Last Saturday was my sister's Hen night. One of the rare occasions where women willingly dress like idiots, with a flashing garter, fluffy handcuffs and a giant sash proclaiming 'Bride to Be' in bright pink letters. The white veil didn't give that one away.
The Hen, some chicks- and a few guys I'd never met- assembled in a local bar, where we doused ourselves in glitter because, apparently, nothing says P-A-R-T-Y more than a generous dose of glitter spray. With escalating noise we morphed into a bunch of farmyard animals, annoying bemused drinkers just wanting a quiet pint on a Saturday afternoon. Boo moo.
The train to central London was ten minutes of dirty jokes and laughter, quizzical stares and stupid queries to my sister: 'Are you getting married?' No. She dresses like that every weekend.
On the Party Bus we boogied to music piped through the ceiling, throwing streamers and balloons at each other like five year olds. From club to club, boobs were flashed, pints were drunk, and some danced in heels too ridiculous for real life. I don't think my feet will ever recover.
At 4am I stumbled from a taxi, purse empty, tools of torture in hand (evil evil shoes), litres of coconut rum swished against an empty skull. I remembered how to walk but keys and locks required a brain I'd left on Bond Street.
Ten minutes later I was inside. Forgetting that I was twenty-five years old, my mum had waited for my return; cold tea perched on one knee, face slopped in sleep against the sofa. She made three rounds of ham sandwiches and, ravenous, I ate whilst recounting the night's events at a decibel my Dad made sure I knew about later.
And just like that, it was over. A night- planned for months, expected for years, anticipated for days- done. A flash of booze and pinched feet, the over-zealous hands of strangers who groped as you danced by, the buzz of music too loud still ringing in ears. And while I still find glitter in places you wouldn't expect, I realise there is something bigger looming on the horizon. Not quite a speck anymore, not so distant. A wedding.
And so it goes...