When he’d learnt that Troy and Abed were planning his bachelor party, Jeff had had reservations.
"First of all, I appreciate the effort," Jeff said. He may or may not have been sincere.
"About the banner," Troy began. "I know it's not your birthday, but..."
"At this point, Troy, the banner is the least of my concerns."
Troy sighed in relief. He'd been in charge of banner duties.
"In fact, I'd have to say, my biggest concern right now is Captain Steroids here."
"Dude," the stripper said, looking annoyed from where he was leaning against the large, novelty birthday cake he'd burst out of moments before, much to the surprise of at least three of the other men in the room, "for your information, these pecs ain't nothin' to do with steroids. Pure, 100% beefcake."
The other men in the room tried to look at him skeptically while simultaneously trying not to look at him. He was just wearing a thong and a generously-sized jock-strap. No one was getting away from that night with their masculinity unchallenged.
"How nice," Jeff replied. "Although it doesn't really address my point. And that point is what in the sweet holy mother of Christ were you guys thinking."
"We did discuss the stripper," Abed conceded, "and we were reluctant to let Pierce organise it, but neither Troy nor myself know anything about this side of the proceedings, and Pierce assured us he knew of someone appropriate for tonight's festivities."
Jeff sighed. "Of course he did."
"I just wanted Jeff to have a last moment of freedom," Pierce said innocently. "A brief indulgence of old pleasures before he had to cram himself into the closet of marriage."
The stripper looked mildly interested at this. "Marriage? Thought this was a birthday gig."
"In light of the decorations and, for reasons I still don't get, party hats," Jeff acknowledged, "I can understand."
"So, you gettin' married?" The stripper shrugged. "Not my business, but seems kind of unfair on the lady if you're just using her as a beard."
"I'm not gay," Jeff snapped.
"Hey, whatever dude. I handle closet cases all the time. None of my business."
"Actually," Abed said loyally, "Jeff isn't gay. He's just really really metrosexual. He's getting married to our old roommate."
"Who is a woman," Troy confirmed helpfully. "Albeit a woman who once slept with a gay man. So she might not be the best judge of these matters."
The stripper shrugged again. "Whatever, man. None of my business."
"Okay, seriously; stop saying 'whatever' and that everything's none of your business -- which, by the way guys, he's actually right about, so shut up. And could you please for the love of God put a shirt on or something."
"Hey man, not my problem you're threatened by the goods. Just embrace the view, dude, that's what I say."
"Yeah, Jeff," Pierce said encouragingly. "It's your last night as a free gay man. Enjoy it."
"Actually," Abed said to the stripper, again trying to be helpful, "Jeff's probably only threatened because you look better in a thong than he does. It's not a sexuality thing, it's a vanity thing."
"So, uh, guessin' none of you guys want a dance, then." the stripper said after a moment.
"How perceptive of you."
"Whatever," the stripper shrugged. "So am I still getting paid?"
Later, as they sat in front of Troy and Abed's big-screen TV drinking beers and watching all the Christopher Nolan Batman movies on Blu-Ray back-to-back (with the stripper long gone with $100 and a promise to never come back for his trouble), Jeff reflected that this was not how he'd imagined his bachelor party would be like.
Of course, if he was honest, he'd never even imagined having a bachelor party, but he was pretty sure they weren't supposed to be like this. There was supposed to be more rambunctiousness. And public vomiting. And strippers. Female ones who didn't openly question his sexuality, that is.
No one had said anything for a while, mainly due to guilt, watching Batman kick ass (and okay, Jeff tried to be above the whole geek thing, but damn could Nolan make a guy in a batsuit beating up clowns look awesome) and Pierce passing out after drinking what had to have been an entire half-bottle of scotch by himself. So it wasn't until Anne Hathaway first showed up in "Rises" that Troy paused the Blu-Ray player and turned to Jeff guiltily. "Sorry about tonight, man. We wanted it to be more exciting than this."
Jeff shrugged. "'S okay."
More he thought about it, it actually kind of was. Well, the douchey steroid guy had kind of cast a pall, but apart from him.
"We've never done this before," Abed explained, "and although we did do research, it kind of suggested that Tom Hanks, a schoolbus and a kidnap attempt by one of Annie's ex-boyfriends was required. We didn't think that would go down well. TV Tropes apparently isn't a very useful resource in these situations."
"Which is weird," Troy shook his head, "because it's never failed us for any of our other parties before."
"Guys, it's okay. Really."
"I mean, we could still do something if you want. Night is young, you know? Maybe go to a strip club or something. Enjoy your last night of freedom."
Jeff considered for a moment. He'd spent a lot of his free years in strip clubs, and nightclubs, and bars. Getting tanked, beautiful girls draped all over him, waking up hungover the next morning to do the same old thing over and over again. Looking back, he hadn't felt very free at all then, to be honest. Frankly, spending his bachelor party doing the same thing just seemed like the same old routine.
And then he thought about a pair of beautiful blue eyes and an infectious and deceptively innocent smile and Annie's warmth as she lay beside him in their bed in their apartment, and it suddenly occurred to him that even the wildest night imaginable wouldn't be able to compare to the feeling of weightlessness he felt at that moment that anyway.
Jesus. He was actually gonna spend his last night as a single man just drinking beers with his buds and watching superhero movies. He was getting old.
"Eh," Jeff shrugged, taking a swig of his beer, "Freedom's overrated."
He tried to sound non-committal, but as he pressed play on the remote Troy swore he could see a hint of a contented smile on Jeff's face anyway.