What goes on tour, stays on tour
The stag do: a testosterone-packed, alcohol-fuelled spree during which roaming packs of tanked-up, raucous blokes get up to anything - and everything. Or maybe not.
If your idea of a good night out is downing 12 pints of beer with 15 shot chasers, being stripped naked and left, at 5am, handcuffed to a lamppost in a foreign city – then good luck to you. You might need it. More lads get fleeced, mugged, arrested or beaten up on a stag weekend away than at pretty much any other time in their lives or on any other occasion.
But for some, a stag do wouldn’t be a proper stag do without a little bit of ritual humiliation and a lot of vomit. Some things have changed though.
Not so long ago, the stag night was exactly that: a night. The groom-to-be would go out with his mates on a bit of a bender the evening before he was due to get hitched and suffer the consequences the next day. Nowadays stag nights have morphed into stag weekends, stag short breaks or even stag holidays (the stag gap year has yet to take off as far as I’m aware).
Destinations from Blackpool to Bratislava, from Portsmouth to Prague are hotspots for the soccer shirt sporting gangs who pack as much helpless laughter into the occasion as they do booze.
But not everybody wants to get trashed for the hell of it.
GLEN CLARK wanted to go somewhere a bit different for his stag do. He had checked out the websites that organise stag and hen dos and decided he would rather set the whole thing up himself.
“I didn’t want it to be too expensive and the idea that it’s one last night of freedom is a myth” says Glen. “I see it much more as a way of celebrating getting married with your closest friends”
He and ten friends went to Sheffield for the weekend but on the way up they stopped off at Hooters in Nottingham where the waitresses dress in hot pants and vests. As the groom-to-be, Glen did the decent thing and also dressed up in hot pants and vest. But after that the look was out and out retro 80s rather than the early 70’s disco scene.
In Sheffield they hit a few bars, went on to a comedy club and finished up in a night club. “Basically”, says Glen, “it’s all about drinking but thankfully, we’re of an age when we’re mostly well-behaved. It was good fun but it was stressful to arrange it. The hardest part was getting people to cough up what they owed. You end up paying for a lot of things up front out of your own pocket.”
“NO cameras. That’s the only stipulation I’ve been given” says Adam Grinsell, one half of a joint best man duo currently in the latter stages of organising the stag do of close friend, Doug.
Assuming joint responsibility for the role of best man, Adam and London-based Rich, are still in the dark as to which of them will be guarding the rings and making sure that Doug gets to the church in Birmingham on time to marry Ann. But they have both agreed on the arrangements for the stag do.
“Doug is a keen golfer” says Adam “but he didn’t want to go abroad. Neither Rich nor I wanted the stag do to be in Birmingham so between us we ended up choosing Edinburgh as the destination.”
Adam chose to book the trip through a travel agency that specialises in stag and hen parties.
“We’ve tried to keep Doug out of the loop on all the arrangements” says Adam “but with group email contact flying backwards and forwards between 12 different people it’s been something of a logistical nightmare.
First we had to agree on whether to travel by minibus, to fly or go by train. We’ve decided to go by train arriving in Edinburgh mid-morning on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend in good time to get settled in a bar for the Midlands Derby game that is being televised that afternoon. Then we’ve got a club night planned and we’ll finish up in a strip club, of course…
“On Sunday we’re going paint-balling, then we’ll be visiting a few bars and, because the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be on, I hope we’ll maybe get along to one or two of the free shows.
“It’s all been really hard work so far” says Adam, “but I am looking forward to the whole experience and it’s traditional for the best man to organise it. There’s no point if the roles are taken away. We’ve done our best to keep it all quiet because we want it to be nice for him and fun. All Doug has said is:‘You can do anything - as long as I don’t get arrested’. He’s a lawyer you see, so it wouldn’t look good. But I’m taking a week off work beforehand to plan what we do to him – we’re definitely going to stitch him up somehow.”
“I TOLD my best man right from the start” says Chris Ball, “I don’t want anything seedy. No strippers.”
Chris is no prude and he’s no killjoy either, he just felt strongly that on his stag do he didn’t want to be disrespectful to Louise, his fiancé.
“I fancied the idea of going to Birmingham” he says “partly to cut costs because it’s not far to go and because Broad Street is just bars, bars, bars.”
If football is a recurring theme when it comes to discussing stag dos, Chris took it to the ‘nth’ degree. Not only was soccer played, watched and argued about at length but he took 42 friends along with him– including all the members of the football team that he plays for.
“I knew that they had to stitch me up somehow” says Chris, “and I agreed to do something. They dressed me up all in chav Liverpool white with fake gold chains and fake tattoo. Then I had to get 40 ladies to sign my shirt and give me a kiss on the cheek. Yeah, it was alright… just suited to what I wanted really.”