Hen Dos and Hen Don’ts

Written By: anonymous - May• 21•12

Liz’s hen do is almost upon us and her chief bridesmaid has returned from Bukina Faso.  We know this because the minute she returned she began e-mailing on an epic scale.

Re Liz’s Hen Do.

First: thanks for Helen and Jane for organising the event in my absence. It’s nigh on impossible to arrange anything from Ouagadougou, never mind the field where it’s hard enough to get clean water and medicine; never mind WiFi and Vodafone services! But, anyway, I don’t want to bang on about my work (!) the purpose of this message is to thank everyone for coming along and to let you all know that, now I’m back I have lots of time to plan the entertainment. I have come up with a few ideas as to what we could do. I thought it would be nice if we created a “memory book”. I’d be grateful if you could send me any nice photos you have of Liz – or Liz and Dan – so I can sort them into an album full of lovely memories that they can look at and cherish.  Then, on the day itself, I thought we could, also, adopt an African idea of telling a touching story about the bride to be; the good things she has done; why she is your friend; what you wish her for the future etc. So, get your thinking caps on! And finally, I thought we might each bring along a small present to remind her of what married life is all about; something to represent each of the marriage vows: loving, honouring, cherishing, sickness, health etc. I hope that’s clear.  I’ll write more soon. KR Natasha.”


It doesn’t take long to bring Jane storming in to my room.

“Has Natasha never been to a Hen Do?!” Without pausing for my reply she slumps into my visitor’s chair and continues to rant. “Clearly not or she would know that they do not involve ‘memory books’ and ‘touching stories’! Who wants a hen do like that for god’s sake?  I can’t imagine anything worse than all my friends sitting around and telling each other how great I am! Can you?” No, but that’s because hell would need to freeze over first. “Hen dos need alcohol and embarrassment,” she goes on, “They are about silly costumes and stupid dares, not group hugs and campfire songs!  Liz knows she is going to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. She’s prepared for it. She knows it’s meant with affection. She would be shocked if we all turned up now and started praising her virtues. She would be suspicious!” Certainly she would be if Jane did that. “And as for the presents! Words fail me! If she thinks I’m buying anything other than novelty handcuffs, chocolate body paint or willy-shaped drinking straws she can think again! That’s what Liz will be expecting and that is what she will receive. We cannot let Natasha hijack everything Helen. She swans back from feeding the sick and healing the lame and thinks she can just take over. Well, she’s can’t. She may be Chief Bridesmaid but she relinquished her role as Chief Hen Do Co-ordinator when she suggested coracle making. We saved this event and we are not going to let her ruin it again!”

I offer her a wine gum and nod sagely.

“Perhaps we can come to some sort of compromise with her. You may be right: she may never have been to a hen do before.” Certainly not one which Jane would recognise. “She’s probably just doing what she thinks is right.”

“Well, she might have spoken to us first. Now everyone will be busy thinking up happy stories and finding soppy photos when they should be hunting for silly costumes and novelty sex toys!”

“Shall I speak to her?”

She nods. “I’m too cross to be civil.”


I manage to find five minutes between witness statements and billing to make a call. She answers, all breathless and excited. “Hello Natasha speaking!”

“Hi Natasha it’s Helen Bailey here.”

“Oh hi Helen! Sorry it took a while to answer, I was just finishing my morning yoga.”

“Right, well I won’t keep you. It’s just about the hen do.”

“Oh yeah?”

And then I realise I have absolutely no idea what I am going to say! “Er, yeah, well, er, the thing is, we really like your idea of the memory book but, er, well, in your absence we have already planned quite a lot of activities for the guests and we, er, well, we are not sure we will have time for the story-telling session as well.”

“Oh, well, what sort of activities have you got planned?”

“We have a few games planned.”

“Oh I love games! Which ones are you thinking of?”

“Well, we were planning our own version of Mr and Mrs, where we get Dan to fill in a questionnaire and then we test Liz on how much she knows about him.” I leave out the bit about forfeits if she gets them wrong.

“That sounds great!” she exclaims.

“Yeah,” I agree, “Then we have an 80s quiz and some silly little parlour games (like I Have Never!) and then we would finish off with a present giving ceremony where we all buy her something useful for married life.”

“Like gardening books?”

No, like novelty sex toys. “Yes, that sort of thing.”

“Well, that sounds great. I’m sure we can fit everything in.”

“Perhaps, but if not, maybe we could the storytelling til the end, at least.”

“Ok, maybe we can do that later in the evening when everyone is winding down.”

“Yeah.” If they haven’t passed out.

“Ok, well, then we’re agreed. Is there anything else?”

“Just one thing; Jane and Alex have chosen a theme for the evening based on Liz’s favourite film.”

“Gone with the Wind?” she says, excitedly.

“Moulin Rouge,” I tell her.

“Oh!” She sounds crestfallen. ”She used to adore Scarlet O’Hara….”

“Well, perhaps she did when she was seventeen,” I offer, “but tastes move on.”

“I guess so,” she sighs. “So, now she likes films about freaks and concubines.”

“Yeah, but, don’t worry;” I joke, “we’re not expecting anyone to re-enact it.”

“I should hope not!” she exclaims. “I don’t think we should go cavorting about Windsor doing the can can.”

“No,” I agree, “The Queen wouldn’t like it.” Although I bet Prince Philip would.

“All we’re suggesting is a few feather boas and a bit of absinthe. And no one is going to die of consumption, so don’t worry.”

“I’ll try not to,” she agrees. “But I promised Liz’s mother that it would be a civilised, sophisticated affair. She doesn’t want her daughter getting arrested.”

Then it’s a good thing she is not coming. “Oh, don’t worry!” I lie, “There is no danger of that!”

Nope, cos with Alex and Jane in charge, getting arrested will be the least of her worries.







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