Tonight I am going on a Hen Night (bacherlorette party). I love the girl whose party it is - we met last year when training to be teachers, she's fun and interesting and likes a good night out. I WAS really looking forward to it, until Sarah said last week she wasn't, and asked me had I really ever been to a good Hen Night. I truly am not sure, so I'm going to try and work it out.
In (more or less) chronological order:
Pennys, 1995 - now I am not friends with this girl anymore - she is the archtypal toxic friend, but in 1995 I was her bridesmaid, in the most unflattering dress ever, with dreadful hair and cerise and lilac eyeshadow. I also organised a drinks and clubbing night out for her with four of our other friends from University. It was OK, but she was mardy because no men wanted to talk to her, even though she was the bride. Could have been something to do with her sour face and "I'm better than you" attitude.
My own 1996 - fifteen friends in a Greek Taverna with plate smashing and belly dancing. I did actually really enjoy that -we ate at the restaurant, we danced at the restaurant, I had made very clear instructions regarding absence of condoms, L plates, veils etc. It was good - for me anyway.
My sisters 1998 - a damp squib. I would point out that my sister is now divorced, and had we understood that there was a hen night/marriage correlation, we would have kidnapped her to avoid her going up the aisle. Me, my best friend, her, her best friend, two of her fiancees friends wives. A restaurant in Altrincham and a cheesy nightclub across the road. it was an ok night out but if it had been mine I would have been disappointed.
My friend Gill's 1998. Brasingermans in Hale, the footballer's wives club, recently made famous by Wayne Rooney smacking Colette in there. A reasonably good, well organised night, infamous in my own memory for myself and my friend R taking our friendship a stage further than either one of us might have thought... nuff said. (NB but only first base)
My friend Michaelas 1998. Meal in a Nottingham Bella Pasta - ok, club - appalling, didn't stay past ten minutes, evening spent in hotel bar getting pissed until 5am with my friend Liz from Uni, eventually having a grapple with a young man met there. In my defence, my marriage was in a BAD WAY at this stage, and I wasn't a nice person in my 20s. Not a great night for me.
My friend Rowenas 2000. I arranged this - a night in my fave restaurant, then clubbing in my favourite club. Nicola came, Row's mates were nice, everyone stayed at mine, it was good.
My best friend Nicolas 2001. I had a five week old baby, I was wearing breast pads in my bra, I had on a stretchy black top and skirt that were about the onlythings I could manage to get on. I had also developed a lovely red, itchy post partum rash (at the beginning and the end of my pregnancy I also had it - apparantley it is a oestrogen rush). We went ot a crappy Chinese buffet and I had two guinesses and went home. Hated it.
Katherine's 2002. Nic's sister in law. The very worst one - nasty chavvy friends of Katherine's in a dreadful bar with an awful stripper (!!!!). We ditched it, departed to our favourite gay bar and watched Pop Idol with big glasses of wine. I looked awful too.
My other best friend Clare's in 2003. Clare invited us all to Centreparcs and we had a meal in an Italian restaurant on the Friday and a party in a cabin on the Saturday. We dressed up as angels for the party and it was ok because no one else saw us. The people were nice and I had a little break away from home. I enjoyed this one.
Debi's, 2004. Nice meal in a trendy restaurant, then a few drinks. Poured with rain. When they deicided to go to the chavvy Deansgate Locks bars, Nic and I ditched them and went clubbing.
Nerys' 2004. Apalling. The bride was 8 weeks pregnant and spent most of the night outside and apart from me, Nicole and Louise,everyone was in thier 50s. Could not wait for it to be over.
It's not a great list. I have been to a million weddings - Mike and I are seriously professional wedding guests, so I thought that I had been to more Hen nights, I think that often I must have made an excuse especially if it was in another town and involved an overnight stay. Plus, in my 20s I was working like an automatum, so probably didn't make the time, especially if there was a wedding to go to 5-6 weeks later.
So now I'm not holding out a great deal of hope for tonight. On paper it sounds good, a meal in a gorgeous restaurant, Velvet, and then drinks in various bars. I think that they have planned it well which is always an option rather than people standing around arguing about where to go. I know that there is a drink planned at Restaurant Bar and Grill, which I love.
It's a Sex and The City themed night, and I do have a red dress, which is one I bought for a posh wedding in November. I have a clashing coral cardigan. I have a red bag and shoes. I am faked tanned. My hair is having a good week. I am at my lowest weight for years and years.
I have a feeling of dread.