I am not a fan of the French in general.
Next up is the place of the activity. This is where the big mistake was made. I decide to pick The Ramada hotel in Walnut Creek, right near the BART station by the business district in town. I ordered a suite and I think immediately, they were suspicious of me when I asked how many people could fit in the room.
Now, this was a time before e-mail was widespread. E-mail really would have made this task much easier, but instead, I was forced to do it by phone, calling some 20 or so people trying to get the times and dates set and making sure who was going. Dinner was set to be at The Cantina, a nice Mexican place in town.
So the big day comes. I leave San Diego in the afternoon, arrive in Walnut Creek an hour or so before the event is to begin. For, drinks, I have some of my brother's friends go down to Safeway and when they come back, we strategically place them in a couple suitcases for our smuggling into the hotel. So, we head off to the Mexican place and have an enjoyable meal and a few drinks. I am a little nervous, but I am enjoying myself. On the way out, I give in to my rare case of mischievousness and abscond with a giant inflatable Corona bottle that is near the exit of the restaurant.
We head over to the hotel, lugging the heavy suitcases with drink and the deflated Corona in them. We go in waves to make our entrance look less suspicious. Even so, there's no way we were the usual business executive spending a Thursday night before the big presentation. In the room, we find a great setup, a two-room suite with a nice balcony, and furniture, big bathroom, etc. First thing we do is get a ton of ice and the bathtub is made into an instant 'fridge for the suitcase stash.
Then, it was time to give Monique the room number. We spent the next 30 minutes or so drinking and I can't remember what else, but it was cool. Then the door knock occurs and everyone is silent and the grand entrance of Monique is made. Personally, I thought she was a bit trashy, but my memory fails me at this point. Nevertheless, stifled oohs and ahhs emitted from the group. First off, though, there was the matter of money. Into the bathroom went me, my brothers friend who assisted me in the Party Favors call, Monique, and Monique's giant and sleazy looking body guard. I seem to recall giving her around $200 or so in cash and her saying something about no touching.
Anyway, after the payment, she goes into the other room to prepare for the grand entrance. It's sort of hazy what then happens, so I won't be going into too many details. But basically, she comes in with techno music blaring really loud and starts the dancing and rubbing. I think breasts were presented to my face, but again, it's a little fuzzy. Things are looking pretty good and people are getting into it, but just 10 minutes into her gyrations, there is a loud knock on the door by hotel security. Apparently, the 95% of the guests who are businessmen are not pleased with a loud bachelor party keeping them up when they have an 8am meeting the next day. So, before I notice anything, Monique has bailed. To this day, I suspect that she purposely made the music loud to get kicked out with a quick $200 so she could go on to some better deal she had double-booked. As a seasoned professional, she probably knew as soon as I told her what hotel it was that she could pull this scam.
Well, we were all a little saddened by what had transpired. We gathered up the beer and I got the hotel guy to not charge the credit card if we left orderly which we did. Hell, I think we added some excitement to the staff's lives since it mostly consisted of boring old men complaining about not getting their USA today in the morning. Our stripper was gone, but we still felt like doing some drinking so we head down the street to the Quality Inn lugging the suitcase of liquor like poor nomads in the desert looking for an oasis of depravity in the upstanding town of Walnut Creek.
Now, an amazing coincidence occurred. Or perhaps it was not just random luck, but rather some higher power seeking to inflict maximum shame upon us that evening. As we are strolling into the entrance of hotel #2, out of a car gets my mom and my grandparents in town for the wedding! It seems they are staying at the Quality Inn too and wonder what we are doing there. Well, again, I can't recall what was said, but let me just say that it was quite awkward. I am only thankful that Monique wasn't with us at the time. I said something stupid which must have been enough to explain our staggering presence.
Again events are fuzzy, but I think we end up getting two adjoining rooms and doing sneaking around again since we don't want them to see a bunch of guys cramming into one room. This was the last I saw of my brother till the next day.
I was in a group in one of the rooms waiting for the others to join when the hotel security of this place comes in saying they saw people trying to sneak in the parking lot entrance and chased them off. Then they tell us that the Ramada called them warning about possible troublemakers coming their way. I'm really started to feel bad about the whole affair and I'm hiding under the table to hide my shame. Sadly, the manager says he would have been fine with us had we just told the truth about what was going on. Another lesson learned. I think I got this hotel to reverse the charge also.
Meanwhile, no one knows where my brother and a couple other people are and I have this fear that my poor planning has gotten him arrested and that we'll have to post bail to get him to the wedding on Saturday. But, in our state what do we do? We end up going to one guy's house that lives nearby and sleep in his garage, and drink a bit more. Though I am both ashamed at my failure and also worried that my credit will be forever ruined by the hotels complaining to Discover Card about me, so I can't enjoy myself at this point or sleep a bit.
So, In the morning, I get driven back to my parents place and am relieved to find my brother in his bed there. So the worst did not happen. Later, my brother said he liked getting kicked out and running around and trying to pull fast ones and even the brief Monique encounter. It was nice of him to say so, but I think the night was a total failure. Funny, now, but really just laughingly shameful at the time.
Now, enough has gone wrong that it might seem like everything is over. No, there was still one last incident; one that was to forever scar me. An incident that changed my perception of the human race for the worse. Friday afternoon, I get called to the phone by my mom. Strange, since no one really knows I am home for the weekend. On the phone is Monique. She is informing me that the money we paid her with was counterfeit and she will be charging the full amount on my credit card that was used as a deposit. I am speechless at first. Then compose myself and say how 5 different people put money in and that it's impossible for this to be the case and that I'm going to the police if she pulls this scam on me. Well, I can't remember the details, but nothing ever happened. I still just can't believe how low some people will go to make some money. It's like some people have no gene triggering shame in them. Now of course, I read about people like the guy starting fires in AZ so he could get overtime as a contract fireman. But, this Monique scam-stripper was my first personal meeting with a real scoundrel.
All said, the events of the bachelor party are sort of amusing to recount, but I still am saddened that they did not go off well since it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for my brother and nobody really enjoyed themselves that much. For me, it forever ruined my opinion of strippers, whom I once had held in high regard for their services to society. It was an important lesson to have learned to never try to have wild goings-on in a hotel, unless it's in a bad part of Oakland where the hotel management is too scared to knock on the door to throw you out.
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