Down with pseudo-traditions

Caitlin Moran objects to weddings on five main points:

  • Cost

  • Expectation

  • Hen nights

  • The crushing presence of family and friends

  • Self-absorption

While these aren't exclusively female preoccupations she writes about their female components. Weddings are ludicrous for men too, but he nonsense of matching cravats and tails is nothing compared to the grotesqueness of the stag do. Normally delightful, feminist young men rammed together in a hotel, B&B, narrowboat, or tent for a long weekend, determined to drink at least one can of beer before 10am and make as many jokes about each other's mothers as possible.

I know someone who justed wanted to get his mates over to play networked computer games for a weekend, but was talked out onto the town and hated it. I know someone else who went to eastern Europe and fired a rocket-launcher. A colleague is going to Barcellona for five days. That's three days of annual leave, stolen and replaced by three days of barely concealed status and friendship competition with your mate's mates, and a massive hole in your bank balance.

I know a couple who didn't have seperate stag and hen parties, who didn't create an artificial gender divide between their mutual friends and insist it was tradition. They had a joint party, a portmanteau called a 'hag do'. We spent the weekend in Brighton at a cheap hotel. We took our children to the aquarium, and down the peer. It was great. My wife and I had a joint party too: we returned to our university, met up with friends, had a BBQ, then had a fire in the woods and sat around in the dry autumn leaves drinking beer and letting off fire-works.

Does a hen or stag do have any meaning? Isn't it just a party with friends, in anticipation that life might change when you get hitched? For most young westerners in the 21st century it stays pretty much the same.