Joyous night on town for fake French hens
I never saw myself as a hen's party type of girl. Herds of hysterical women dressed in pink roaming the streets made me cringe. But my friends did not see it that way. There would be a hen's party here and another one in Europe and I would have no say in any of it.
I wasn't too worried about my French nuit des poulettes, which was bound to be elegant and understated. But what to expect of my two Kiwi organisers, Abbie and Georgie?
Abbie had facetiously suggested hosting a high-tea party while Georgie had wanted to chain me naked to the Christ Church Cathedral. I was hoping for something between the two.
Last Saturday night, I found my hens at the Dirty Land in Victoria St. While a group of French women on a hen's night are indistinguishable from any group of French women - stylish, appearing to float above the pavement - our gaggle of hens looked like six excitable flamingoes.
Stephanie had a glittering pink hat, Emily a pink-feather boa, Kate pink angel wings, Abbie pink devil horns and Georgie pink bunny ears. They handed me a pink "bride to be" sash, pink mesh gloves and a veil.
Most people we encountered played along. When we entered Revival Bar, people clapped and cheered, and men came over to help me complete challenges.
That was in stark contrast to the reception we got at the Carlton - the bouncer there wouldn't let us in unless we took the bunny ears and devil horns off.
We put veils and hats back on inside, which prompted a Mission Impossible-type chase with bouncers muttering in their walkie-talkie. Party poopers.
My list of tasks went from easy: "Have a 'screaming orgasm' (a cocktail)", to embarrassing: "Busk on Victoria St singing the French national anthem until you've earned $5".
Many involved interacting with single men, which there was no shortage of. Most blushed as I kissed them on the cheek, but one of them (an Australian) got cheeky and turned his head at the last minute to kiss my lips. I nearly slapped him, but the hens cackled with joy so I laughed along.
Next I had to get my body autographed with a permanent marker. I first offered up my arms, but Georgie barged in to unzip my dress. "If a stag-do came over and asked me to sign the groom's arms, I would laugh at them," she said.
I tried to get out of singing my national anthem by pretending I did not know the lyrics, but Kate dragged me up on a street bench. My hens did the chorus and soon a little group gathered to enjoy my humiliation.
After 10 seconds of singing, we lost track of the melody and started begging for the $5 that would end the ordeal. A drunken gentleman swiftly deposited a note in the glittering hat.
We might not have been the classiest group in Christchurch's bars that night, but I bet we had the most fun. And next time I see a hen party, I will not cringe. I will be envious of the laughs, the excitement and the friendship.