At 8 pm, outside the McDonald’s outlet in Phoenix Mills, 15 girls in identical racerbacks had assembled. They were shuffling through their survival kits — each had a 50 ml bottle of Café Patron (coffee liqueur), an aspirin, a bottle of water, a lollipop, colourful shutter shades, a hair band, Band-Aid, a bottle opener, a barf bag, a hair clip and some mints.
They were clearly the centre of attention in the shopping hub, but they didn’t mind. I guess that’s one good thing about Mumbai — there are always people willing to make a spectacle of themselves, and there’s always a crowd to cheer you on.
Before attending this one, my knowledge of bachelorette parties was limited to what we’ve seen in Hollywood rom-coms — a trip to Vegas, a posh private bash, a sinful night out, a naughty cake or a man in a costume willing to entertain.
This one was different. It was a scavenger hunt-cum-bar crawl across south Mumbai. Every 20 minutes, each of the four groups was handed a clue leading them to the next pub, all of which were the bride’s favourites. Chaotic as it was, it was also great fun.
By the end of the night, I was just glad that the first bachelorette I attended was far from what I had imagined it to be. No naughty cakes, no strippers, no pole dancing, and certainly no lap dancing. Of course, those who believe these parties aren’t complete without these elements might disagree, but their point isn’t entirely valid if you think of it.
The reason is because bachelorettes never originated as concepts in themselves. They apparently began as a version of the bachelor party that, various sources on the Internet claim, was made popular by the Spartans in 5th century BC. Over time, women decided they wanted in too, so these machismo-packed events were twisted to fit the female needs around the ’60s.
A lesser-known story behind the origin even reveals that these parties were actually dedicated to the bride and groom’s friends, who, post-marriage, become second priority. The idea was for the to-be-married people to make some happy memories with their friends before life got busy with in-laws and babies. And if you have married friends, then you probably understand why this logic makes sense.
Hollywood movies about such parties only fuelled the craze and, now, years later, the bachelorette is a valid occasion in itself. Although there’s no harm in adding another reason to celebrate the wedding extravaganza, I hope, in time, it develops an identity of its own — one that is unique and more than just a version of the bachelor party.