Melissa Keighley: Get ready to pray for my liver – it’s hen night time

There’ll be 30 women descending on my house next month for my hen night. A night without men seems pointless and extraordinary, yet here I am, going on a booze cruise, getting my hair and nails done, buying a new frock, and actually pretty excited.


Guests fall into two categories, as you might expect – his friends and family, and mine. Now, my fiancee and I come from wildly different social backgrounds, and nowhere, I suspect, will this be more apparent than my hen night. His friends will be the ladies murmuring – “just a small glass of wine for me, thanks, I’ve already had two this week – naughty!” Mine will consider the evening a failure if the riot police aren’t dispatched to my address by 10pm, and we can’t get Ramsgate trending: #carnage #Kentishaleppo #prayforMelissasliver.

‘Export strength gin’

Initially I had planned two hen nights, one involving scrabble, green tea and choral music, the other – well, not so much. But it seemed too much trouble, and imagine the outcry if a girl found she’d only been deemed fit to attend the dull, respectable do, while her pal spent the next night snorting vodka and mauling strippers. So they’ll all turn up together, and I’ll see if I can make them mingle. There’ll be karaoke and cocktails. Girls like that stuff, right? Most of my friends are performers, so I anticipate some hardcore fighting over the microphone. And export strength gin always makes everything better, no?

Lucky lad!

Hen parties are a stupid idea anyway. Originally they were a way of preparing and instructing women for the wedding night ordeal, but ladies, my son is 15, so that ship has long sailed. Said son is, incidentally, thrilled beyond words at the prospect of being the sole male among 30 women, even if many of them are old enough to remember Lincoln’s shooting. Please, Lord, spare me the sight of him practising his best lines on my chums.

Not even one game of charades?

There’ll be no ghastly organised ‘fun’, no games, no dares, no jewellery or chocolate making workshops, no Mr & Mrs quizzes. It will just be a house party, sadly devoid of the Y chromosome. My sensible friends can use the night to cram in more wedding advice (did you know, for instance, you can’t wear pants under your wedding dress, since it ruins the line? I didn’t. Sorry, Vicar.) My less sensible friends will doubtless remind me that, actually, I’m pretty sensible myself these days. Doubtless I’ll be the crushing bore begging people to use a coaster and for heaven’s sake, think of the neighbours and keep the noise down. I can’t abide mess, so this is the only party I’m ever likely to throw: thank God I’m moving post-wedding, so any suspect stains won’t be my problem for long.

Get guzzling

So go for it, girls. Drink, sing and make merry. The older I get, the more complicated life becomes, the more I appreciate my girlfriends, their knowledge and calm and empathy. This will be a celebration of female solidarirty, however different we all may be, in outlook and history. For this night, we’ll put every difference behind us. And drink until we spit blood. You with me?