For Jo n Brian's recent wedding I was given the choice of attending the hen night or the stag night. In bald terms, one of the following options:
Option A: Go to Glasgow for the weekend with a large bunch of hard-drinking Scots, Australians and Irish that I don't know. Get beaten up at the Celtic game for being as English as EastEnders and Tim Henman. Get left behind to be picked up by the police when collapsing in gutter outside seedy strip joint.
Option B: Spend three days on the beach in Mallorca with my bestest friends. Ogle bikini-clad beauties. Eat paella and drink sangria. Get pink as Pink by being English in the sun.
I didn't need much help in selection Option B, but there were unforeseen consequences; apparently I can no longer be considered a man at all. At least that's the inference I drew from the reception I and the other male hen night attendees got at the wedding.
I sat at the officially appointed 'singles' table - the table smugly and inevitably put together by the married couple, blithely believing that being single we'll all have so much in common and we can discus the most nutritious Findus Ready Meals for One or which are the best tissues for sobbing bitter, lonely tears into late in the cold, cold night, and that all the happy, joyful romance floating around will rub off on us, knocking us out of our unavoidably miserable single lives and into the arms of the one we wish to spend the rest of
our lives the night with - you know, the singles table.
At one corner of the table sat a man born to define the phrase "man mountain", so large that he didn't just wear his clothes he sailed in on them, so big that when he moved his arms stars in distant galaxies changed their orbits. Something in my demeanour made him instantly suspicious and he asked me in a voice like a land-slide:
"D'you go on the hen do mate?"
Of course he was Australian.
And that was it; over a three hour dinner he directed not one more word at me and took great pains to avoid even looking in my direction. He wasn't the only one, the other stag do attendees, when they weren't moshing to "Fairytale of New York" on the dancefloor, were either ignoring me or calling me Simone.
I've done some thinking about this and I think I've managed to understand the axioms that underpin all hard-drinking Celtic and Australian, macho, big hairy chest, wrassling, manliness that I've been hitherto unaware of:
- Being gay is bad.
- It's possible to catch gay by being around girls for extended periods of time, any time longer than say, five minutes.
- You can catch gay by being around people who have been around girls.
- You can also catch gay by dancing (with girls), laughing (with girls) or being suspiciously English (with English people).
- Ceilidhs can make you gay.
Despite my recent discovery, I shan't be amending my behaviour any time soon as I got to dance camply all night long with the women and wasn't once sick on my own shoes.