The column you are about to read is the account of the moral, intellectual and hygienic disrepair that befell one Ryan Bradford when his wife left the country for 10 days, leaving him alone with their cat, Harvey. For them, an idyllic bachelor party became a nightmare.
Day 1: Wake up alone, diagonal, in the bed. Don't get me wrong: I love my wife, but I feel Kevin McAllister-levels of euphoria at the freedom that comes from not having to compose yourself in another's presence. I nod at Harvey. Bachelor party, I think. I'm almost certain he nods in agreement.
Friends from L.A. take me to SeaWorld because there's a beer festival going on in the park. Literal whales, bro. The pours are small, but I eventually get enough of a buzz to achieve what I usually intend to achieve when I drink, and that is to forget about the movie Blackfish. I briefly consider that serving booze may be SeaWorld's Hail Mary.
We catch the last orca show as the sun's going down. I watch those poor beasts circle their pool and splash the audience as the trainers—newly restricted from getting in the water—stomp and dance maniacally on the sides. The show has no structure; everything seems chaotic. I mentally scorn both trainers and orcas as "fools." No animal or man is—or ever will be—as free as me.
Day 2: There's cat vomit everywhere when I wake up. Harvey has eaten the strap off one of my wife's bikinis, and I can't think of a more bachelor party thing to do. I can't stay mad at him for eating things he shouldn't eat because I've already had three burritos in two days. I would fistbump him if he didn't scratch me every time I get close to his paws.
I buy a fake leather jacket from Buffalo Exchange as something to wear to the new Mad Max movie. It's strappy, severe and vaguely sado-masochistic: not really my style at all. Or, I correct myself, maybe not really Old Ryan's style, but Bachelor Ryan? Coolguy Ryan? Tough Guy Ryan? Yes.
Can't even make it through the Coming Attractions before Tough Guy Ryan gets too sweaty and removes the jacket.
Day 3: I spend an hour debating whether I should buy a three-pack of acne spray medication off Amazon. My skin's not, like, "teenager" status, but c'mon world, I'm 30 goddamn years old.
I spend an inordinate amount of time reading the reviews and decide, yes, the bottle's ability to spray upside down is amazing and deserving of the five stars. The fact that I can shamelessly order and receive it in seclusion is another selling point. I imagine what I'll look like when my wife comes home: more responsible, better. Pure.
The moment I hit the button to order it, I remember the Prime account is under her name and she receives email confirmations for everything ordered on it. Fuuu—
Day 4: The pitch in my voice gets increasingly higher when addressing Harvey. "Hi, Harv!" I say every time he enters the room. He's the only thing I talk to during the day, so I want to vocalize my enthusiasm. I don't consider this as overcompensation to the loneliness creeping in. Not yet. Just two bachelors, bacheloring the hell out of our time together—no big. Right, Harv? RIGHT, HARV??
Day 5: Wife FaceTimes me from Amman, Jordan. She tells me of floating in the Dead Sea, the most amazing avocado smoothie that she's ever had, and visiting Petra, one of the world's oldest cities. I tell her that, the other night, I put butter on bread before toasting it, and that's kind of "my thing" now. She doesn't say anything about the acne spray.Days 6-7: I curl up on the couch and spend my nights watching horror movies: Re-Animator, Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Thing. I've seen these movies countless times and order them according to increasing levels of bleakness. I find an old DVD of movies I made in high school, and envy Past Ryan, who has other characters to interact with. I open up my old LiveJournal and scour the emo posts from my early 20s with nostalgia. So yeah, things are going well. Bachelor party, AM I RIGHT HARV??
Day 8: Friends invite me out for drinks, along with their other friend, Jose. Jose is experiencing his own bachelor party, and tonight's his last night to party before his wife and kids return tomorrow. After a couple drinks at Aero Club, we end up at Bar Dynamite. An indiscernible house beat overwhelms everything. Dudes outnumber girls, four to one. They're doing noncommittal dances that prove that they're fun guys, but not too close to each other in case their sexuality would be questioned. I fit in because my acne spray smells like aerosol. Jose turns to me and says, "In this situation, the only way to deal is to get shit-faced." He orders round after round of Red Bull-vodkas because: Duh. Sometime later, we're chanting our drink orders to the tune of "RB AND V, RB AND V!" and then the lights come on. Closing down Bar Dynamite is a new low.
Day 9: I feel a hangover trying to break through the caffeine that has settled in my brain. It's not an unpleasant sensation. I try to tidy up the house for my wife's return, but everything seems impossible. I go to a friend's Memorial Day barbeque and stare at the fire.
Day 10: Wife comes home. I look to Harvey and we nod—a tacit agreement to never tell her how we live when she's gone.