Tag Archives: open bar

Chop Style: Avoiding the Freshman Sydrome

First things first… The first thing is that we’re happy to announce that this blog was recognized yesterday by the City Paper in their annual Best of Baltimore issue as being Baltimore’s Best Local Blog. The BoB award carries a lot of weight in this town, and most of your finer local establishments display one on their walls from some year or another, so we’re excited to have one of our own to put in the office. We’re looking forward to spending long hours staring at it while we’re lazy and distracted and saying to ourselves “What the fuck are we going to write about today?” which is how blogs are made.

We also want to thank the CP staff for paying enough attention to remember that we are a blog. If we were handing out advice to a beginning blogger, it would not be “don’t write anything at all for 3 months” which is exactly what we’ve done up until yesterday. It means that much more to us for having been offline these 90 days.

A visual approximation of the Chop being the best.

So like we said, we get a little award suitable for framing. But the real prize when you win one of these is that you score an invite to the annual Best of Baltimore party, and get to hobnob and schmooze and glad-hand with the other winners, and of course, be privy to an open bar.

So we went there yesterday, and we did that. We even managed to get a date for the event. And without saying too much about it, we didn’t look at it as one of these “Oh I just need somebody to go with so let’s just go and hang out or whatever” dates. It was more like one of these “She seems pretty awesome and I really want this to go well and I’m kind of nervous about it and I still sort of can’t believe she said yes.” kind of dates. The best kind.

Which brings us to the main idea of this post. For a big date, or any type of big event whether it’s a job interview, a holiday, a wedding or what have you, the temptation is always there to go shopping beforehand and find something new to wear. It’s a temptation we usually resist, and we recommend the rest of you do the same.

Think about the beginning of high school. The first day of ninth grade is a big fucking deal for most kids. You’re out of middle school, and thrown in with a lot of older kids. You may be meeting kids from other middle schools, taking new classes, dating for real for the first time, and you’re trying you’re level best just to fit in, let alone cut a great figure down the hallways.

Maybe it’s different for girls, but for most of us boys your mom dragged you to the mall to hit the back to school sales and made you try on jeans and shirts for hours on end, wouldn’t let you get any of the things that you really wanted, or anything that wasn’t on sale, or anything that couldn’t double as church clothes- in short, anything good. So the first day of school rolls around and now that the clothes are bought you actually have to wear them, and in addition to all the hassles and stresses and pressures of starting high school, you’re constantly thinking “Do these jeans look like Dad jeans? Do these look like floppy clown shoes? Does this shirt make me look like a doofus?” And you wish you’d never gone shopping at all.

We’ve got it better as adults. Most of us have a much improved sense of style and a better sense of self than we did at 14, and we’re free to buy and wear what we will without any help from Mom. All the same, the Freshman Syndrome still persists.

Sure, those pants look great, but do they look great on you? That sweater is nice enough to be an investment piece, but will it itch your neck until you wash it a few times? New shoes are great to have, but they’re even better after you’ve broken them in and they’re not stiff and unforgiving. At the end of the day, looking good is mostly about confidence, and it’s hard to be very confident in something you’ve seen only once in a store mirror. The clothes that really inspire confidence are the ones that we know fit the best; that we’ve seen in our own mirrors, that we’ve been photographed in, that have generated plenty of compliments in the past. Better than new clothes are your favorite clothes.

Having a closet full of clothes that we can count on is one of the best things about being a bona fide adult. In our case, we’re always prepared for anything from a wedding to a funeral to a formal event, or even a date… no trip to the mall required.

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House Rules: Drinking on Your Wedding Day

It takes a lot of time and effort to plan a wedding. It’s no small matter to co-ordinate a real life fairy tale which is meant to be the one and only happiest day of your life. If you’re a bride or groom, it’s hard enough to pull together the budgetary and logistical challenges in a way that pleases you, not to mention pleasing parents, in-laws, and everyone else. It’s a challenge even to the professionals, and for someone with no experience in event planning it’s enough to drive you to drink.

If you’re about to put so much money and planning into a reception, you may be worried about a certain drunken uncle or a beast of a best man. What no one ever tells you about wedding planning though is not to tip your own glass too many times during the toast. You’re going to want to remember this.

Norman Mailer was an expert on drinking- and on weddings for that matter. His example though, is not one to emulate.

Please don’t get us wrong. We don’t mean to criticize any happy couples here, and heaven knows your Chop is typically the first (and last) in line for an open bar. We’re usually the last to urge moderation, but your own wedding is one of the few times when a little temperance is called for. If you’ve got a date set for this season, it’s true that it’s your party, your day, and you’re free to spend it how you will. At the same time though, it’s your party. Even though you’ve got a staff of waiters and bartenders at the ready, the hosting duties are still yours.

Sure, every couple is in pretty good shape throughout the dinner hour, and most people are savvy enough not to really pour it on until the photographers are long gone. In a lot of ways though, your wedding day can be the longest day of your life. Once you make it to the point where cake is cut and the old folks start to trickle out, but the bar is still open, you’re not quite done yet. This is precisely the point where it’s best to ease up and just maintain. You’ve still got plenty of wedding ahead of you.

Besides, you only get one shot at wedding night sex, and whiskey dick is a most unwelcome wedding crasher.

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House Rules: How To Throw a Proper Bachelor Party

Spring is nearly upon us here in Baltimore, and on the heels of the first sunny days will be another Spring wedding season. For the women and the coupled men out there this can mean the welling up of all sorts of conflicting emotions, leading to long discussions and life choices. For a consummate bachelor such as the Chop is, it means nothing more than that we’re officially on the cusp of bachelor party season.

For the groom and his friends, a bachelor party means making memories of male bonding, drinking, debauchery and debasement. If you’re selected as the best man though, it means a whole lot of work.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

A well planned and successful bachelor party might just be the greatest gift that one man can give another. As with any great gift though, it’s the thought, effort, and considerations that go into it which make the thing so great. Anyone can throw a keg on the back porch and order a bunch of pizzas, but you’re the best man. The party you throw needs to be the best it can be. Follow these rules to insure that it is.

The best man is in charge.
From the moment you’re named best man, it’s understood that it’s on you to produce a bachelor party. You may ask the groom for one or two suggestions, mainly to get an idea of the scale of the party. You don’t want to plan a simple night out in Fell’s if the groom is expecting a weekend blowout in Atlantic City. Once you agree on the scale though, no more input from the groom is really necessary. You may even want to keep him on a need-to-know basis. He’s riding shotgun in this adventure, and a few surprise turns thrown in will make the trip that much more fun.

Plan your logistics.
If the party does involve travel, a weekend in Atlantic City, a trip to see the Ravens on the road, or anything of that sort, or if certain friends live great distances apart or travel is required for the wedding itself, its obviously that much more difficult to swell the guest list for the bachelor party, and four guests might be plenty. If, on the other hand, someone in the company has a large suburban house with a club basement and an in-ground pool, go ahead and invite as many people as possible. Whatever you do, plan early, and keep everyone apprised on any changes that may arise. You should also make all guests aware of what the dress code will be. We recommend nothing less than collars and jackets. Ties are preferable.

Always arrange transportation beforehand.

Arrange transportation.
This will be specific to your locale and plans, but make sure your plan doesn’t involve drunk driving and leaving cars parked in tow away zones willy-nilly. Whether you get a limo, rely on cabs, designate a driver or whatever, just make sure you’ve got something lined up for the evening.

All day, all night, or both?
One of the best ways to go is to throw a progressive bachelor party. Start small in the afternoon with just the groomsmen enjoying some daytime activity; a round of golf, playing the horses at Pimlico or something of that nature. Have a few more friends meet the party in the evening for dinner, and then come one come all for the rest of the night.

Plan your budget.
Whatever you’re planning, you should have an idea of how the expenses will break down for everyone. Try to strike a fair balance between baller and budget. Everyone should know beforehand how much cash they should be expected to show up with, and there’s no way around it; a good, memorable bachelor party ain’t cheap. This is one advantage of a progressive party, if someone’s not exactly flush, he can beg off dinner and join the party later to save a few dollars.

Eat dinner.
The Chop heartily endorses a sit-down dinner in the nicest restaurant you can afford as part of any bachelor party. It’s a great chance to enjoy a bit of luxury, carbo-load before a night of heavy drinking, and exchange toasts. Depending on the number of diners at your table, you may want to ask everyone to lay out a certain amount before you even sit down. Make the amount high, like, so high no one man could possibly order that much. Then let everyone order what they will. There should be plenty extra, which can be used toward the tip and the groom’s meal, because The groom isn’t paying for anything tonight. If there’s still cash leftover it can be put toward a bottle of champagne for the table, the night’s cab rides, etc.

Something else to take into consideration if you’re going to have a dozen or more for dinner is the possibility of renting a private banquet room, arranging a prix fixe menu, or securing a couple hours of open bar. This can be easier for everyone involved, and you may save a few bucks in the long run.

Tom Hanks is still the gold standard for zany bachelor parties.

Strippers.
Strippers are still mandatory for a proper bachelor party, but they should not be the focus of the entire evening. A quick visit to one strip club will suffice. The longer a large group of guys stays in a club, the greater the potential for all sorts of trouble to occur. At a minimum, you’ll see all the money fall out of your pockets and may be pressed for bottle service by some shady club-manager type. And of course, someone’s going to make a bad decision sooner or later. Stay only long enough to get an eyeful of the girls and get the groom a lap dance, then move it somewhere else.

(By the by, we recommend the Red Room on the Block. Just make sure you pack your picnic basket.)

Party ’til you drop.
Most of the party will make it home eventually, but whichever groomsman has the biggest, most comfortable house should designate it as the crash pad for the night. The crash pad should be stocked ahead of time with enough liquor to wind the party up, some gourmet drunken snack foods, and brunch supplies for the morning after.


One final note…

As technology changes, the rules change too. We recommend that as best man you be the only one at the party with a working cell phone. Anyone needing to contact the party should contact the best man. The groom should have his phone taken away for safe keeping as soon as the party begins, and all other guests should be asked to keep their phones off for the evening. Everyone should be fully involved in the night, and calls and texts, Foursquare check-ins, Facebook statuses, and tweets are just distractions, as well as an easy way for fiancées and their friends to get too nosy in real time. We’d like to see the no phones rule become the new standard and tradition.

And of course the old standards and traditions still apply: whatever does or does not happen at a bachelor party is never to be discussed in mixed company. Ever.

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