Excess noise but no L-plates on my first ever hen party

Man About Town
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The Independent Online

There are few more frightening sights on a dark night out than a thirsty hen party. You will often hear the war-cry-like screeches before you've even spotted the tiaras glistening like military helmets or the aggressively worn feather boas.

And you only have to have spent a couple of Saturday nights in any UK town centre (or any time at Gatwick South Terminal) to know that they are to be given a wide berth. Particularly the ones with a party-starved aunty in their midst.

Many fine men have been destroyed by the women's single-minded and unrelenting energy.

So it was not without a certain amount of trepidation that I went to my first ever hen night last weekend. My friend Nina, a former university housemate, is getting married, and in an enlightened piece of party-planning, I (and a couple of other men) were allowed to join this usually female-only activity.

Which is how we found ourselves dressed as David Bowie (she's a big fan) on a train to Oxford for the night.

Thankfully, there was a touch more decorum than what I've been led to believe constitutes the average hen night. There were penis straws (an unsurprisingly unsatisfying way to drink a pint of ale), but there were no L-plates and any randy aunties had been left behind.

Things were pretty good compared to stag parties too: less enforced drinking, more prosecco and more film watching. There is, however, much more noise, and the national pastime of humiliating your closest friends with embarrassing revelations, remains.

An imbalance of the sexes is rarely a good thing: I've worked in offices where there has been an excess of men and at those where there are far more women than men. In both, things get unhealthy. Too many men and you often get a shouty, bullying environment. Too many women and the bullying is still there, just of the psychological, evil email kind.

Far better, therefore, to even things up. And if that means in the world of stags and hens, all the better. Go with an open mind and it will only help men and women understand each other more. And maybe be a bit less frightened.