I didn’t want to go in the first place. I mean, really? Stags, Hens, aren’t they a thing of the past yet. Haven’t we found something more sophisticated yet? We have of course, but most people tend to go for the traditional ‘let’s get pissed up and wear stupid clothes’ idea. Personally, I like the idea of the bride having dinner with the grooms’ friends and the groom having dinner with the brides’ friends. That’s not to say this is a more civilised option, just a bit different. But I’ve only ever known of that happening once within my circle of friends and acquaintances.
So, I received my invitation email, correctly sent by the Maid of Honour, but clearly under strict instructions from my friend Ashleigh, the Bride, a control freak. We were booked into a hotel in Amsterdam, which had a Spa, and our Easyjet flights were also booked, for midday on the Friday. We were going for two nights. Great. As I read through the email it became abundantly clear that this weekend away was going to cost a truck load of money, and from the copied in names on the email, I could see that there was only one other person, apart from the Bride of course, that I’d ever met, let alone knew. Jesus. AND we were required to dress up. Happy days. I had a month to prepare for this.
So, there I was euros in purse, bright yellow tights on ready to adorn my fancy dress chicken costume that was hidden in my hand luggage – I’d gone for funny rather than the usually sexy French maid look that I was sure most people would opt for – waiting outside Boots at Stansted Airport where we’d agreed to congregate. I wasn’t sure whether to check-in before meeting them, or if we were all doing it together, so I’d opted for the latter, you know Team Spirit and all that….
‘Hiya, you must be here for the hen weekend? Ashleigh’s?’, she said, looking at my bright yellow legs. ‘Funny…’. Well at least she got the joke. She was, as predicted, in the tiniest of mini skirts with a tight white blouse that buttoned up the front, high stilettos.
‘Ha, yes, I can see you’ve gone for the saucy maid look. I’m Julie, nice to meet you.’
She stared blankly at me, then half smiled.
‘Actually, I haven’t changed yet. I didn’t realise we were meant to come dressed up already.’
Fuck. Foot in it, right from the off. I really had no idea how to get myself out of this so gave a weak smile and sort of apologised. Fortunately, Ashleigh arrived as I was doing it and gave both myself and my newly peeved companion a hug. Ashleigh was good at jabbering, so the focus was deflected away from my mahoosive faux pas and onto some nonsense about fake tan. Eventually everyone arrived, and before long we were jetting off for our weekend of forced fun.
We arrived at our Amsterdam hotel after much fussing about with bags and taxis, some headed straight for the Spa, some relaxed in their rooms phoning babies and boyfriends, but I headed straight for the bar. There was no way that I was getting through this without a suitable amount of Dutch courage, and as we were in the right country for that, I figured that I was justified in finding plenty of it. My boyfriend could wait, we weren’t that reliant on one another, and as he was in Benidorm on the stag weekend, I figured he’d prefer to be left alone focussing on trying not to be the one to get drunkaroo’d or shaved inappropriately. Ha, it made me laugh just thinking about it. Poor bastards. The stag weekend always seem so much more filthy than its female counterpart.
I wasn’t sure how long I’d been in the bar before a few of the others joined me. Each one in turn found my chicken costume hilarious, and the fact that I was sat at the bar alone with it on seemed to garner even more hilarity. We were undecided about whether to start a tab, or have a pot. Both had their problems apparently, as someone was going to have to look after the pot or a tab would mean that all that divvying up nonsense would have to occur.
‘Why can’t we just split the tab evenly between all fifteen of us?’, I suggested, ‘Easy. Sorted.’
‘Oh no, we can’t do that’, some skinflint said, ‘I’m not planning on drinking too much, and I don’t think it’s fair for those of us who don’t drink much to pay the same as those who do.’
Here we go I thought. The temptation to say ‘why did you come then? It’s a fucking hen weekend!’ was enormous, but of course I didn’t, I just crossed my yellow legs, ruffled my chicken feathers and took another sip. In fact, this seemed to be my stance for most of the weekend, as more and more nonsense seemed to expose itself.
Before long I’d latched on to one of Ashleigh’s bridesmaids, Tina. I could see her rolling her eyes at pretty much the same things as me and decided that if I was going to stand any chance of making a buddy then she seemed the obvious choice. I have to say, it was a good choice. We laughed raucously at the same things, and spent absolutely no time at all discussing boyfriends, husband or babies. Marvellous.
We all entered out into the city, stopping off at various bars along the way. The usual chat-ups occurred, as well as the usual dodgy dancing, someone brought out a vibrator and dropped it into Ashleigh’s beer which caused a right hoo-ha. Much later I bumped into her in the loo at a bar near the Rossebuurt, and she seemed ecstatically happy.
‘Juuuuuuu, Ju Ju Ju…..I’m having the best time. Everyone is. Watch Tina though. Ha ha. Ju Ju Ju, watch that Tina.’ And she was gone: L plates on, tutu tucked in her knickers, arms raised above her head like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, gone out into the bar grabbing at whatever glass seemed full and available. What did she mean: ‘watch that Tina’? Some drunken bollocks which I, of course, ignored.
Ever had a blackout? I’m sure you’ve heard about them. I had. And now I’ve had one.
My boyfriend was as smug as smug could be. All he did was laugh, laugh raucously as I stood in front of our bathroom mirror trying to pencil on my right eyebrow. The remnants of the temporary tattoo moustache was still slightly visible, below the redness of my scrubbing, and the memories – not to mention the photographs – of me riding high that bucking bronco before rolling around in the mud wrestling circle, will be forever imbedded in my psyche.
Never again will I go on a hen weekend. Never. I’d rather go with the boys.
Oh, and the humiliation of appearing at the wedding, and encountering its guests……well, that was yet to come.