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Men September 12, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I was just saying to Bren that I presume Britain created her empire by unleashing groups of marauding British gentlemen onto unsuspecting nations, who caved in to this new authority with unusual speed. As such, I imagine the Czech Republic and Estonia will appear pink on the map any day now.

Men, tell me honestly, do you enjoy the company of thirteen humans of your fellow sex for four days in a row uninterrupted by the fairer sex unless she is semi-naked, is paid by the word (rather like translators) and does not speak the same language as you? It’s too queer. And I feel almost compelled to attend a hen-do (alas, the ability to call these events -night has long since vanished. I think the stag/hen-dos now tend to be more extravagant than the weddings themselves) to find out in just what ways women go wild when in an equally exclusive group.

I think my only prediction which was vaguely accurate regarding the weekend’s festivities was on the way-hey front. Not that I did shout way-hey, probably not even once, but if we can count way-hey as very hearty laughter, then there was that in abundance. English men have an extraordinary capacity to find anything funny, and to make a joke out of everything. Which is, I suppose, only our version of small talk. Where was it I was reading recently about some ancient Frenchy who wrote of his travels to England and talked of this thing they had called, “Humour”? Indeed, I think we Brits are ourselves proud of our sense of humour – how often is a perceived lack of it taken as a chance to berate other nations? We’ll be sorting out those Czechs and Estonians sharpish, no doubt – but conversing in jokes is a queer thing to do. Frenchies and Germans don’t get it. I’m not sure I do.

Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy myself at all (or bray as loudly as the others at given times). The queer thing about all the bravado and banter and – yes, really – business talk (property prices, career moves, markets, the works!) and being perfect family types (for the most part, or soon aiming to be so) was that once you got them on their own for half a minute, you were soon able to morosely twist the conversation round to gloom, not a way-hey in sight, and have them pouring out their troubles. This was nicely reassuring. I suppose this was a fairly regular group of 30-something, middle-class Engländers (with a token Australian thrown in to spice things up a bit). A good minority have their worries. Another good minority said, in quiet moments, how they slightly despised having to go and sit in a bar with semi-naked females squirming onto their laps and paying 40 times the normal price to boot. (Darlings, an English tradition I had forgotten. The dreaded whip or kitty. Guaranteed, by some mysterious force of mathematics, to make any evening 80 times more expensive than it would normally be. Black holes.) (I still shudder with horror every time I log on to internet banking. “You mean I took ANOTHER 100 euros out that night?”) All were obsessed with bum sex.

Yet, darlings, sometimes, I have to say, I was ashamed. Ashamed. For a fairly regular group of 30-something, middle-class Engländers (with a token Australian thrown in to spice things up a bit), the behaviour was shocking. Shocking. I think this was heightened by the Brits-abroad factor. I couldn’t wait to leave one restaurant we went to. I think the staff were of like mind. Thankfully, we had a corner to ourselves. It ought to have been caged off. But at least the humiliation factor was low. The only thing aimed at total humiliation of A_ – the groom – was dressing him up as a clown, but he looked so sweet that I actually rather enjoyed that moment. And it was short-lived.

Again, I had the odd moment of despairing for England. But remembered all the while to think, “This is a rowdy rabble. It is not representative. Men talking about FIGHTING – yes, fighting, with glee, in their thirties – who, you then see from their e-mail addresses, are senior partners in such and such a firm, are a staggy blip. England is really wonderful and sedate and civilised. The men were just having a bit of wild fun. Really, BiB, don’t get so het up”.

But the thing is, I snuck off early – about 3am – on one evening to go to tbf(the beautiful friend)’s birthday party. Firstly there was the shock of his beauty to cope with as he opened the front door but then the different world of Germans sitting discussing things round a table. It was a touch like being fast-forwarded several significant rungs along the partying evolutionary ladder.

I mustn’t write more. This is too naughty. And I will be in terrible trouble if this is ever discovered. But men, in a group… Ouch!



1. Bowleserised - September 12, 2006

I wrote this and wiped it… Here it is from memory.

1) Your stag do sounds awful

2) This weekend I discovered a way of dealing with heterosexual men en masse. At the wedding, there was a large posse of ex-pat builder types who ressembled Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast and were actually nice as pie, but a bit overwhelming as a group.
The solution was to place them in a swimming pool with a ball, a net, and a bunch of kids. They kept each other entertained for hours; much wa-heying and light-hearted bullying went on, dive bombing etc. But they were contained.

3) The rest of us got to sit in the shade and drink dry champagne and eat wedding cake (a pile of choux pastry buns with a carmel-filling cemented together with spun sugar. YUM!)

2. Mark Holland - September 12, 2006

They talk about teenage angst for gay folk, what about those of us of a distinctly opposite sex fancying persuasion but who are repelled by marauding men too. It’s a trying time all around. There’s no ‘fey but not a poofter’ pride march for use to blow our whistles on!

3. daggi - September 12, 2006

Mark: I’d suggest going to a Belle and Sebastian concert, it’s probably the nearest thing you’d get to such a demo (“Fey Pride”?). Not that I’ve ever been to one. I missed the chance to see them with 50 other people in a chapel in Colchester in 1997, nothing can beat that missed opportunity.

So, is Stuart Murdoch gay or not anyway?

4. Blonde at Heart - September 12, 2006

They sound a bit like Israelis abroad. Shocking, awful behaviour that makes you want to say “no, I do not know them. We are not citizens of the same country”.

So basically, guys on their own are just like girls. Leave them 30 seconds alone and they start whining about work/boyfriend/family.

5. Wyndham - September 12, 2006

Oh, Bib, I agree with Mark, we’re not all about that back in the UK- although i’ve had my moments. I am proudly one of the fey brigade. Only the other week i found myself having a deep conversation about Graham Greene at about 3 in the morning. I think we were both born out of time.

6. Neil @ In Actual Fact - September 13, 2006

Removes “Push Barman….” CD from drive, hides Carry On Up The Khyber DVD under a copy of “Which Drive Chain?” magazine and warns you to ignore that Holland character. He’s unrepresentative. The only UK stag “thing” I’ve ever been involved with was actually quite fun and the groom eventually repaid the money I’d coughed up as his bail to Strathclyde’s finest.
A Polterabend, on the other hand, is a complete nightmare – especially if the bride decides not to get married after all…. More so if she runs off with a guest you invited to the Polterabend.
A debauched weekend in Prague sounds wonderful in comparison…..

7. Blonde at Heart - September 13, 2006

There is now on the radio “Abanibi” and I instantly thought about you.

8. BiB - September 13, 2006

BAH, that song needs to be accompanied by a video of their line-dancing, though. It is quite magnificent. Shocked but almost pleased to hear that Israelis abroad are equally badly-behaved.

IAF, well, there was some fun, but it was draining. At least I didn’t have to pay for flights and hotels. Even so, it still cost a total fortune.

Wynders, do say that the conversation about Graham Greene was full of expletives. I slightly despise him, but I think this may be residual anti-Catholicism on my part.

Daggi, I don’t know B&S. But why is theirs the only silent musician website on the net? Surely a bad idea. I’m sure I’d like them, but now have no idea.

Mark, yes, start Fey Pride. Wynders will go along for the march, I’m sure. Just not TOO much butch conversation about cycling, unless it’s about the prettiness of the handlebars (or lycra) or something.

B., I’m actually wondering whether my friends are the naughtiest men in England. I went on my brother-in-law’s stag-thing years ago to Barcelona and that was full of MILITARY types, and even they were more sedate, although perhaps because brother-in-law to be was there. I suppose gay couples now have fag-dos in the UK. Hopefully, it’s just a musical and then a quick beer on Old Compton Street.

9. Mark Holland - September 13, 2006

It’s the Gay Games cycling brigade. Is it strictly necessary given actual world champions are/have been gay I wonder.

10. BiB - September 13, 2006

Maybe some gay events are as much an excuse to go on the pull as anything else. I think any Gay Pride thing I’ve been on was as much about pulling as it was about politics or partying. It varied from place to place, though. London’s march – this was at least 400 years ago – was very serious and political. Paris’s was a big carnival (and bloody good fun, actually).

11. Mark Holland - September 14, 2006

Doubtless it’s all an excuse for big party. I guess a lot of the sports world probably still suffers from a bit of a “jock” thing, witness Graham Le Saux’s grief simply because he wasn’t “one of the lads”, so a get-together away from any chance of that is probably welcome too.

12. BiB - September 14, 2006

How did Gary Lineker get away without being called gay in the same way as Le Saux? Or was Lineker a stealth lad? (And the rumours about Le Saux were false, weren’t they? Didn’t he just read The Guardian?) But if we want to start some rumours…

The only famous gay footballer I know is Justin Fashanu, and his life ended in tragedy. His brother was an utter shit about his gayness, incidentally.

As tennis is sort of ‘my’ sport, I’m longing to find out about a gay male player, but it seems a pretty all-het zone. The women’s game has lesbians galore, of course (although Mauresmo is the only I one I know of currently playing).

13. Adrian - September 21, 2006

“All were obsessed with bum sex”

Of the hetero or homo variety?

My experience has always been the latter. (my experience of their obsession, that is.)

14. BiB - September 22, 2006

Adrian, spot on. They show a praeternatural interest in gay bum sex. What’s it like? How often do you do it? Who fucks whom? The works. And then watch the faces contort in a combination of fascination and horror as you answer…

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