The Hangover – why do men like it so much?

I went to see Hangover at the weekend. Great movie. But there are several things from the ‘message’ of the flick that I didn’t understand.

(For those of you that haven’t seen it, it is an American comedy about four men who go to a stag party in Las Vegas for the night,  get wasted, wake up in the morning  to find the groom missing and a blank memory. The film is a hilarious account of how they piece together what happened.)

Hilarious too because of all the naughty things they get up to in Vegas – most of which are depicted in pictures during the credits at the end and include: sleeping with and engaging in all kinds of sex acts with dozens of hookers and strippers, getting naked, going to strip shows, marrying a stripper, stealing a tiger and a police car and doing various drunk pranks – usual and unusual – on a wild and very wasted night when they are also drugged out of their minds.

After watching the movie I spoke to four Indian men, asking them why they thought the film was so amazing and it is reaching cult status.

The answers from the men were:

A: “All my friends are saying to me ‘Let’s go to Vegas before we get married’ and do the same as those men. What those guys did- as shown in the photos is a fantasy for every guy.

B: “We are watching something we can never do themselves and every guy wants to escape for a bit.

“Maybe it’s also because we have no tradition of bachelor parties, like this. We may have something like that now, but guys getting together and going to another city? No. Where would we go? Islamabad? Kabul?

C: This is about four guys who have always dreamt of sex, drugs and alcohol, but never done it. What they did for one night in Las Vegas represented their repressed feelings – it was actually the best night any of them  had – this is something Indian men can relate to. It represents s every guy’s fantasy. Every guy secretly wants to do what they did.

D: “Heather Graham would be welcomed by most men.”

So, having listened to my focus group enlighten me on the Mars species, here are my queries to the Cosmos:-

1. Why is it that men’s deepest fantasies are about sleeping with dozens of different women in one night?

2. Why do men associate “being wild and having a wild time” with being with other men and not with being with women?

3. Why were all the men in serious relationships/about to get married or married in the flick portrayed as somehow trapped and unhappy in that relationship? The women, in fact, were portrayed as attractive, yes, but bores/not able to fulfill men/’things’ they needed to escape from.

4. Do Indian men have bachelor parties/stag nights or is this a uniquely western concept?

These are my thoughts on my queries.

1. If I was to tell you my deepest, darkest fantasy…..honestly-speaking….. it is not me sleeping with 12 different men, going to a strip club and getting naked. Nor is it getting so wasted I forget what happened. Nor is it getting sloshed and stealing a police car. My deepest fantasy, and here I admit it on the worldwide web, is basically this: spending time with one man that I love, possibly sitting in a jacuzzi or a spa, sipping champagne , possibly in Barbados, and chatting to him as he wanders past. I’m afraid that is as sordid as it gets. My fantasy is being with ONE man, who I find attractive and enjoy the company of – who is intelligent – and I’m sitting in a Jacuzzi feeling relaxed and he is nearby in a bath robe. Now, perhaps I should see a psychiatrist to get that psycho-analysed. Perhaps I am meant to fantasise about stealing a tiger and watching a male stripper,  an marrying a complete stranger …..  but I don’t.

I spoke to a close Indian male friend about this and he said: “Naomi, you don’t get it. Men and women are different. Men are genetically made to sleep with hundreds of different women…In fact they are biologically made not to stick with one woman and although few men would readily admit it, that film The Hangover depicted every guy’s fantasy. Even happily married men harbour such fantasies, although they may not do anything about them. This explains why there is so much rape by men, rather than the reverse. Every man get sbored of having sex with all women after some time…even if he thinks he has found his soulmate, he will get bored of her.”

I then told him about my humble little fantasy  – the Jacuzzi one…and he asked me (sincerely) “Who is the guy in that? Is it a stranger or someone you know.” “It’s someone I know well and love,” I replied. “That’s the difference between men and women,” he concluded.

So there it was given to me on a plate: women are homemakers and men are hunters and gatherers who need to spread their sperm.

I just don’t get why God invented the idea of man and woman being together as we seem so very different. Not just that but who or what invented the concept of marriage?

According to the same close friend, no man wants to be in marriage – and that is what the Hangover kind of says too…But men kind of end up getting hitched out of some weird social obligation and then remain forever trapped. (That must be why there are so many books for women with titles like How To Catch a Man and Trap Him….)

2. What would have been nice would have been a film about four men who go off on a wild weekend to Las Vegas with their wives/partners/fiancées – and the eight couples gamble, go to strip clubs, steal police cars, get wasted, and sleep with each other (I mean with their partner not partner swapping) and return home having had the weekend of a lifetime with their partner and friends and friends’ partners. …..

Why can’t men have a wild time with women? Why is spending time with women compartmentalised in men’s minds as “not wild and not fun”? But rather a duty or chore…(In the film the teacher is elated at the prospect of getting away from his beautiful wife and kids saying he “hates his life” One guy describes marriage as a “folly”….. )

My fantasy would be to spend a wild weekend in Vegas with my boyfriend, not without him .I have never fantasised about going to Vegas or anywhere with four female friends and picking up men…(In fact I associate doing anything with just women as a chore and a duty…..and prefer men to be present…Am not at all keen on hen nights.)

3. Am I the only person on the planet doing this? Is everyone fantasising about doing things without their partner? If you can’t enjoy time with your partner, what is the purpose of the partner? It reckon it’s true that women on the whole think about men more than men think about us. A male lover probably pops into a woman’s mind every 10 minutes – whereas she might pop into the man’s mind once a day..if that. If he has work to do he will focus on that whereas a woman will let thoughts of her partner distract her from work ..

4. Do Indian men have stag parties like the one depicted in The Hangover? I went on a stag night at a Hindu Indian wedding once.  The bride wasn’t there; plenty of women were. We all drank a lot in the basement of the Executive Enclave Bandra and smeared the man’s face and body in something (henna?) then he was carried off somewhere and I collapsed. It was nice. But I’m not sure whether stag nights exist in India whereby say five to 10 men fly somewhere like Amsterdam, get drunk, hang out in the red light district, and then play a prank on the groom and leave him naked in the road…?

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