It's about 10 o'clock on a Saturday night in a bar in Jersey City, and some dude has just noticed our small clique of 20-something girls. Admittedly, we’re kinda hard to miss: all of us are wearing matching navy tank tops reading, "Team Bride," except for our friend Kasey, who's got on a special white tank and a matching mini veil straight from the racks of Party City. Clearly, we're throwing a bachelorette party, except it’s obvious from this man’s disappointed tone as we smile but then return to our drinks (which are nondescript gin and tonics, not flaming pink cocktails) that we’re not living up to the hype.
Over the past few decades, bachelorette parties have attained a legendary reputation that rivals -- if not exceeds -- bachelor parties. It’s a night where loud, lascivious women bust into bars with sashes or maybe even a penis crown, suck down as many shots as they can, and then push their engaged friend into increasingly embarrassing situations with single men and/or strippers. This tradition helps feed the travel, restaurant, and liquor industries and it’s been covered time and again in the press, movies, and Bravo’s entire Real Housewives lineup. But for such a well-established rite of passage, bachelorette parties are a relatively modern invention. In fact, based on the measly information out there on their origins, you might assume they materialized out of thin air 25 years ago. But the simple truth is bachelorette parties did not -- and could not -- exist in their current form until America got cool with a bunch of new things -- not the least of which was the presence of groups of women waving dildos around in public.