How to Test the Respectability of the Hen-Do

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A week or two ago I  listed our house on Airbnb, as being available when we're going all to be away at the seaside this summer. It is a rather ridiculously large house, mostly because we have a rather ridiculously large family.

I've been inundated, as it happens. Mostly by prospective hen parties, all falling over each other to tell me how respectable they are. One evidenced the fact that one of the bridesmaids is pregnant.

Ah good, that's all right then.

Can you imagine explaining this to your great-grandmother?

“Great-grandmother, we're thinking of letting our house out for a hen party.”

“That's nice. A what, dear?”

“A bunch of girls all getting together for a little houseparty. To celebrate the fact that one of them is getting married. How can I explain…? You know how a bachelor will sometimes go out for a last evening with all his unmarried chums? Before settling down to look after his bride, eschew his bachelor ways, share his wife's friends and spend cosy evenings at home by the hearth with her. Used to be the night before the wedding, I think.”

“Y-y-yes. I think I remember my cousin Goofy telling me his nephew Chip spent the evening at his club before he was married, and then got nabbed for pinching a policeman's helmet in the Strand. He was a rather wild young man though. So girls do that too, now, do they? Good idea: I'm all for this egalitarian thing. My own mother fought for the vote, you know? I'm sure they'll have a simply lovely time. What will they do with themselves, do you suppose? Have tea on the lawn? Play the piano, perhaps?”

“Well, we know they won't go out and get blind drunk and be sick in the gutter and trash the house. We've been reassured.”

“It never occurred to me for a moment they would dear: a bunch of unmarried young ladies. But since the idea was obviously in your mind, I'm intrigued to know how you're so confident they are respectable girls. Are they from good families? Do you know their mothers?”

“Not as such, no. Actually, we don't know anything about them except that one of them is pregnant. So we thought it's bound to be ok.”

“I beg your pardon, dear: I must be getting hard of hearing. For a moment I thought you said, 'One of them is pregnant.'”

“That's right.”

“Oh, I see! So that would be a reputable matron, looking after the blushing bride and her bridesmaids and chaperoning them. An expectant mother and experienced wife herself. Yes, I can see how that would probably make it all right. A Matron of Honour.”

“No, great-grandmother. One of the bridesmaids is pregnant.”

“That's impossible, dear. Bridesmaids aren't married. That's why they are called 'maids'. You must have misunderstood.”

“'Fraid not. I have the email here: 'Although it is a hen do we aren't a rowdy group: we have one pregnant bridesmaid so we won't be going overboard!' So you see: she wanted to reassure me that they won't be doing anything indecorous.”

“I see. Perhaps I'd better stick to something you can explain to me. What's an email again?”




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