Stag Party in Innisfail, Strippers in Red Deer

Note to self: Never let anyone hold a stag party for me.

Stuart, Chris, and I were invited to a stag party for our friend Dory. (Dory is Janine’s fiancée; Janine is one of Therese’s best friends.) Chris opted out, as he had a tight deadline to contend with. (In retrospect, I wish I could have said the same thing.)

The party was in Innisfail, an itty-bitty community just south of Red Deer. It’s not noted for much, except maybe a John Deere dealership. Following some rather precise directions, we soon found ourselves at Hugh’s, whom I assume to be Dory’s best man.

At first, Stuart and I were out of place. We’re city folk. Everyone else … wasn’t. They were either ranchers or farmers. Stuart at least had the upper hand — he knew something about seed protectants (owing to his tenure with agricultural advertising at his company). By comparison, I knew that cows go “moo”.

Luckily, we weren’t the only city folk for long, as Dave and Wayne soon showed up. It gave us some conversation outside of poisoning groundhogs. (And no, I’m not kidding.) We were fed hamburgers and potato salad, both of which were outstanding. Had Stuart and I not eaten before departing Calgary, we probably would have ate more.

The evening was … well … I’ve been to more interesting stags. All one of them. Yep, this is only my second stag. (Most my friends who have been married had the smarts to either not hold a stag, or at least the sense not to invite me.) My first (and only other) stag was for my friend Jason when I still lived in Toronto. It pretty much involved an hour of laser tag, and about $40 of video games at Sega City. Frankly, that’s my idea of fun.

But I certainly wasn’t about to complain. This was Dory’s night, not mine. Besides, I met a few people I hadn’t before. So all in all, it wasn’t such a bad night.

At least until talk of “peelers” (strippers) became more serious. I kept hoping this wasn’t one of those things that would evolve into reality. There are things I want to do in life. Visiting a strip club isn’t one of them. (It’s in my “no desire to” list, actually.) Around 11pm, one of the guests finally got the gumption, grabbed Dory, declared we were all going to “The Park”, and headed towards the trucks.

I personally do not see the fascination with strip clubs. I don’t find them even remotely interesting … more revolting, repulsive, and degrading than anything else. It’s one of those last few vestiges of patriarchal society that were supposed to have been washed away with the Suffrage Movement. Instead, they hold a certainly appeal with (most) men. (Chris would later state that even if he had come, he wouldn’t have gone into the club. Frankly, I don’t blame him.)

Stuart and I tentatively discussed joining the rest, both of us testing each other to see if we wanted to go. (We hadn’t discussed this ahead of time.) Neither of us seemed all that interested. The plan was to drive to the highway, and quietly disappear. However, we didn’t even make it to the car before someone shouted: “Hey! You got room in your car?”

It’s kinda hard to hide an empty back seat.

We found ourselves driving two of Dory’s friends into downtown Red Deer. Although I cannot remember their names, they reminded me of high school jocks (there’s something about naked women that seems to turn men into adolescents … most men, anyway). Both knew where The Park was. Somehow, that didn’t surprise me. Stuart and I agreed to make an appearance, and then duck out. Which was good, ‘cuz even from the outside, this place didn’t look all that great. I shuddered at the thought of what lay beyond the door.

We were told that once upon a time, The Park was actually a “nice” place. That was hard to believe by looking around. It looked like someone had set off a 70s linoleum bomb. Other horrors of the attack included tacky lights, bad music, really bad furniture, and staff and patrons that were … frightening. As one of my co-workers so eloquently put it, it was a place so seedy, you needed a tetanus shot. The only thing missing was the biker gang…

…who showed up later.

We caught the tail end of an act that had a few of us wanting to run screaming. However, we were obligated to at least wish Dory well before leaving. We stuck around just long enough for me to have something to drink (in the drive from Hugh’s I had become enormously thirsty) and Stuart to play a very quick game of foosball. But it was just long enough for trouble to start. The rest of the group was looking to get Dory into the “traditional” embarrassing situation.

This is usually done in two stages: 1) Get the person extremely drunk (this has two advantages: less resistance, and the unlucky victim can claim plausible denial in the event they get in trouble with their significant other), and 2) Put them where they wouldn’t normally be caught dead. In Dory’s case, it was six shots of something nasty (never did find out what), and tipping the manager to get Dory on stage. (He was taped to the chair so he couldn’t move. I’m not sure of this was so he couldn’t touch the dancer — Quebec has that rule — or just so he couldn’t run away.)

We stuck around to watch poor Dory be subjected to something just shy of pure evil (aren’t we such good friends?). At first, we assumed that Dory was looking away due to discomfort (for the record, there was no nudity while Dory was on stage). But after a couple minutes, a few of us began to suspect that he wasn’t uncomfortable — he was rapidly heading towards unconsciousness. Part way through the second song, to the apparent dismay of the dancer, Dory passed out.

It was simultaneously the funniest and saddest thing I think I’ve ever witnessed. As if I didn’t already have issues with marriage (for myself), witnessing Dory’s pseudo-theatrical fate was enough to convince me that marriage is something I just don’t want to deal with — stag parties are just plain cruel.

Dory wasn’t in the best of shape after that. The six shots of whatever had taken their toll. Stuart and I stuck around to see if Dory was okay (after he made quick trip to the Men’s Room). The party packed up about then, with most disappearing to another strip club in town, Dave and Wayne taking Dory back to Hugh’s place to recover, and Stuart and I returning to Calgary.

I can safely say that I’ve been there and done that. Whatever infinitesimally small interest I might have had was thoroughly squashed in less than 30 minutes. With luck, I won’t have to do that again.