Girls are great, aren’t they? I have certainly realised so, after a shaky start.
When I was a teenage dirtbag, I used to think girls were boring. I preferred the company of boys. The banter was better, they liked drinking and pretending to be Jack Bauer. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything by not being friends with girls.
At one point, I only had one girl’s phone number in my phone and it was definitely gathering dust. Everyone else - a lad. LADS. Bloody lads, making jokes, being hilarious, drinking beer. That was my peer group of choice and I certainly didn’t want to trade it in to be doing what I thought girls did - painting nails, squealing, talking about bras and periods. No thanks, I had too many gigs to go to and too many empty bottles of booze to collect on my shelf in my dirty little hovel of a bedroom.
Then, slowly, I met a bunch of girls who were legends. One here, one there. One at uni, one through a friend. One or two through a job, one through a sister, a brother or a lover. And what did all these girls have in common? Well, they could all and constantly do out-banter men, they’re all sharp as a pin, intriguing, wonderful, creative beings who would out tumble Jack Bauer any day of the week. They have shown me, individually, over the years, that girls are an absolutely essential part of a girl’s life.
These here girls have just given me the best weekend of my life, my hen do. All creatures great and small, competitive and non, got stuck in with an Olympic extravagance of competitive sports and games.
I’m competitive - there’s no doubt about it. First person to finish reading this sentence wins! (Get in touch for prizes.) I love competing, it’s great fun. I guess I must have made that pretty obvious because my hen do was a point scoring bonanza. We played rounders and croquet and Articulate and official games like that, but there was also a gung-ho impromptu hunger for games at any given moment. ‘Who can do the most push ups?’ I asked, nominating my tough as a gun army friend Becks to take one for our team. (She did 50 in 60 seconds and scored a whopping great point for reds.)
Smells like team spirit.
‘Whoever goes for a swim in the sea gets a point!’ was declared while we were enjoying a picnic on the beach. Cue lots of girls stripping off and sprinting into the sea in search of a point for their team. It was September, it was freezing, but there were points to be had. When I was a yoof I just thought if I wanted my life to be all about points and teams and prizes, then I was going to have to stick with men because girls just aren’t into that sort of thing. Watching all my girlfriends charge into the icy sea made me realise that just ain’t true.
As day turned to night, ‘who can tell the difference between cheap gin and Hendricks?’ and ‘who will open their gullet and let Amy the Vodka Pusher pour caramel vodka down their throat?’ were all efforts blessed with points.
It was neck and neck. Reds in the lead... followed by a few good kills in the murder mystery and suddenly blues are back in the game. Reds waste no time in declaring ‘who can do a headstand for longest?’ and storming back into the lead. Points for staying up latest, points for being the quickest to put your shoes on, and my personal favourite, points for taking the initiative to turn your bedroom into a pop-up nightclub, complete with a ‘one in, one out’ policy, strobe lighting (Boo the Foxy ginger ninja standing by the light switch patiently turning it on and off quite quickly) and Amy standing in the hallway trying to encourage punters in with a bit of promo.
This might sound like some people’s idea of hell, and not just women - I know some men are not competitive either. But to me, it was pure heaven. And it was pure heaven because as I surveyed the various moments of mayhem, brilliance, laughter, competitive spirit and sheer skills on display, I realised what an essential part of life girlfriends are. Boys are still great, obviously, I’m marrying one and I had two on the hen do (heterosexual, manly ones), but girls are what girls need - be it for advice on which shoes to wear or what creams really do work, to who can throw grapes in the air and catch them in their mouths or who can keep getting rounders over and over again when most of their team are out and they are your only hope. They are every bit as competitive and fun and funny and outrageous as boys, but more so, and without all the things that make boys rubbish, like taking competitiveness too far and punching each other and having willies all the time and not caring which shoes you wear.
Reds won (obviously) and we all got goodies, even the blues, because girls are lovely and even losers get prizes… And we finished off the weekend with a spectacular pub lunch, complete with an inappropriate amount of flirting with the waiter, because it is important that a big group of girls completely objectifies and intimidates waiters - in return for a round of free drinks.
Just as lunch was served, the chief bridesmaid presented me with a photo album she'd made full of pictures and a little message from each hen.
Well, at this point I just fell apart. Maybe I’d had too much to drink or hadn’t slept enough for the last 48 hours, or maybe I was just completely bowled over by the fact there are 18 such terrific people in this world.
Tears rolled down my silly little cheeks and I couldn’t even eat my pizza as I read through the album. Let’s just take a moment here to really take in the gravity of what I just said. I couldn’t even eat my pizza. That’s never happened before.
I tried to make a speech thanking everyone for their contribution but I couldn't pull myself together enough to form a sentence so I just punched myself in the head instead and mumbled ‘man up, Kim!’ Everyone seemed satisfied with what I was trying to say…
Girls are ace.