I went to my first properly traditional hen party recently. It was old-school and chock full of inflatable penis’ (peni?), karaoke, dares, dodgy dancing and drink. The bride wore a Pound Land veil, the hens were bedecked in sashes and the prosecco was helpfully decanted through an apparently endless array of penis straws. It was the kind of thing I’d normally avoid like the plague but guess what?
I loved every frickin’ second of it.
From the inaugural drinking game through to last orders, it was an absolute riot. It’d been ages since I’d last been out with a group made up largely of people I didn’t know and I’d forgotten how easy it can be to bond with strangers when you’re playing ‘catch the hoop’ with a willy on your head while simultaneously howling the words to ‘It’s raining men’ and trying not to spill your drink. (Side note: Hen parties are excellent for honing the old multi-tasking skills.) It was the most fun night, with nary a single hitch to be had. Everyone got along, no-one fought/cried/fell over, and even sleazy encounters with creepy bastards were mercifully minimal. All in all, everyone had a great time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the siren call of a hen party bitch fight. Large groups of drunken screaming people can bring out the ire in anyone. Case-in-point, I recently had a pal – a tiny, generally sane and overall sensible human – tell me about the time she was on a night out and had to be whisked from a bar after a woman from a nearby hen party came over demanding to know if my friend’s friends ‘wanted something?’ Mistaking her for a waitress, one of the group ordered a drink off her. The woman took umbridge at this and one thing led to another. Normally my friend would just walk away from a brouhaha but on this occasion, the penis paraphernalia (and possibly, nay, probably the alcohol) rather got in the way. Before she knew it, it was all getting a bit Fight Club and she was one slap away from a lifetime of missing teeth and making soap out of stolen lipo-fat. (This bit may or may not be true.)
And don’t get me started on the guys! The greatest lesson living in Edinburgh has taught me thus far is to be grateful that I will never be a man on a stag do. I once walked past a group of them marching through Grassmarket at 5.30pm on a Friday with the poor bethrothed bastard in the group dressed head to foot as a gimp, complete with the requisite ball-gag and leash. The evening had barely begun and their natural jumping-off point was full on leather gimp suit. I mean, jesus – where do you go from there? Apart from the A & E, presumably.
And then there was the guy who informed me that he was off on a stag do to somewhere in Europe and had just discovered that the Best Man had invested in a travel tattooing kit.
An honest-to-god, real-life tattooing kit.
I haven’t seen this person since, so sadly I will never know how that particular tale ended but I can only assume that it went one of two ways:
1.) Someone saw the light and divested the group of the offending item tout suite
2.) The groom woke up with a permanent penis on his forehead and is now using the money he recovered from his cancelled wedding on laser tattoo removal…
I’ll keep you posted.
Anyhoo, back to my afterschool-special monologue. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty staunch feminist. I’d heard so many horror stories about terrible hens (and, on the other hand, the constant bullshit barrage of so-called ‘news’ articles on the evils of large groups of young women binge drinking, to which I say pah! That’s a rant for a different day though…) But consider this my lesson learned. Never will I ever again judge another group out on a hen night.
No, I will wish them well and hope they have as great a time as I did.
Unless they have a home-tattooing kit on them, of course.