Some people race in boats, some people wage war in them. There are those that live aboard a vessel, and those that holiday on one. But then there’s those few, those lucky few, those band of brothers… the men who strip afloat. So many able Seamen.
The bride-to-be wore denim. The writhing man moving around her wore nothing. If marriage really is an institution, the Hen’s Night is the seedy frat house everyone visits at least once on the way there, disinfecting quickly afterwards.
It began with an elegant lunch in the city. The bridesmaids all warned us repeatedly that Cathy didn’t know about the stripper cruise that was to follow, and we needed to keep it a surprise. We were like a vault with that secret, a vault whose door was slightly ajar – within 2 hours 5 different people had accidentally let it slip to the bride, then begged her to keep their revelation confidential. Cathy was in no position to complain – she is after all the girl who told someone she was busy on Saturday because she was going to be at their surprise birthday party.
From the classy, understated lunch (the type where they serve you plates of raw, earth-tinged vegetables that you then delight in chopping yourself) to the stripper cruise.
Take several rabid groups of women, add alcohol, set adrift, include a mildly offensive MC and unveil a range of naked men. For best results, pray for calm weather.
The moment the man with a grating Nickelback voice bellowed “Do we have any Asian ladies in the house? How about Italians? Can I hear from the Greeks? How about the Australians?” it was always going to be an evening to remember. Because I know you were wondering, yes he did have a catch phrase, and it was “Somebody scream!”
Needless to say, many obliged him with their vocal cords. It was on for young and old, old being personified by the stately, yet surprisingly spry grandmother with tightly curled grey hair and a walking stick who dry-humped one startled man for the cheering crowd. In many ways it was like returning to high school, all the cliques were represented: the 80’s group, the wig-wearing group, the pregnant group, the westie group and the slutty group.
The actually stripping was kicked off by what I can only imagine was envisioned as a respectful and moving tribute to 9/11 by a well-built man in a fireman’s costumer. He was followed by a performer titled ‘The Rock Star’ – he was so camp he was a show tune away from jazz hands, I bet they sure do miss him on Broadway.
One by one each bride-to-be was led to the centre of the room where they underwent the kind of exchange that might be considered sexual harassment if we were in David Jones.
When you turn 16 you learn how to drive. When you turn 21 they give you champagne glasses. When you get married they present you with a naked man. That naked man is buff, hairless and loves himself sick. He enjoys ladies night every night, and does rather well for himself.
I imagine in the epic gender debate that has worried the world for generations the stripper cruise is someone’s last laugh, I’m just not entirely sure whose. Or maybe it’s just a sign of sisterhood – if you like a friend enough, you will join her on the good ship lollipop. It’s certainly not a bland experience, twas a memorable night indeed. Not that it needs remembering, thanks to Facebook the photographic evidence will live on long after those well-muscled bodies give way to fat.