There’s a stag-party coming up and I’m afraid. Very afraid. I’m afraid that a) I’ll be invited and b) that I’ll actually go. It’s my son’s stag party. He’s getting married. Obviously, says you. To a Welsh lady. Not so obvious, says you. All of which means that if they go on to have family I may well have a grandchild who will a) speak with a Welsh accent and may even speak Welsh. I like that b) who may sing in a choir. I like that too and c) who may well play rugby for Wales. I may not like that especially if that particular Welsh team should go on to whip Ireland in the Six Nations. I’ll rue the day then, that my son ever set foot on Welsh soil and met his bride to be. Another thing that I’m afraid of is the journey home. Going to the stag-party on the ferry is one thing but returning home on the high seas after a stag-party is a different kettle of fish entirely. Suffice it to say that stag-parties and ferries are not compatible and make for a bad, a very bad, marriage.
Ah but I don’t think it will come to that. I’m not really expecting an invitation; it’s just that people tell me it’s not unusual these days for fathers to go on their sons’ stags. Indeed when I look at the numerous hen parties around town I see a fair clutch of ladies who are no ‘spring chickens’. I see not just friends and acquaintances of the brides-to-be but their mothers. And grandmothers! And I don’t really want to be the auld fella traipsing after the young bloods as they carouse their way around Conwy or Cardiff. And I most certainly don’t want any hand, act or part in any stag-party shenanigans that might involve disrobing or debauchery (God forbid) or drinking shots through your left ear. Both ears! I genuinely shudder to think about what goes on at stag parties these days. I especially shudder for my son’s sake.
As for my own stag-party it was a harmless affair. Indeed it was so harmless, so innocent it didn’t merit the term: stag-party. Didn’t merit the word: party. Here’s how it went. The night before the wedding two good friends called to my house to go for a few pints. My brother, my best man, was reluctant to join us as he was a teetotaller (still is) and not a frequenter of bars or pubs. My sister, Eadie, however, was having none of it and shooed him out the door; ‘Go celebrate with your brother’, she told him and the four of us trooped down to Mickey Brennan’s (now The Field) my watering-hole at the time. After the third round, the brother, God love him, had enough. Three bottles of Fanta do nothing for a man’s ability to bond with his fellow man and blather on about this, that and the other. The only consolation perhaps is that Fantas do not impact on the bladder as much as pints. And so, the best man, my brother, made his way home as we made our way through another few pints. Pints, note. Not shots. Don’t think we knew what they were apart from shorts: a brandy & ginger maybe or a Southern Comfort and coke (popular at the time) Instead, when Mickey B called time, one of the friends called for a take-away and we headed up to his house for a night-cap.
Some night-cap! The two friends’ wives were still up having a right good chin-wag. That fairly put the kibosh on any wild partying that might have ensued; ‘smuggling’ in a stripper or mooning in the moonlight. As if! And so, I wended my way home only to find my sister, Eadie, still up, sorting out a few bits & bobs for my ‘Big Day’. ‘Ah Jaysus’, she exclaimed when I relayed the evening’s events to her and she fetched the bottle of sambuca she had brought with her from Rome. ‘Here, sip a drop of that’, she said. And I did. We both did. We sipped half the bloody bottle! But you know what, we had a right good natter, some great laughs and all considered that wee session with my sister, in the wee hours, was the highlight of my ‘stag-party’. WAS my ‘stag-party’!