Last weekend I went on the hen weekend to end all hen weekends. This gigantic hen laid a golden egg so massive that, five days later, I still feel enormous (but special) for eating it.
No. That was a poor metaphor.
Anyway. Imagine a hen weekend where your host flies you to Marrakech on her airmiles and puts you up in luxurious accommodation with beds wider than my flat. Where smiling people bring you cold drinks as you lounge comfortably on a stunning terrace with white muslin curtains wafting around you. A hen where on day two you learn you are about to be helicoptered to the Atlas mountains for afternoon tea in a 5 star hotel. A hen where you are lent a bloody LANVIN DRESS because… well, why the bugger not.
It was amazing. I have been trying to work out what the hell I can buy, do or say to thank my friend for her incredible generosity but as yet I’ve come up with nothing. Bake her a cake? Oh, come on. Buy her a nice bottle of late vintage champers? Get a grip! Didn’t you hear me? She helicoptered us to the sodding Atlas mountains!
Anyway, as I chugged sadly home on the Gatwick express (not even the Gatwick express for me. I’m so poor I took the pikey one that stops everywhere) I reflected not just on how incredible the weekend was but, more importantly, how much I love hanging out in groups of girls. I wouldn’t swap my recent 18 months abroad hanging out with backpackers – or indeed my current cohabitation with The Man – for anything, but there is something genuinely life-affirming about hanging out with a bunch of women. Screaming or otherwise. And I really mean that.
I said to The Man when I got back (on skype because he is away – The Man, if you are reading this, stop bloody well growing a beard and making documentaries in the middle of nowhere. I miss you) that I believed that hanging round with girls was food for the soul; a spiritual elixir which I cannot do without. The Man may have got it, I’m not sure – after all, men don’t tend to make statements that involve words like ‘soul’ or ‘spiritual’ or ‘elixir.’ (Neither, I guess, do women unless they have disappeared up their own arses.)
But I knew what I meant.
In short, time spent hanging out with girlfriends is MASSIVELY SPESHUL and must happen on a regular basis, however married or pregnanted or full-time-mothered you become. Spending time with your ladies is not something you will ever regret (unless, I suppose, your friends are all morons.)
Here is a list of reasons why I realised, this weekend, that I have to hang out with women on an even more regular basis than I do:
1. Only in a group of women can you use the word ‘vagina’ with abandon. Can you imagine using that word while in the vicinity of a man? Even your partner? He would be terrified! An awful silence would descend about you and he would eventually have to leave the room and pour a large scotch, praying to a God he’d long since abandoned that you never say that terrible thing again. (And, actually, I don’t think you can even say it when you’re with only one other woman. Even though both of you have one. No, for some reason, the word can only come out when you’re in a group. And, even though it would be useful to have vagina chat more often, we should be thankful that we can at least do it in the safety of a group of women. I think most of us have a vagina story we need to get off their chests. So to speak. Or a vagina story we need to laugh about. And really I think a lot of us appreciate just being able to use the bloomin’ word. Why don’t you organise a group of girlfriends to get together and try saying it. It’ll go down a storm!)
2. On that note, only in a group of women can you announce that you are suffering cystitis and be absolutely certain that, rather than being met with puzzled indifference, you will be met with a respectful silence and deep sympathy. Some of the girls will crack jokes to soothe you and the others will form a crack team who will run faster than the speed of light to the nearest pharmacy. They will think nothing of breaking and entering if it’s closed. They know what you need and they know you need it RIGHT NOW.
3. Only in a group of women can you drink pink wine. Rose was not invented for men. If you know a man who drinks rose I think you should check his birth certificate, just to be sure
4. Only in a group of women can you wear six outfits in one day and – rather than have each one go unnoticed or ridiculed – have each one appreciated and admired. “Ooooh!” your friends will cry. “I LOVE your necklace! That dress is amazing! Where’s it from?” They don’t give a crap that you’ve changed twice in the last hour. They just enjoy the clothes. Given how much time the average woman spends thinking about and buying clothes, I think we deserve time where every last sequin is noticed and appreciated.
5. Only in a group of girls can you spend time screaming without feeling like a big tit.
6. In that vein, only in a group of girls can you get your breasts out and not care who’s looking. It is very refreshing to be able to free the girls in the presence of another human being, safe in the knowledge that they will carry on chatting to you rather than grinding slowly to a halt and just staring. The Man called me on skype the other night just as I was about to put my nightie on, and so – luckily for him – he caught my baps for a few minutes. We talked for a few minutes but the chat was, at best, lacklustre. Eventually, eyes glazed, no longer able to talk, The Man confessed that he was unable to hear what I was saying, so happy was he to see my breasts. “I miss them so much,” he said sadly and happily. The Man is the last pervy man in the world. He’s very respectful, in fact. But he is male and he cannot be in the presence of breasts without losing track of what he was saying.
7. Only in a group of women will 80% of the group declare that they don’t eat wheat or sugar and then spend the weekend eating Moroccan bread and pastries.
8. Only in a group of women can you sit still for hours on end, stirring only to get some pink wine or apply sun cream. Inactivity is the thing men fear most: thank Christ for the hen weekend and the relief it brings from having to bloody well do stuff all the time.
9. Only in a group of women can you go to bed, stuffed full, and feel no shame about telling everyone how excited you are about tomorrow’s luxury Moroccan breakfast.
10. Only in a group of women can you find yourself having a lengthy discussion with someone who, a few hours ago, was a complete stranger, about your battles with substandard muff waxers over the years. And only in that situation will you be met with sympathetic nods and promises of an introduction to their waxer who will save your life (and your muff.)
Oh, women. I love you. I love you and your boobs and outfits and rose wine and hysterical giggling and sequins and “OH MY GOD WHERE DID YOU GET THAT KAFTAN” screams. May I still at the age of 80 be drinking pink wine and walking around topless with you.