Dear Sara’s Sister-in-Law, Who Planned Sara’s Bachelorette Party,

I have a theory that I’d like to share with you. I suppose it would have been helpful to tell you this before Sara’s bachelorette party, but I’m going to say it now anyway, just in case the duty of planning one of these parties ever falls to you again.

My theory is this: Nobody actually enjoys strippers. We all just collectively pretend like we do. Why do we pretend? Well, because—and granted, this applies particularly to men—if you admit to not liking strippers, you open yourself up to such comments as, ‘’You don’t like tits in your face? You must be a homo.’’ It is this fear that leads us to go to bachelor and bachelorette parties where we emit half-hearted whoops and whistles at the faux fireman, cop, or nurse who has been hired for the occasion when in fact we are all counting down the minutes for the techno mix to end so they can put their clothes back on and leave.

Take this past Saturday, for example. Now, I don’t want to bash the party you threw: the Mighty One Bites were delicious, as was the corned beef dip. There was more than enough wine and beer on hand, and the phallic-shaped cake you baked was moist, buttery, and frosted in exquisite detail, right down to the brown chocolate sprinkles of pubic hair. And maybe I’m overstepping my boundaries here, and if I am I apologize, but truly, the only problem I’d like to call to your attention is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this letter.

Here’s how it all went down: First, you plunked Sara down in the middle of the room. Then, a strobe light was activated. Then, you fled to the kitchen, ostensibly to call Hogs n’ Honeys and confirm our table reservation, or possibly to clean up the dishes. Either way, your rapid departure from the strobe-lit room only serves to strengthen my theory. If you didn’t want to watch, I have to ask, why did I have to? There were a few moments of whispering and speculation before the opening chords of ‘’Rhythm is a Dancer’’ piped into the room. And there he was: our ‘’police officer’‘. How did I know it was not a real officer of the law? Was it the plastic badge? The fuzzy handcuffs hanging from his belt? The tear away pants? It’s hard to say exactly.

‘’Hands behind your back,’’ he instructed Sara in a very thick Eastern European accent. ‘’I hear you’ve been a very bad girl.’’

I took a very long sip of my wine.

I’ll give you this, Sara’s Sister-in-Law: From an objective point of view, the stripper actually was pretty good looking. He clearly spends most of his non-stripping hours at the gym. But you see, there are a few things that I’m just not into when it comes to men. This includes nipple piercings, full body waxing, spray tans, chain link underpants, tramp stamps, blond highlights, tooth caps, thongs, and tattoos that are strategically placed to cover an enormous back scar which was probably inflicted in a Siberian labor camp. So while he began humping his way around the room, I tried my best to make myself scarce. I’ll admit, not everyone was as reticent as I was—some even rummaged through their purses for singles. I had plenty of singles, but there was no way I was sticking them in the rim of my shirt—why invite his attentions? I also seated myself next to Jenny—you know, the girl who is eight months pregnant—reasoning that a stripper would have reservations about grinding up against a living fetus. Turns out I was wrong about that.

At first, my precautions worked. I managed to fly under the radar for most of his performance. But towards the end I got careless. I made a cardinal error. An amateur’s error, really. Every school kid who doesn’t know the answer to the teacher’s question knows that you must keep your eyes down at all times. If you don’t want to get called on, you don’t make eye contact.

I don’t remember now what exactly it was that made me look up—it could have been the game of pecker ring toss that was going on in the corner, or maybe Sara’s screams as the stripper shoved his face in her crotch. I may have just been disoriented by the strobe light. But whatever it was, I looked up, our eyes locked in what was by no means a romantic exchange, and before I knew it he was mincing over to me, menacing me with his nightstick. I tried to resist, to reason with him, to beg, but all my pleas were drowned out by Britney Spears’ warbling threat, ‘’You want a piece of me?’’

He climbed on top of me in a nightmarish cloud of Drakkar Noir, the hoop in his nipple grazing my cheek.

‘’Are you ready to be searched?’’ He wanted to know, his Slavic accent trilling over the r’s.

‘’Actually, you know what, I think I’m—’’ but my thought went unfinished as I was now dealing with the more immediate problem of being spread eagled in a dress, my thighs clenched around his bare ass, my feet about level with my ears. Also, I had come to the realization that the only thing separating my face from his dick was a thin layer of tiger print nylon.

He finished me off with a nice, decisive thrust, then moved on to his next victim. Instinctively, I grabbed for my wine, like a colicky child finds comfort in his pacifier.

Finally, when it was all over, the music stopped and the strobe light unplugged, you conveniently decided to return to the room. Now, I understand that you just had a baby and therefore you were drinking for the first time in at least ten months, and so I’m going to go ahead and assume it was out of character for you to scream out, ‘’Come on, let’s see some cock!‘’ Or perhaps you just felt it was your duty, as hostess, to put on an air of salaciousness. But I hardly think that’s fair, given that you were not at any time subjected to his grinding boner on any part of your face. Either way, you know the rest: the stripper, a slave to his art, obliged your request. He pulled down the small scrap that one might describe in technical terms as ’’underwear’’, and whipped it out. I screamed. Now, you can call me a prude if you want, but before you do, let me ask you this: is it really prudish to expect to have a say in whose genitals you do and do not view firsthand?

Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is just me. Maybe there are some girls out there who enjoy having a stranger’s balls jiggled in their faces. But I will tell you this, Sara’s Sister-in-Law: once he left, a vague air of shell shock remained behind at what had started as a very nice party. Jenny wondered aloud, shivering, ‘’Did he really show us his cock?’’ Meg mused, ‘’I didn’t like it when he held his fake gun to my head.‘’ Alicia said, glumly, ’’I think he ripped my shirt.‘’ And Sara, the bride-to-be, summed it up more succinctly: ’’I feel dirty.‘’ There was nothing to do from that point on but stick a tiara on Sara’s head and go to Hogs n’ Honeys. And, as a final insult to my sensibilities, you might also recall that I had to pay for the cab ride there. You see, I was the only one with any singles.

Jessie Morrison