At the New York Times, a cautionary tale:
In May, [Tracy] and six friends flew to Miami for a four-night extravaganza. Three of them were spent at a three-story “pool cabana” at the W South Beach that had a private roof deck. (“It was like a town house,” Tracy said.) Day 4, a “detox day” of spa services and relaxing meals, culminated at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in a 2,800-square-foot suite. In between, the group dined on sushi at Katsuya and shared plates at the Soho Beach House. They shopped at boutiques and got their hair done. One woman arranged coordinated costumes for the party to wear while going out: gangsters, barbarians and sea creatures, the last involving shark, turtle and lobster hats that tied under their chins.
The cost for each attendee (including Tracy’s portion, which was shared between her fiancé and her friends): $4,000. And that was after Tracy’s fiancé paid for one night for everyone at the W hotel, which lowered the price.
Gangster costumes! But these ladies are small fry compared to the group of women who went (pre-recession) to Paris for a five-day shopping trip:
All attendees paid $20,000 to $25,000 for the trip, depending on whether they flew economy or business class, not including shopping. (The bride paid only for her flight and shopping.
A Zen koan for bachelorette parties: if a woman is paying $19,000 to go shopping for five days, does it even matter if she flies economy?
Oh, these stories, with their veneer of structural normality—these propositions, marauding under “fun and friendship” rather than consumption as a shorthand for the same. There are so many ways to express personal freedom that fall outside the lines of sugar-fueled credit card binging; at the very least, there are so many other things in your girlfriends’ lives (promotions! dissertation defenses!) that don’t get nearly enough attention in terms of Things Worth Bankrupting Yourself For. Shouts to those fake bachelorette party emails at the Toast, though.