It has taken me so long to pay attention to this post because I have been so desperate to do it justice. Certain words spring to mind- surreal, eye-opening, hilarious, catastrophic. Admittedly, these words are associated with every event that is in conjunction with my extended family, but this event deserves its own dedication. I am here to tell you the tale of my half-cousin Belinda, a sweet spinster who has just found the man of her dreams and is due to be married this Friday. I do not mean to ridicule or lambast, but confess only what my eyes and ears recorded. Here, the tale of Belinda's hen party commences.
When I was informed that the hen party was due to take place on a Sunday evening, perhaps I should have taken notice. People go to church on Sundays, perhaps even have their weddings on a Sunday, but hell, if they are looking for a good time, Sundays are not the prime date of selection. Sundays remind me of pyjamas, bad hangovers and a Yorkshire pudding or two. Nevertheless (perhaps in blind optimism), I ignored this significant detail as my mother persuaded my sister and I to join in the celebrations, and have a spot of family bonding. Perhaps "persuaded" is not the appropriate lexical choice in this context; we were only informed that we had an option upon walking out of the door.
Late and frustrated, we collected my Grandma to move on the proceedings. I could write several stories about Grandma, the wanton wonderess who frequently gets mistaken for my own mother. Never without heels, slickly made up with a blonde bob in tow, the woman is as youthful as the filth that comes out of her mouth. For my own rather prudish mum, I have never really decoded whether this is hilarious or painful. For me, it is comedic paradise. Keeping her mouth prim and proper for the time being, we arrived to be greeted by Belinda's husband-to-be, who seemed rather alarmed at my sister and I's arrival.
"...but we haven't got enough special glasses! (Sighs) You'll see when we get inside."
Slightly bewildered by this introduction, we arrived into the living room to be introduced to a further state of perplexity. Belinda, decorated in L plates complete with a frilly white dress, was shaking like a leaf, next to Batman, a pirate, and a pink-wigged woman of non-descript character. As well as half of us not receiving the fancy dress memo, there was another problem. The Batman in question was a man.
Grandma and Mum were handed shot glass necklaces with neon pink penises inside. I tried hard not to stare.
This was when I began to pay attention to the living room in question. Admittedly never having stepped foot in Belinda's house, I was amazed to see the ornamental complexity before me, describably "kitsch". A Betty Boop drinks cabinet. Las Vegas wallpaper. A motorbike phone. A fake baby. A fake cat. Oh no, wait.
"ARGH IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" said my Grandma, post-poke. Thanks for clarifying that one G-Dog.
This was when even more illusions were shattered.
"Where are we going exactly?"
"The social club at the bottom of the road. Belinda's a regular."
Sticking by the side of my Auntie and sister, we were informed ten paces ahead of everyone else the 411, as well as being assured that we were not the ones to be declared medically insane. We would be going to the battered social club at the bottom road- the average age of the said attendant, 84.
Cabaret singers. Bingo sheets. Ballroom dancing. Cabaret singers. We had officially arrived in God's waiting room. Never had I seen so many pairs of cream slacks and braces, blue rinse perms and hearing aids on offer in one venue. All too aware of my apparent youth, we all located to a table in the corner, wondering how we had become embroiled in the antichrist of hen nights. As a man in a sergio tacchini white tracksuit top came over to maul us, we wondered what we had done in our past lives. I am pretty certain he didn't have teeth.
"I wish I hadn't worn such bright leggings", remarked my Auntie. "I nearly put a red bra on under this lace top- I might have given them a heart attack."
Apart from the pervy men on offer, we spent the first couple of hours having only interacted with one local, who waltzed over after a solo session on the dancefloor, moonwalking past us to say "... and I'm 92." We were resentfully included in the bingo plans, and when we joined in the raffle we were delightfully informed by Belinda that we could even win a slab of beef. As a vegetarian, this didn't sit with me nicely. However, when I bought a packet of crisps and jokingly offered them around as a snack, I couldn't have predicted what had happened. Belinda's last night of freedom had resulted in her unravelling a tesco bag of cocktail sausages, cheese and onion rolls and pork pies. Between that and the bingo, only one option was available- drink.
Grandma, muttering all too loudly how she was "just too young for this", took the vodka and soda measures a bit too willingly. Her participation in the only hen activity stamped with approval- "words of wisdom", led to the alphabet poem, delightfully transcribed by my mother. By the time I had sourced an appropriate Antony & Cleopatra quote, I read a fascinating alphabet sex poem that I will refrain from writing for the general public in fear that these worlds will be blacklisted for here on in. Let's just say no daughter wants to ever read in their mum's handwriting the word "pussy". Ever. Before Grandma tried to give my sister and I some chat about "the birds and the bees", a request was sent for "all the able-bodied to move onto the dancefloor." Belinda tried to refrain, but the shots of Tia Maria had just become too much. The timid spinster was unleashed on the dancefloor. The men goggled as we all swayed in a middle-aged fashion to "Man I Feel Like A Woman." Belinda went for it, lifting her skirt up, and caressing her body. I hope that I saw leg hair rather than something quite different. For now, I'll leave the full-bodied descriptions to my Grandmother.