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Friday, May 01, 2009


There's been a radio silence this week...

...largely because my hen weekend starts tomorrow, and my wedding is on the 23rd, which means I'm spending a lot of time running around. So, who here has a wedding/hen/stag weekend story they'd like to share?

And come to that, how come it's stags and hens? I can see the problem with cocks and hens, but why not stags and does? Any thoughts?

And a final question. We're going to be painting plates and cups as our hen activity. If you were doing that, what would you paint?

Actually, where I live it is "stags and does". I'm kind of surprised it's not the same there.

In fact, sometimes the bride and groom forgo the traditional separate-gender festivities and have a combined "stag-and-doe party". Especially if they have mutual friends of both sexes.

(Word verification: "feest", a large meal for several people who've had to pay for the privilege of eating it.)
I think "hen" is a UK phenomenon. At least, I've seen it a fair bit in British TV and books, but never here in Canada or on any American TV. I always interpreted it as having a fairly sexist origin, implying that women cluck, i.e. make a lot of pointless noise. But I don't know for sure.

ver word: ghthoman. The member of the wedding part who makes sure there are no ghosts haunting the ceremony.
In 19th century America, the women had "dove parties" ;)

Have fun!
Well, at least "hen" is a better word than "bachelorette," which I hear all too often over here in the U.S.

Wikipedia, if you believe them, cites "stagette" as a Canadian variant.

Word: besest. The best by an extreme degree, as in, "I hope you had the besest hen party ever!"
Wikipedia, if you believe them, cites "stagette" as a Canadian variant. Yep, that's accurate. Stagette parties tend to be more hardcore versions, such as hiring male strippers and getting drunk on vodka shooters. You won't see much pink porcelain, word games and tea biscuits at stagette parties.
Huh, Wikipedia has an entry for stag-and-doe parties as well. Nifty.
Delurking to say that it's stags and hens in Australia as well (being an expat American, I tend to try and pick up the Native Folkways as quickly as I can).

The first place my brain went, actually, when the question of why they're called that was asked, was sexism. A group of men out having fun together are stags, which is to say noble and cool-looking with an undertone of macho head-butting. A group of women doing the same thing, on the other hand, are decidedly un-exciting domestic birds clucking away at each other, probably about boring things. You know how the girls can be.

But it's weird, isn't it? You'd think there'd be some kind of consistancy to the name. As for what I would paint... hm. I have very little artistic ability, so I'd probably paint something simple, like patterns of stripes or lines -- and wish I could do something more exciting.
Our friends decided to forego the gender-separated parties (I've heard "stag" but nothing like that for the women -- those were just called "showers") for an even more traditional option, and threw us a shivaree.

Of course, the fact that more of my friends were male and more of his friends were female may have had something to do with it.

(verification word: "epalmere", referring to the ancient custom of saluting the newly wedded couple by waving aloft PDAs, smartphones, etc.)
What's a shivari? I've heard of charivari, which involves banging pots, pulling out cats' fur and yelling insulting poetry, but I'm not sure that sounds like a fun way to celebrate a wedding...

Most of our weekend actually wasn't gender-segregated; we had a party at our house on Saturday evening, breakfasted together, split into gendered groups for Sunday afternoon then reunited for dinner. It was just the activity that was gendered - we girls went to a place called All Fired Up and painted plates, the boys went and shot clay pigeons, which probably created some kind of Eternal Cycle in which the Feminine Principle worked with creating crockery and the Masculine Principle worked with destroying it... (The fact that Gareth and I sometimes go to All Fired Up together rather disarranges the gender divide, but there you go.)
"Shivari" or "shivaree" is just a variant of charivari. Which, last I heard, involved bride kidnap. In a nice way.
Setting cats on fire, no, but yes, pot banging, insulting (or at least ribald) poetry, yes. Also (our friends being strange) bizarre costumes, inappropriate musical interludes, unhealthy foods, amazing quantities of alcoholic beverages and other intoxicants of dubious legality, and generally such activities that now, in my sober maturity, would lead me to call the police for "disturbing the peace" if I should witness them in my neighborhood.

Ah, youth...

(verification word: "mismeme", referring to an erroneous and dangerous cultural concept that nevertheless spreads like wildfire and is surprisingly difficult to eradicate)
I created a small amount of consternation at my dear friend's "hen party." She and her fiance were people I'd been close to for years, but you know how some topics just never seem to come up? Well, at one point in the evening she announce, "Well, now it's traditional for you all to give me some good advice." I responded with, "OK -- have you and [his name] ever talked about funeral arrangements and what each of you wants?"

*I* thought it was a sensible question, but in the context it was pretty funny.
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