I was on a Virgin train ready to leave King’s Cross for a stag weekend in Newcastle. Three hours of “sitting and reading” ahead of me, in a blissfully empty carriage, clearly it was too good to be true…….
I heard them coming a full minute before they came into view: they were murdering Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes in broad daylight and cackling as they did it – not a good sign, it was only midday.
“I’ve HAAAD the time of my liiiiiiife, ooooh let’s sit here”
Let me just take you aside a moment to tell you what I know about Hen parties. Such a strange name, a “hen” party, I assume they’re called that because of the considerable noise they make, the amount of feathers involved and that “laying” something seems to be very much on their agenda. A shrieking herd of tits and hair and laughs dirtier than a second-hand mudflap (they’re great aren’t they?). In any decent sized Hen party there is always (always) representation from every quartile of the sexual promiscuity scale and although this might be cunningly hidden at the beginning, by the time they have each drunk their own body weight in malibu (usually by 6pm) it’s more apparent where they sit on the scale, some have moved up and some have, quite literally, slid down it. It’s a strange phenomenon, for reasons unfathomable the bride-to-be’s so-called last night of freedom appears to infect the whole party, giving the experience an “anything could happen” aura, especially when everyone is away from home for a night or two and having such a good time. A good time, principally because everything is funny on a hen party, notably the letter L. For it’s a fact that making the bride-to-be wear “Learner Driver” plates is utterly hilarious, the very pinnacle of comedy. Closely followed by massive inflatable genitals.
It was one of the aforementioned inflatables, which upon reflection did look a bit like Bill Medley, which was thrust into the carriage and swung around, neatly smacking me in the side of my head to the general hilarity of all who witnessed it.
“OOOhhh makes a change dunnit HAHAHAHAHAHa” etc
No sorry or anything. I watched them as they settled into every empty seat, filled every overhead luggage rack – the carriage was drowned in a pink tsunami. They looked exactly as you are imagining them now. All dressed the same: tour t-shirts with writing across the chest I dared not read. There must’ve been twenty of them, all in full make-up. With the sheer amount of “bronzer” worn by so many people dressed in the same outfit I felt as if I’d been surrounded by massive female oompa loompas. Hemmed in, suddenly my window seat didn’t seem like such a good idea. What to do? I couldn’t get up and leave. Could I? No I couldn’t.
Now, as a lone man, dealing with 20 women you have to be careful. Oh so very fucking careful. Say the wrong thing and you’ll get eaten alive (and I don’t mean that in the nice way), but say the right thing and you could get eaten alive (I mean that in the nice way) – it’s a delicate path to tread. I had a fair inkling, given the foul language, the plastic “dick whistles” and the 4ft inflatable prick, that I was surrounded by masters of both the double and the single entendre – so the important thing was to choose one’s words with care.
I started with “So who’s the lucky girl then?”, noticing as I said it, that the girl diagonally opposite was wearing a veil (well a net-curtain with tinsel) on her head along with “hilarious” L plates. She also had a slight lazy eye.
“Oi! Sam – give us a wave Sam, Sam is getting married next month” said bubbly tangerine girl opposite. When I say bubbly, that’s code: she easily weighed more than my wife’s entire hen do on her own – and my wife has lots of friends. Dutifully Sam gave me a wave – at least I think it was me, as I said it was difficult to tell exactly who she was looking at. We chatted for a bit and established that Big and Bubbly Bryony was the sister of Sam’s husband-to-be and that the rest of the girls were all friends except for the older lady who was Sam’s mum. It’s a nice gesture inviting your mum on a hen do, nice but wholly inappropriate – nobody wants to see a pensioner with a blow-up “cock and balls” on public transport. Especially if said pensioner is a bit drunk and keeps pretending to fellate it, invoking shrieks of delight from her daughter’s friends. It may sound like a bit of a turn on but sadly, truth be told, it looked like a simpleton was headbutting a punchbag while other simpletons made chicken noises.
We chatted some more, I pretended I was interested in the intricacies of “nail bars” and TOWIE. There was a lot of singing: I remember “Girls just wanna have fun” and “Back for Good”, I have tried to forget “Love Shack”. Not joining in was rather awkward as I didn’t really know where to look during the “performance” and (perversely) reading my book in the quiet carriage while a score of tone deaf oompa loompas murdered Karaoke favourites may have been construed as rude.
There were times when I did feel a bit like a clothed strippogram but generally it was a surprisingly pleasant journey; yes it was a bit naff but the underlying friendships of the girls was warmly apparent and like the song says they did just “wanna have fun”. When we arrived I wished them well and got off the train. A policeman was waiting at the exit to the train station, handing out bin liners to all the various Hen parties, asking them to cover up any offensive inflatables, reminding them that there were children around and to think about others. Welcome to Newcastle.
“Can you cover that up with this bag please girls ”
“Oooh safe sex officer!!” the mother of the bride cackled, falling over.
The rest of the girls picked her up and decanted her into a cab, laughing as they did so.