So I crashed a stag do.

Oh it’s such a bad idea! They’ll make fun of your man for having such a needy and sticky wife! said my sister.

I don’t think any of the men will be pleased. Are you sure you want to risk ruining their weekend? asked my father.

It was my husband’s idea.
He insisted that the whole weekend would be more fun with me around. I was, obviously, quite pleased that my husband would think that I am a fun woman to hang around with, and the idea of participating in a stag do weekend away in Amsterdam was more than titillating. I did, obviously, have my fair share of reservations.

Stag dos are for men and hen dos for women.
The thing is that I’ve never really enjoyed any of the bachelorette parties I have been invited to: I find them boringly tame and, to be quite honest, scrapbooking really isn’t my thing. Nor is getting all dolled up, hanging out with a clique of giddy girls, or drinking champagne.

My husband made a fair point:
why do stag and hen dos have to be so sexist?

Why are people with penises allowed to participate in one and people with vaginas in another? Men are as different from women as women are different from other women and men from other men… what’s all this fuss about segregating people based on their sexual organs about?

The feedback from my family and friends left me nervous. Despite reassurances from my husband, and the husband-to-be okaying my presence, I was filled with anxiety when I finally greeted the rest of the gang: nine men of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, nationalities, and political ideas – most of whom didn’t even know each other. You would have been hard pressed to find a more eclectic bunch of people to bring together for a weekend.

I did my best to hide my fear and greeted each one with a firm handshake, smiling, and joking around, saying they could call me Julian if my feminine presence got too uncomfortable for them.

As the best man was unable to organise anything for the stag do, my husband had stepped in to figure out what a group of twelve could do in Amsterdam. As my husband is adoringly inept at finding things online, I stepped in to do the required research and come up with ideas.

Stripping, there had to be stripping. All of it had to be unique, something you wouldn’t necessarily do back home. Oh, and it had to be manly! How about some fire breathing? Then dinner… oh! Look! You can get a stripper for dessert!

I asked most of the guys to suspend their opinion of me until we got back to the hotel: the weekend’s first event was my idea. A tall gorgeous blonde woman dressed as a pretend police officer approached our minibus, and then proceeded to punish the groom with some nakedness and dancing, at which point I like to think most of the guys felt a bit more at ease with my presence.

To be quite honest, I am bored of how our lives are dictated by gender. As soon as you appear somewhere people make assumptions about you simply because they read you as either male or female. Add to that the colour of your skin, your accent, and wham bam boom you’ve got a world that consistently fails to see us for who we are – preferring a world dictated by nomenclature instead.

Of course not all women like to see other women show off their bodies to helpless heaps of drooling men, and obviously not all women spend a vast amount of their time pondering the seemingly endless rift between the way men and women have been bred to think… but the thing is, I do. In the company of groups of drunken men I have learned some incredible things…

I’m told, for example, that (regular) guys are helpless when faced with naked women. If strip clubs are an endemic symptom of the objectification and oppression of women, perhaps a way to “empower” yourself as a man is to abuse the women (forced to) working in such degrading conditions when you, as a man, feel that you are at their mercy? Unfortunately, on this occasion, this discussion was muddled by too much alcohol.

What does having sex actually mean?
If the word sex only applies to intercourse, what are lesbians doing? Never having sex? As a person who happens to have a vagina, I have to say that, for me, sex starts the moment there’s sexy stuff going on… kissing can be sex, and fingering most certainly is. Apparently this isn’t so for any of the men with whom I have talked about this.

We ate, we drank, we sang, we enjoyed fire breathing and sexy women stripping their hearts out, and then drank some more. The canals of Amsterdam were filled with our laughter and drunken songs, and, for the first time in years, I felt I could be myself without trying to fit in, without trying to mold myself into someone I’m not. By Sunday the groom had made a little song about me…

Juliaaaaaaaa … one of the booooooys ….

So yes, I crashed a stag do.
I enjoyed it, loved it even, and I look forward to catching up with that most incredible bunch of guys at the wedding. Although, to be quite honest, I suspect they will be very different when their partners are around… perhaps this year we might start allowing ourselves to be ourselves even with our partners around? Or may I even dare hope for us to dare be ourselves no matter who is around?

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Freelance photographer, writer, producer, and anthropologist. My passions in Life are travelling and sharing the world I see with those who care to pay attention.